Morphological study of accessory gland ofBothrops jararacaand its secretory cycle

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The venom gland apparatus of Bothrops jararaca is composed of four distinct parts: main venom gland, primary duct, accessory gland and secondary duct. Despite the numerous studies concerning morphology and venom production and secretion in the main venom gland, there are few studies about the accessory gland and its secretion. We characterized the accessory gland of B. jararaca snake and determined the secretion cycle by morphological analysis using light and transmission electron microscopy. Our data showed that the accessory gland of B. jararaca has a simple secretory epithelium with at least six types of cells in the anterior region: two types of secretory cells, mitochondria-rich cells without secretory vesicles, horizontal cells, dark cells and basal cells, and in the posterior region a simple epithelium with two types of cells: seromucous cells and horizontal cells. Furthermore, the mucous secretory cells of the accessory gland show a delayed and massive exocytosis that occurs four days after the extraction of venom. Morphological analysis at different steps after venom extraction showed that the accessory gland has a long cycle of production and secretion, which is not synchronous with the main venom gland secretory cycle.

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