Conventional histochemistry and the binding patterns of 22 biotinylated lectins were examined for characterisation of glycoconjugates in the components of the olfactory mucosa of the armadilloChaetophractus villosus. The mucous lining the olfactory epithelium showed binding sites for DSL, WGA, STL, LEL, PHA-E and JAC. Only the basilar processes of the supporting cells stained for Con-A and S-Con A. The olfactory receptor neurons stained with LEL, LCA, Con A, S-Con A, JAC and PNA. The layer of basal cells did not react with any of the lectins studied. Bowman's glands in the lamina propria showed subpopulations of acinar cells reacting with SBA, S-WGA, WGA, STL, Con A, PSA, PNA, SJA, VVA, JAC and S-Con A, but in our optical studies with lectins we were unable to differentiate between mucous and serous cells in the way that is possible on electron microscopy. The ducts of Bowman's glands were labelled with S-WGA, STL, LEL, PHA-E, BSL-I and JAC. This histochemical study on the glycoconjugates of the olfactory mucosa in the order Xenarthra provides a basis for further experimental investigations.
The ultrastructure of the olfactory mucosa of the armadilloDasypus hybriduswas studied. A comparison with the olfactory mucosa of another armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus) was made. The olfactory mucosa ofD. hybridusshows many features which are similar to those of other mammals. Interestingly, it differs from the olfactory mucosa of the armadilloC. villosus. A suggestion is made that these differences may be due to differences in the digging habits of these species. InDasypus, the supporting cells (SCs) showed dense vacuoles, multivesicular bodies and lysosome-like bodies probably related with the endocytotic system. The SCs show a dense network of SER presumably associated with xenobiotic mechanisms. The olfactory receptor neurons exhibit lysosome-like bodies and multivesicular bodies in their perikarya. These organelles suggest the presence of an endocytotic system. Duct cells of Bowman's glands exhibit secretory activities. Bowman's glands are compound-branched tubulo-acinar mixed glands with merocrine secretory mechanisms.
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is a chemoreceptive structure that has not been extensively studied in the Xenarthran order. Tissue samples from the VNO of the armadilloChaetophractus villosuswere prepared for light and electron microscopy. The VNO is located in the anterior part of the base of the nasal septum. It is tubular in shape, ～ 18 mm in length and opens in the rostral region of the nasal cavity and with a blind caudal end. Its lumen is lined by sensory (SE) and nonsensory (NSE) epithelium. The SE shows sensory, supporting and basal cells whereas the NSE contains ciliated and nonciliated secretory cells and basal cells. At the ultrastructural level, the sensory cells appear as bipolar neurons with conspicuous microvilli on their free surface. The supporting cells of the SE contain numerous membrane-bound vesicles in their apical regions. A peculiar feature not found in other mammals, is the presence of concentric whorls of RER cisterns frequently observed in their basal expansions. Infiltrating plasma cells can be detected in the SE basal region close to the dorsal junctional area. This region also exhibits an unusual type of basal cell, probably responsible for the generation of new vomeronasal receptor neurons. The ciliated NSE cells exhibit numerous ovoids or irregularly shaped membranous protrusions projecting from the plasma membrane of the cilia. As far as we know, this is the first study reporting the presence of this feature in ciliated NSE cells. The nonciliated cells are characterised by scarce large secretory granules and apical microvilli. The vomeronasal glands are compound-branched tubuloacinar glands with serous acinar cells. Four types of secretory granules are present. The ducts of these glands reach the lumen in the dorsolateral region between the NSE and SE. Hypolemmal nerve terminals were observed contacting secretory cells. Fenestrated and nonfenestrated capillaries constitute the vascular supply to these glands. Plasma cells, intimately associated with acinar cells, were frequently observed.
Conventional carbohydrate histochemistry and the binding patterns of 21 lectins were analysed to characterise the glycoconjugate content in the components of the vomeronasal organ of the armadilloChaetophractus villosus. The mucomicrovillous complex of the sensory epithelium bound most of the lectins studied. No reaction was observed with Con A, PSA, S-Con A and SBA, and the sustentacular cells were stained with UEA-I, DSL, LEL, STL and Con A. The vomeronasal receptor neurons were labelled with S-WGA, WGA, PNA, UEA-I, STL, Con A, S-Con A, ECL and RCA120. The basal cell layer reacted with S-WGA, WGA, LCA, UEA-I, DSL, LEL, STL, Con A, JAC and VVA. The nonsensory epithelium exhibited a differential staining in relation to the different components. The mucociliary complex stained with ECL, DBA, JAC, RCA120, STL, LCA, PHA-E, PHA-L, LEL, BSL-I and VVA. However, SJA and UEA-I stained the mucus complex lining a subpopulation of columnar cells. The cytoplasm and cell membranes of columnar cells was labelled with DBA, DSL and LCA. The apical region of these cells exhibited moderate reactivity with LEL and SJA. None of the lectins bound specifically to secretory granules of the nonsecretory cells. Basal cells of the nonsensory epithelium were labelled with DSL, LEL, LCA, BSL-I and STL. The vomeronasal glands showed a positive reaction with WGA, DSL, LEL, LCA, DBA, PNA, RCA120and SBA. Subpopulations of acinar cells were observed with ECL, S-WGA, Con A, S-Con A and DBA. PNA and RCA120stained the cells lining the glandular ducts. In comparison with previous results obtained in the olfactory mucosa of the same group of armadillos, the carbohydrate composition of the vomeronasal organ sensory epithelium differed from the olfactory sensory epithelium. This is probably related to the different nature of molecules involved in the perireceptor processes.