The surface of the pineal organ of the rat is covered by a leptomeningeal tissue, the continuation of the corresponding meningeal layers of the diencephalon. The pineal leptomeninx consists of stratified arachnoid and of pia mater cells which follow the vessels into the pineal nervous tissue. The pineal arachnoid contains electron-lucent and electron dense cells differing from each other in their cytoplasmic components. Corpora arenacea of various size and density occur among these arachnoid cells and can grow into the pineal organ alongside pia mater tissue. Acervuli often form groups in circumscribed meningeal "calcification foci". Concrements are absent or rare in the 1- and 2-month-old animal, while they are usually present in the 4- and 6-month-old rats. The electronmicroscopic localization of Ca-ions was studied in 2- and 4-month-old rats by potassium pyroantimonate cytochemistry. In the 4-month-old animals, arachnoid cells containing a varying amount of Ca-pyroantimonate deposits were found first of all around corpora arenacea, but there were also cells free of deposits in the close vicinity of the acervuli. Deposits were preferentially localized to the cytoplasm of electron dense arachnoid cells and to the cell membrane of electron-lucent cells. Most of the precipitates occurred in locally enlarged intercellular spaces. Here, microacervuli were found in 4-month-old animals suggesting that a calcium-rich environment was responsible for the appearance of the concrements. Intermediate stages between the small acervuli and large concentric corpora arenacea may indicate an appositional growth of the acervuli in the calcification foci. Occasionally, acervuli were also located inside meningeal cells. There was no sign of the formation of acervuli in the pinealocytes or elsewhere in the pineal nervous tissue proper, in the age interval (1- to 6-month-old animals) studied. These findings confirm the view that corpora arenacea can be produced in the rat by the pineal leptomeninx. The laboratory rat seems to be usefull in studying pineal calcification of the meningeal type.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)