Ultrastructural study of the conjunctival epithelium in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)

Ophthalmic Res. 1998;30(4):244-54. doi: 10.1159/000055481.


The conjunctival epithelium of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) was studied using the transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The superficial cells of the conjunctival epithelium were isoprismatic in shape and were covered, on their luminal surface, with microplicae. They were connected with the adjacent cells by junctional complexes and desmosomes. Some of the superficial cells were partially or completely detached from the underlying intermediate cells: this morphological pattern was interpreted as an expression of cellular renewal of the conjunctival surface. Goblet cells were either isolated or gathered in clusters: in any case, they were firmly connected with the adjacent epithelial cells. The apical part of the goblet cells was covered with a great number of long microvilli: they showed a variety of morphological aspects, which were interpreted as occurring in a sequential pattern during the secretory process. The Mongolian gerbil can be considered among the laboratory animals used for ophthalmic research.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conjunctiva / cytology
  • Conjunctiva / ultrastructure*
  • Epithelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Gerbillinae / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning