The relationship between the folliculo-stellate network and the thyrotropic cells of the avian adenohypophysis

Cell Tissue Res. 1982;226(1):97-111. doi: 10.1007/BF00217085.


The folliculo-stellate network of the avian adenohypophysis consists of stellate cells surrounding colloid-containing follicular cavities into which cilia and microvilli project. Other identifying criteria are agranularity, junctional complexes at the apical pole, presence of cytoplasmic processes ramifying between adjacent secretory cells, and close appositions of plasma membranes linking folliculo-stellate cells and presumptive thyrotropic cells. Transmission electron microscopy reveals that TRH and L-DOPA induce simultaneous ultrastructural changes in the folliculo-stellate network and in the thyrotropic cells. TRH transforms at cell of the cephalic lobe into a highly hypertrophic cell in which enlargement of cisterns of rough endoplasmic reticulum containing secretory granules, development of a large Golgi complex, presence of newly synthesized secretory granules, and granulation of the cytoplasm are the main features. In the meantime, the follicular cavities become dilated by large amounts of homogeneous colloid. The administration of L-DOPA also leads to the development of dilated cisterns in presumptive thyrotropic cells of the cephalic lobe. Intracisternal granules, immature secretory granules, and large Golgi complexes, however, are not observed. Degranulation of the cytoplasm is obvious. The follicular cavities of both cephalic and caudal lobes are enlarged and filled with colloid in which granular elements are noted. The ultrastructural changes observed in thyrotropic cells and in the folliculo-stellate network reflect functional changes induced by the experimental manipulation. These changes may be related, directly or indirectly, or completely independent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Levodopa / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / metabolism
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / ultrastructure*
  • Quail / anatomy & histology*
  • Thyrotropin / biosynthesis*
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology


  • Levodopa
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Thyrotropin