Tooth germs of upper first molars of 1, 3, and 5-d-old rats, fixed in formaldehyde, were stained for the
detection of apoptosis by the TUNEL method, and by the azo-dye method for the demonstration of acid
phosphatase. For conventional light and electron microscopy the specimens were fixed in glutaraldehyde-
formaldehyde and embedded in glycol methacrylate and Araldite. Results showed that macrophages, present
in the stellate reticulum, contained basophilic bodies and TUNEL-positive globules, i.e. apoptotic bodies, in
their interior. Macrophages also possessed strong acid phosphatase activity. Electron microscopy showed the
presence of large vacuoles inside the macrophages containing dense fragmented material. Taken together
these results suggest that the intra-epithelial macrophages of the stellate reticulum engulf apoptotic bodies.