Acervuli are calcified concretions in the pineal gland (PG). Particularly interesting are their incidence and size, which are believed to affect neurological disorders and many physiological functions of PG such as regulating circadian rhythm. Despite long investigations for a century, detailed growth mechanism of acervuli has yet to be studied. Here we study the growth morphology of acervuli in human PGs by a direct visualization in 3-dimension (3-D) using a synchrotron X-ray imaging method. For an entire PG, non-aggregated acervuli show Gaussian distribution in size with 47±28 μm. The 3-D volume rendered images of acervuli reveal that the bumpy surfaces developed by lamination result in the mulberry-like structure. In addition, coalescence of multiple acervuli leads to large-scale lamination on the whole aggregate. We suggest a novel hypothesis on the growth patterns of acervuli by their nucleation density (N d): i) mulberry-like structure at low N d, and ii) large-scale lamination on an aggregate at high N d.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Creative Research Initiatives (Functional X-ray Imaging) of MEST/NRF. I.J. Rhyu acknowledges the support from Korea University.
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