A well developed extra-adrenal chromaffin body with an axis of 200-400 /xm was found in seven out of thirty adult male Wis tar rats under a stereomicro-scope. All seven bodies were located between the left and right kidneys. Blood vascular beds of the five bodies were reproduced with a methacrylate casting medium and observed with a scanning electron microscope. It was revealed that the extra-adrenal chromaffin body contained remarkably numerous capillaries, which anastomosed with each other to form a conglomerated network. The blood capillaries were of small and uniform caliber and did not represent swollen sinusoids as in the adrenal medulla. The capillary network was denser than that in the adrenal medulla and had no direct vascular linkage with the adrenal cortex or an extra-adrenal cortical body. Histological examination of the two bodies treated with dichromate containing fixatives confirmed that they mainly consisted of chromaffin cells. These findings suggest that in the rat, extra-adrenal chromaffin bodies survive throughout life, actively producing catecholamines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas