Ultrastructural observations on the granular leucocytes of the tuatara Sphenodon punctatus (Gray)

Tissue Cell. 1979;11(4):703-15. doi: 10.1016/0040-8166(79)90025-9.


The granular leucocytes of an active, mature female tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus (Gray) were examined in the electron microscope. Eosinophils contained a lobulated nucleus, homogeneous, dense, irregularly shaped granules, assorted smaller granular inclusions, mitochondria and beta-glycogen. Endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complexes and ribosomes were scanty. Immature neutrophils (myelocytes) were regular in outline and contained a compact nucleus. In the adjacent centrosomal region were paired centrioles with connected microtubules, and Golgi complexes. Ovoid electron-dense granules, mitochondria, lipid droplets and numerous microfilaments arranged randomly or in bundles, lay in the cytoplasm. Mature neutrophils were often highly irregular in outline, had a segmented nucleus and contained possibly a second type of granular inclusion. The basophils were regular in outline with a compact nucleus. Numerous ovoid homogeneous, electron-dense granules, mitochondria, beta-glycogen particles and some microfilaments were seen in the cytoplasm. The granules in many basophils appeared 'altered' or degenerate and most of these contained microtubules. The cytology of the granulocytes of the tuatara is compared with that in other vertebrates.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basophils / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Eosinophils / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Golgi Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Neutrophils / ultrastructure*
  • Organoids / ultrastructure
  • Pseudopodia / ultrastructure
  • Reptiles / blood*