Microscopy of the Koala Mandibular (Submandibular) Glands 

W. J. Krause

Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65212, USA


Koala mandibular (submandibular) glands are compound tubuloacinar glands, the secretory units of which consist only of serous cells. Intercellular canaliculi occur between the serous cells, which are continuous with a minute lumen that courses through the centre of each secretory unit. Intercalated ducts are abundant and join striated ducts, the latter being characterized by elaborate basolateral infoldings of the plasmalemma. Secretory granules within the serous cells fail to stain with either the PAS or Alcian Blue (pH 2.5) staining procedures. Ultrastructurally, the secretory granules are membrane bound, and consist of a homogeneous electron lucent material with a fine filamentous texture. The granules tend to coalesce into irregular shaped complexes of secretory material. Discharge of secretory material into the canalicular lumen is a common observation.