The ultrastructure of the female accessory gland, the cement gland, in the insect Rhodnius prolixus

Tissue Cell. 1980;12(3):557-80. doi: 10.1016/0040-8166(80)90045-2.


The cement gland of Rhodnius prolixus is an epidermally derived tubular gland consisting of a distal synthetic region and a proximal muscular duct region. The synthetic region consists of numerous secretory units joined to a central chitinous duct via cuticular ductules. Proteinaceous secretion, synthesized by the goblet-shaped secretory cell, passess through the delicate cuticular lattice of a ductule-end apparatus and out through fine ductules to the central duct. Secretory cells are rich in rough endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Light microscopy, SEM and TEM reveal the delicate lattice-like end apparatus structure, its formation and relationship to the secretory cell. The secretory cell associates via septate junctions with a tubular ductule cell that encloses a cuticle-lined ductule by forming an elaborate septate junction with itself. The ductules are continuous with the cuticle lining of the large central duct that conveys secretion to the proximal area. The proximal muscular duct has a corrugated cuticular lining, a thin epithelium rich in microtubules and thick longitudinal, striated muscles which contrast during oviposition, forcing the secretion out. Histochemistry and electrophoresis reveal the secretion as proteinaceous.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Exocrine Glands / metabolism
  • Exocrine Glands / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rhodnius / physiology
  • Rhodnius / ultrastructure*
  • Triatominae / ultrastructure*


  • Proteins