Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 198, Issue 1, pp 145–158 | Cite as

Experimental studies of apocrine secretion in the dorsal prostate epithelium of the rat

  • G. Aumüller
  • G. Adler


Rat dorsal prostate epithelium was studied in intact adult animals, in animals castrated for three days and in rats after inhibition of prolactin secretion. Thin sections, electron-microscopic autoradiographs and freeze-fracture replicas were used to analyze the process of apocrine secretion in this gland. The rough endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus of the secretory cells are well developed, but secretory granules are absent. The only sign indicating release of secretory material is the appearance of blebs originating from the apical plasma membrane. Freeze-fracture replicas of the apical plasma membrane reveal that the blebs develop randomly from the bases of microvilli-like protrusions. In vitro pulse labeling of the proteins using 3H-leucine resulted in a labeling of the apical blebs. A post-castration period of three days was sufficient to reduce drastically the number and size of the apical blebs concomitant with regressive changes of the cell. Suppression of prolactin secretion for three weeks by application of lisuride, a synthetic ergot alkaloid, also induced regressive changes in the secretory cells. The apical blebs were still present, but they were shrunken and their content appeared condensed. These experimental conditions proved that the apical blebs are closely related to the functional activity of the cells and are interpreted as true apocrine secretion in the rat dorsal epithelium.

Key words

Dorsal prostate gland Rat Apocrine secretion Prolactin 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Aumüller
    • 1
  • G. Adler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyPhilipps University of MarburgMarburg a.d. LahnFederal Republic of Germany

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