Imaging of intracellular spherical lamellar structures and tissue gross morphology by a focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope (FIB/SEM)

Drobne D, Milani M, Lešer V, Tatti F, Zrimec A, Žnidaršič N, Kostanjšek R, Štrus J
[ pdf ] [ site ] Ultramicroscopy, 2007

We report the use of a focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope (FIB/SEM) for simultaneous investigation of digestive gland epithelium gross morphology and ultrastructure of multilamellar intracellular structures. Digestive glands of a terrestrial isopod (Porcellio scaber, Isopoda, Crustacea) were examined by FIB/SEM and by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results obtained by FIB/SEM and by TEM are comparable and complementary. The FIB/SEM shows the same ultrastructural complexity of multilamellar intracellular structures as indicated by TEM. The term lamellar bodies was used for the multillamellar structures in the digestive glands of P. scaber due to their structural similarity to the lamellar bodies found in vertebrate lungs. Lamellar bodies in digestive glands of different animals vary in their abundance, and number as well as the thickness of concentric lamellae per lamellar body. FIB/SEM revealed a connection between digestive gland gross morphological features and the structure of lamellar bodies. Serial slicing and imaging of cells enables easy identification of the contact between a lamellar body and a lipid droplet. There are frequent reports of multilamellar intracellular structures in different vertebrate as well as invertebrate cells, but laminated cellular structures are still poorly known. The FIB/SEM can significantly contribute to the structural knowledge and is always recommended when a link between gross morphology and ultrastrucutre is investigated, especially when cells or cellular inclusions have a dynamic nature due to normal, stressed or pathological conditions.