Presence or absence of glycogen-beta particles in sinoatrial node cells

S. Calvet-Márquez, J. M. Domènech-Mateu

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The sinoatrial node is formed by specialized cells, the main ultrastructural differences of which, as compared with ordinary atrial myocardium, are a pale cytoplasm and sparse myofibrils. Moreover, nodal cells have been described to contain large amounts of glycogen particles in their pale cytosol; these glycogen inclusions are often used as the main criterion for identifying nodal cells. Nevertheless, the presence of glycogen cytosolic inclusions has been discussed by several authors. This paradox was solved by the description of some undesirable effects of uranyl acetate when used en bloc. To prove the presence of glycogen granules in nodal cells and the effects of uranyl acetate en bloc, we performed an ultrastructural study of the sinoatrial node in rats of different ages using different staining techniques. Our results do not reveal any β-particles in nodal cells in tissues processed by either general or glycogen-specific methods. Uranyl acetate staining did not cause any change of appearance in the nodal or ordinary myocardium. From these results, one could conclude that, on the one hand, sinoatrial nodal cells do not show deposits of β-particles of glycogen which can be detected with ultrastructural techniques, and, on the other hand, that uranyl acetate does not cause any morphological artifacts. © 1994 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-273
JournalCells Tissues Organs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994


  • Glycogen
  • Nodal cell
  • Rat
  • Sinoatrial node
  • Ultrastructure
  • Uranyl acetate


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