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Structure of the pars distalis in pouch-young tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii)


The pars distalis of pouch-young wallabies (Macropus eugenii) aged 1 to 50 days was studied by means of light-microscopic immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. In the pars distalis of these pouch-young presumptive somatotrops, which constituted up to 70% of the gland, and nongranulated cells were the most numerous cell types. Small numbers (together representing less than 30% of the pars distalis) of immunoreactive mammotrops, thyrotrops, gonadotrops and corticotrops were also found. The presumptive mammotrops, gonadotrops and thyrotrops increased in number and apparent activity between 1 and 50 days postpartum. Presumptive corticotrop cells in 25 to 30 day-old animals were relatively most numerous, and apparently more active than at any other stage of pouch life; these cells decreased in apparent activity and relative number in older animals. The changes in number and activity of cell types in the pars distalis correlated well with major developmental events such as the onset of adrenal activity, the rapid growth phase in the first 100 days postpartum, and the generally low thyroid activity in pouch-young of less than 50 days of age.

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Author information

Correspondence to Dr. J. F. Leatherland.

Additional information

The study was supported by a travel grant and a grant-in-aid of research from N.S.E.R.C., Canada to J.F.L. and grants from the Australian Research Grants Committee (DI-75-15749) and the National Institutes of Health, U.S.A. (HD-09387) to M.B.R. We are indebted to Mrs. Lucy Lin for her assistance at various stages of the study. The antisera used in the study were generously donated by Dr. A.F. Parlow, N.I.A.M.D.D., University of California, Los Angeles, California and Dr. H. Papkoff, University of California, San Francisco, California. The pituitary hormones used for absorption tests of antisera specificity were obtained from the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

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Leatherland, J.F., Renfree, M.B. Structure of the pars distalis in pouch-young tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii). Cell Tissue Res. 230, 587–603 (1983).

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Key words

  • Pituitary
  • Tammar wallaby
  • Marsupial
  • Neonate
  • Ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry