Ultrastructure of hamster bronchiolar epithelium in freeze fracture replicas

M. L. Marin, R. E. Gordon, B. W. Case, J. Kleinerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The morphology of the plasma membrane of ciliated and nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial cells of the hamster lung was studied using freeze fracture electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy of thin sections. Tight junction structure of bronchiolar epithelial cells was evaluated with respect to the total number of junctional strands, and the organization of tight junctional fibrils. Tight junctional complexes seen on the surfaces of nonciliated cells had from 4 to 9 junctional strands (mean: 6.0±0.1). Ciliated cells displayed 4 to 10 tight junctional strands (mean: 6.9±0.1). Nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial cell (NC) membranes showed aggregates of 6 nm particles organized into rectilinear arrays of 2 to 30 particles. These particle clusters were seen predominantly at the basal pole of cells in close association with areas of intercellular interdigitation. NC cells also displayed membrane areas of particle clearing and aggregation consistent with intermediate phases of membrane fusion and exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1982


  • Bronchiolar epithelium
  • Freeze fracture
  • Membrane structure
  • Tight junctions


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