Fluoride Stimulation of the Rat Parathyroid Gland: An Ultrastructural Study

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The parathyroid glands of rats given 150 ppm fluoride in the drinking water for 10 weeks are evaluated ultrastructurally and compared to the parathyroid glands of untreated rats. As a result of fluoride ingestion, the majority of the parathyroid cells are dark chief cells, indicating that these cells are in the active stages of the secretory cycle. More significantly, in the fluoride-treated rats, the cytoplasmic organelles of the dark chief cells are even more developed that those seen in the dark chief cells of untreated rats. The dark cells contain an electron-dense cytoplasm with abundant lamellar arrays of rough endoplasmic reticulum, spiral aggregations of free ribosomes, multiple dilated Golgi complexes, and increased numbers of secretory granules. The cells are at a minimum dimension with maximum tortuosity of the plasma membranes; and, as a result, large intercellular spaces are often seen between contiguous cells. Based on these observations, it is suggested that, in the fluoride-treated rat, a type of secondary hyperparathyroidism develops resulting in an increase in the organelles involved in protein synthesis and secretion.



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