Morphological and histochemical study of the cephalic glands of Bothrops alternatus (Ophidia, Viperidae)

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Ana Carolina Parpinelli; Ruberval A. Lopes; Miguel A. Sala; João Paulo M. Issa & Túlio Roberto V. P. Lopes


The aim of this paper was to study the histology of the cephalic glands of the snake Bothrops alternatus, identifying the cell types and characterize histochemically the secretion product. For this purpose we used male adult specimens of B. alternatus. After slaughter, the cephalic gland was fixed in 10% neutral formalin and embedded in paraffin-wax. Histological sections, 6 μm thick, were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, Masson trichrome and histochemical techniques to identify mucosubstances and proteins. Histologically they were identified tubuloacinar composed glands (Harderian gland), tubuloacinar glands (upper and lower lip and premaxillary glands) and tubular (supralingual, sublingual, venom, and accessory glands). The mucous cells of the acini of the upper and lower lip glands and of the premaxillary gland, the secretory ducts of these glands and ducts of the Harderian gland secrete sulfosialomucins and neutral mucosubstances. Mucoserous cells of upper and lower lip glands and premaxillary gland secrete neutral mucosubstances, sialic acid and protein radicals tyrosine, cystine, cysteine, arginine and tryptophane. Seromucous cells of venom, accessories and Harderian glands secrete neutral mucosubstances and protein radicals cystine, cysteine and tryptophan, whereas the seromucous cells of the Harderian gland also secrete the tyrosine radical.

KEY WORDS: Morphology; Histochemistry; Cephalic glands; Bothrops alternatus.

How to cite this article

PARPINELLI, A. C.; LOPES, R. A.; SALA, M. A.; ISSA, J. P. M. & LOPES, T. R. V. P. Morphological and histochemical study of the cephalic glands of Bothrops alternatus (Ophidia, Viperidae). Int. J. Morphol., 31(3):1026-1033, 2013.