The neuronal endoplasmic reticulum: its cytochemistry and contribution to the endomembrane system. I. Cell bodies and dendrites

J Histochem Cytochem. 1983 Sep;31(9):1077-88. doi: 10.1177/31.9.6309951.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and its contribution to the endomembrane system (i.e., membranes of cell organelles) in the neuron have been investigated in brains of mice by applying electron microscopic enzyme cytochemistry for demonstration of glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) activity. The phosphohydrolytic activity of G6Pase is a well-known cytochemical marker for the ER in numerous cell types. Of the different substrates employed, glucose-6-phosphate and mannose-6-phosphate were the only two with which G6Pase reaction product was seen in the neuronal ER and organelles related morphologically to the ER. G6Pase activity in cell bodies and dendrites was localized consistently within the lumen of the nuclear envelope, rough and smooth ER, lamellar bodies, hypolemmal and subsurface cisternae, and frequently in the cis saccules of the Golgi apparatus. The G6Pase reactive ER appeared as a network of saccules and tubules pervading the cell body and its dendrites. Possible membrane continuities were identified between the ER and the other reactive structures, including the cis half of the Golgi apparatus. Neither G6Pase activity nor reactive ER was associated with the trans Golgi saccules or GERL. G6Pase activity thus serves as a reliable marker for the perikaryal and dendritic ER and related structures. These observations support the theory that the ER is an integral component of the neuronal endomembrane system associated with the transfer of membrane or membrane molecules among intracellular compartments, the packaging and transport of exportable protein, and energy metabolism. G6Pase activity in the ER of axons and terminals is considered in detail in part two of this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Dendrites / analysis*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / analysis*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / analysis
  • Golgi Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Inclusion Bodies / analysis*
  • Intracellular Membranes / analysis
  • Intracellular Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Neurons / analysis*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure


  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase