Pituitary gland, pars tuberalis
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Functional receptors for melatonin have been localized and characterized on the pars tuberalis (PT) of a number of mammalian species, but the cell-type responsive to melatonin is unknown. The ultrastructure of the ovine pars tuberalis has been examined and these findings correlated with the functional response of the gland to melatonin. This study revealed that two secretory cell types predominate in the ovine PT, which differ in the abundance of dense-core granules. The most abundant of the cells are either agranular or very sparsely granulated and represent 90% of the total population, with the remaining 10% being composed of cells with abundant dense-core vesicles. Few follicular cells were observed. This ratio of secretory cell-types persisted in primary culture, with the two types non-separable by Percoll gradient centrifugation. Using forskolin, as a non-specific stimulant of adenylate cyclase, melatonin was shown to inhibit the formation of cyclic AMP by 80–90% in cells both before and after Percoll centrifugation. The results demonstrate that the agranular secretory cells of the ovine pars tuberalis are the melatonin responsive cell-type of this gland.
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