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Fluid-phase and adsorptive endocytosis in ciliated epithelial cells of the rat ductuli efferentes

Abstract Ciliated cells of the ductuli efferentes show at their apex a discrete endocytic apparatus composed of small vesicles connected to or subjacent to the apical plasma membrane, small apical membranous tubules, and pale multivesicular bodies. Deeper in the cytoplasm, there are acid phosphatase‐positive denser, multivesicular bodies and secondary lysosomes showing an electron‐dense cortex and a crystalline, paler stained core. Cationic ferritin and concanavalin A‐ferritin used to demonstrate adsorptive endocytosis, when injected into the rete testis, rapidly reached the lumen of the ductuli efferentes. At 1 min after injection, these tracers were seen bound to the apical plasma membrane of ciliated cells and within small endocytic vesicles and by 5 min in narrow apical tubules. At 15 and 30 min after injection, the tracers appeared in pale multivesicular bodies while at 1 hr they were found within dense multivesicular bodies. At 2 hr and longer time intervals these tracers accumulated within secondary lysosomes. Native ferritin, concanavalin A‐ferritin in the presence of α‐methyl‐D‐mannoside, and horseradish peroxidase or albumin‐colloidal gold complexes were used to analyze fluid‐phase endocytosis. At various intervals following their injection into the rete testis, these tracers presented a distribution identical in all respects to that described for cationic ferritin and concanavalin A‐ferritin. In the present work, none of the above tracers were transported to the abluminal aspect of the ciliated cells. These cells, like the nonciliated epithelial cells of the ductuli efferentes are thus involved in adsorptive as well as in fluid‐phase endocytosis.

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