The albumen gland

The albumen gland has an almost identical histological appearance in the families of the Basommatophora. The albumen gland is a white opaque mass, ovoid in shape mass lying dorsal and just posterior to the pericardial cavity, consists of large number of tubules separated from one another by a thin layer of connective tissue (Fig. 1).
These tubules are spherical to oval in shape. The wall of each tubule consists of large cuboidal to columnar cell each cell contains a large basal nucleus and is glandular in nature, its colour varies from cream to yellow (breeding condition), and the size of the organ is similarly dependent on the sexual state of the individual. The albumen gland is found to be considerably small in the non-breeding season.
The gland is composed of a great number of secretory follicles, which are circular when viewed in cross-section, and the whole gland is united within a fine outer bounding membrane. Each follicle possesses a minute, central duct and these unite, ultimately emptying their secretion into the central lumen of the albumen gland (Figs 1,2). About four to six glandular cells surround the follicular lumen, each with a large and conspicuous nucleus, usually basal in position.
The central lumen of the albumen gland has a complete lining epithelium formed of cuboidal, ciliated cells, with a neutral staining reaction. The cells rest on a basement membrane and beneath this a fine connective tissue complex can frequently be detected.
Histochemical analysis showed that the contents of the granules secreted by the albumen gland stained with HE, thus demonstrating the basophilic and eosinophilic character of the content. Masson’s trichrome stained sections clarified the presence of extensive collagen fibers in the albumen glands with this stain, collagen appears greenish-blue and dark brown to black cell nuclei.
In sections treated with PAS technique, the albumen gland stained a deep purple. The PAS-positive staining reactions of the albumen point towards the presence of neutral polysaccharides and moderate positive staining reactions to alcian blue at 1??0 pH suggesting the presence of acid- complex sulfated mucins (mucosubstances) and purple combined acid/neutral mucins by the Alcian Blue-PAS at 1??0 pH technique. From the ensemble of these reactions it could be stated that the secretions of the albumen gland are rich in carbohydrates.

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