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Abstract

The secretory end-pieces of the submandibular gland of rats during the first week of postnatal development are studied with regard to the fine structure of the secretion granules in these end-pieces. The terminal ends of the secretory ducts during this period consist of two types of cells; one cell is an acinar-type and the other is a duct-type found in the gland of adult rats. The secretion granules of the acinar-type cells are similar in appearance to those of the acinar cells in the gland of adult rats, and the structure of these granules remains the same throughout the week. However, granules widely different in appearance are present in the duct-type cells, and their structure varies in different cells as well as within a single cell at different stages of development. These granules contain unusual substructures which are not found in the secretion granules of adult rats, suggesting that the granules are transitory. Granules containing short tubular profiles are predominant in the gland of one day-old rats. A large number of granules in three day-old rats contain elongated tubules. More granules of widely different substructures are present in the gland of seven day-old rats than in the gland of younger rats. The matrix of the granules in seven day-old rats is of higher density than that of the granules in younger rats. In the dense matrix of these granules, less dense tubules form fingerprint-like or somewhat more irregular patterns.