• pineal gland;
  • calcium localization;
  • ultracytochemistry;
  • microanalysis;
  • Mongolian gerbil

In order to demonstrate fine localization of Ca2+ in the superficial pineal gland of Meriones unguiculatus, the pyroantimonate technique was employed. Control experiments were performed with EGTA and analysis of obtained reaction product using an energy-dispersive x-ray microanalysis.

Precipitates of calcium antimonate were formed almost exclusively in swollen clear pinealocytes, in and along their cell membranes, over their nuclei, in mitochondria, the Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic and integrade reticulums. acervuli, in vesicles surrounding synaptic bars, cytoplasmic matrix, and flocculent extracellular material. It has been concluded that the swollen pinealocytes represent a degenerative cell form probably occurring by impairment of plasmalemmal Ca2+-ATPase's ability to eliminate Ca2+ ion from the cell, with consecutive increase of calcium in the cytoplasmic matrix, followed by increase of intramitochondrial Ca2+ concentration, gradual arrest of mitochondrial function, depolymerization of cytoskeletal microtubuli, loss of the cell form, and cell death. Decrease of function of pinealocyte plasmalemma seems to be related to aging.