Ultrastructural Observations on the Mechanism of Secretion in the Rat Parathyroid After Fluoride Ingestion

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The secretory mechanism of the parathyroid glands of fluoride treated rats is evaluated ultrastructurally and compared to that of control rats. The principal difference between the two groups of rats concerns the rate of activity of the chief cells of the gland. In the control animals, these cells are predominantly inactive. In the fluoride-treated rats, they exhibit a more active stage of the secretory cycle. The active chief cells in rats treated with fluoride contain increased numbers of secretory granules. These granules are released into the perivascular spaces within cytoplasmic projections suggesting an apocrine-like mechanism for the secretion of parathyroid hormone. Secretory granules are observed free in the perivascular spaces and within the cytoplasm of capillary endothelial cells in the parathyroid glands.