Comparative immunofluorescence microscopic, transmission and scanning electron microscopic investigations were carried out to study the arrangement and significance of vimentin filaments in monocytes, macrophages, epithelioid cell equivalents and multinucleate giant cells under various different functional conditions, and in the presence of functional disorders.
Uncoated or sebum-coated coverslips were implanted in the peritoneal cavity of Wistar rats. Some of the animals received repeated i.p. injections of colchicine. Rats were killed at various times 1 to 14 days after initiation of the experiment. The number of macrophages, the degree of their activation, and the growth of cells on the coverslips was considerably greater on sebum-coated than on uncoated implants. Various characteristic vimentin distribution patterns were found dependent on the cell cycle, the form and volume of the cell, and on the degree of differentiation and maturity; they were also related to the type and intensity of cell function. These patterns were best developed in ordered multinucleate giant cells.
Repeated administrations of colchicine resulted in a marked flattening of the cell body on the coverslips — which correlated with a considerable reduction in the number of vimentin filaments and of cytoplasmic processes — and also in the formation of circumscribed erect, tree-like protuberances. The “trunk” of these structures comprised closely bundled vimentin filaments, and the cell nucleus was located at its base. These morphologic changes, which were associated with a functional insufficiency, proved to be reversible.
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