Ultrastructure of rat ovarian interstitial gland cells during pregnancy
- Cite this article as:
- Lawrence, I.E., Burden, H.W. & Capps, M.L. Cell Tissue Res. (1977) 184: 143. doi:10.1007/BF00223064
The fine structure of the interstitial gland of the rat ovary was studied at estrus and on Days 4, 6, 10, 14 and 18 of pregnancy. At estrus, ovarian interstitial cells have small nuclei with dense irregular clumps of heterochromatin. Mitochondria are small and rod-shaped and have predominantely lamellar cristae. Numerous osmiophilic lipid droplets are present. At Days 4 and 6, nuclear heterochromatin is reduced, and nucleoli are larger and complex. Mitochondria are enlarged and often bizarre-shaped and have tubular cristae. Golgi and smooth endoplasmic reticulum are more conspicuous. At Day 10, prominent ultrastructural features include nuclei with conspicuous heterochromatin, smaller mitochondria with both lamellar and tubular cristae, numerous ribosomes and lipid droplets with decreased osmiophilia. At Days 14 and 18, nuclei have increased heterochromatin, mitochondria are small and have lamellated cristae and an increase in the size and number of lipid droplets occurs. These observations suggest that steroidogenic activity of interstitial cells is highest during the first half of pregnancy and regresses during the last half. It is suggested that the interstitial gland is an important ovarian source of pregnancy hormone(s) during the first half of gestation and that LH may modulate steroidogenic activity in this ovarian component.