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Cytological differentiation of the interrenal tissue of the Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix

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As reported for several other avian species there are clearly distinguishable subcapsular (SCZ) and inner (IZ) zones of interrenal tissue in the Japanese quail. The SCZ contains large columnar cells (type I) with rounded nuclei, polymorphic mitochondria with shelf-like cristae, and relatively small numbers of lipid droplets. The IZ contains two and possibly three types of cells. Type II consists of large columnar cells with moderately dense cytoplasm containing large numbers of lipid droplets and many rounded mitochondria with tubular cristae. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) and Golgi apparatus are well developed; coated vesicles occur in the Golgi area and at the cell surface. Type-III cells occur in IZ and especially in its more peripheral areas. They are columnar cells with strikingly clear cytoplasm (in comparison with type II) containing mitochondria with plate-like cristae and tubular SER. Type-IV cells are sparsely distributed in IZ and occur rarely in SCZ. Type IV may be a degenerating phase of type III.

After adenohypophysectomy or section of portal vessels type-I cells atrophy somewhat with a decrease in lipid droplets; type-II cells, also atrophy with conspicuous increase in size and number of lipid droplets, enlargement of mitochondria, and gradual disappearance of SER; type-III cells decrease in number whereas type-IV cells increase.

After injection of ACTH, type-I cells enlarge and their mitochondria, SER and Golgi apparatus become more conspicuous; there is a decrease in lipid droplets in type-II cells and a development of SER, polysomes and Golgi apparatus; there is also a decrease in lipid droplets and a development of SER in type-III cells after injection of 2IU ACTH and an almost complete disappearance of lipid droplets after 4IU ACTH; type-IV cells increase in number.

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Correspondence to Professor Dr. Shin-ichi Mikami.

Additional information

The investigation reported herein was supported by Scientific Research Grants from the Ministry of Education of Japan to Professor Mikami; and by grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the National Science Foundation (USA), and the Graduate School Fund of the University of Washington to Professor Farner

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Mikami, S., Takagi, T. & Farner, D.S. Cytological differentiation of the interrenal tissue of the Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix . Cell Tissue Res. 208, 353–370 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00233870

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Key words

  • Adrenal glands
  • Interrenal cells
  • ACTH
  • Japanese quail
  • Hypophysectomy