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Virchows Archiv B

, 49:93 | Cite as

Aminoglutethimide-stimulated corticotrophs

An immunocytologic, ultrastructural and immunoelectron microscopic study of the rat adenohypophysis
  • Marek Zak
  • Kaiman Kovacs
  • Donna J. McComb
  • Philipp U. Heitz
Article

Summary

Thirty-six rats of both sexes in two groups were treated with aminoglutethimide (AG), a steroid synthesis inhibitor, for 1 and 8 weeks respectively. The anterior pituitaries were investigated by light and electron microscopy, the techniques used including immunocytochemical and morphometric methods. Corticotrophs were identified by the avidinbiotin-peroxidase complex technique at the light and electron microscopic levels. AG administration resulted in hyperplasia of ACTH-containing cells. The increase in the volume density of corticotrophs was prevented by simultaneous medication with 3 mg corticosterone in male rats, whereas in female rats a larger dose of corticosterone was required to suppress pituitary corticotroph hyperplasia. Electron microscopy revealed that in AG-treated rats, corticotrophs were larger and contained more secretory granules than those in controls, the mean secretory granule diameter increasing from 100 nm to 165 nm. Under AG stimulation, corticotrophs showed considerable variations in structural features probably reflecting differences in their functional state. It was apparent that only one ACTH-producing cell type existed in the pars distalis of the rat adenohypophysis, although this cell type may undergo substantial morphologic alterations due to changes in endocrine activity. Gonadotrophs and thyrotrophs showed morphologic signs of stimulation and exhibited hyperplasia following AG treatment indicating that the effect of the drug was not restricted to corticotrophs.

Key words

Anterior pituitary Aminoglutethimide Immunocytology Rats Ultrastructure 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marek Zak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kaiman Kovacs
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donna J. McComb
    • 1
    • 2
  • Philipp U. Heitz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, St. Michael’s HospitalUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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