1994 Volume 43 Issue 4 Pages 487-497
Fine structure of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) was examined in the chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger) from a viewpoint of comparative anatomy. The VNO of chinchilla was a pair of tubular structure, about 6mm in length, and situated bilaterally along the base of the nasal septum. The VNO was encircled rostrally by the vomeronasal cartilage, but caudally by a bony capsule. The VNO communicated with the nasal cavity via a small pore at its rostral end, while it ended blindly at its caudal end. Its lumen was crescent to elliptical in a transverse plane, and lined medially with the vomeronasal sensory epithelium (VSE), but laterally with the vomeronasal respiratory epithelium (VRE) . Jacobson's glands were tubulo-alveolar in type and distributed from the dorsolateral to the ventrolateral region of the VNO and opened with the duct to the lumen in the transitional region from the VSE to the VRE. Their secretions were periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) -positive but alcian blue (AB) -negative. The VSE consisted of sensory, supporting and basal cells. Supporting cells were characteristic of a large number of huge dense bodies in the perinuclear cytoplasm. The other ultrastructural features in sensory, supporting and basal cells of the VSE were similar to those in the previous reports. The VRE consisted of ciliated, non-ciliated and basal cells. Acinar cells of Jacobson's gland possessed two types of secretory granules. Secretory granules of one type were homogeneous and electronlucent, about 1, 700nm in diameter, while granules of the other type were about 2, 200nm in diameter, and various in electron density. The present findings suggest that the VNO is functionally active in the chinchilla.