Morphologie der Entwicklung und Reifung endokriner Organe

Part of the Symposion der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Endokrinologie in Ulm vom 26.—28. Februar 1970 book series (ENDOKRINOLOGIE, volume 16)

Morphology of Development and Maturation of Endocrine Organs


The morphology of the development of hormone producing glands searches for a quantitative and qualitative analysis of growth, including structural and cytochemical differentiation from the embryomic stage through puberty. The present manuscript deals with aspects of growth and differentiation in the anterior pituitary, the thyroid gland, and the adrenal cortex of man.

The hypophysis gains in weight by the factor three during the last third of gestation. Recent immunofluorescent and electron microscopic results confirm that cellular differentiation also develops during the last third of gestation. Hypophyseal growth during childhood is proportional to the growth of the whole body. The cellular composition of the anterior pituitary does not markedly change during puberty.

Up to the 80th day of gestation the thyroid gland grows relatively more rapid than the whole embryo. Colloid secretion starts between day 73 and 80. From then on through puberty thyroid growth is largely proportionate, except for a transitional loss of weight by 10 to 20% during the first three days of life. Weight and histologic structure of the organ in the newborn differ in dependence on the geographic frequency of goiter. Iodine salt prophylaxis to the mother decreases the weight of the thyroid gland and leads to an accumulation of colloid at birth. Organs taken a few minutes post mortem do not show the well known epithelial desquamation of the follicles.

The adrenal cortex is subject to deep changes by the development and involution of the fetal inner zone as well as by the development of the reticularis during the adrenarche. Histochemical and electron microscopic findings confirm the early functional differentiation of the fetal inner zone, whose postnatal involution is often delayed in prematurely born infants. The reticularis develops in the child in correlation to the very slow increase in organ weight between the third year of life and puberty, showing great individual differences. The weight increase of the adrenals is correlated to the gain in body surface.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Dhom
    • 1
  1. 1.Pathologisches InstitutUniversität des SaarlandesHomburg/SaarDeutschland

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