Anatomical Science International

, Volume 88, Issue 4, pp 196–203 | Cite as

Changes in fine structure of pericytes and novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells during postnatal development in rat anterior pituitary gland

  • Depicha Jindatip
  • Ken Fujiwara
  • Kotaro Horiguchi
  • Takehiro Tsukada
  • Tom Kouki
  • Takashi YashiroEmail author
Original Article


Pericytes are perivascular cells associated with capillaries. We previously demonstrated that pericytes, identified by desmin immunohistochemistry, produce type I and III collagens in the anterior pituitary gland of adult rats. In addition, we recently used desmin immunoelectron microscopy to characterize a novel type of perivascular cell, dubbed a desmin-immunopositive perivascular cell, in the anterior pituitary. These two types of perivascular cells differ in fine structure. The present study attempted to characterize the morphological features of pituitary pericytes and novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells during postnatal development, in particular their role in collagen synthesis. Desmin immunostaining revealed numerous perivascular cells at postnatal day 5 (P5) and P10. Transmission electron microscopy showed differences in the fine structure of the two cell types, starting at P5. Pericytes had well-developed rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus at P5 and P10. The novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells exhibited dilated cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum at P5–P30. In addition, during early postnatal development in the gland, a number of type I and III collagen-expressing cells were observed, as were high expression levels of these collagen mRNAs. We conclude that pituitary pericytes and novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells contain well-developed cell organelles and that they actively synthesize collagens during the early postnatal period.


Anterior pituitary gland Collagen Desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells Pericytes Postnatal development 



We are grateful Megumi Yatabe for her suggestions on transmission electron microscopic procedure. We also thank David Kipler of Supernatant Communications for revising the language of the manuscript. This work was supported in part by the Research Award to JMU Graduate student, promotional funds for the Keirin Race of the Japan Keirin Association, and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan to T.Y. (22590192).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.

Supplementary material

12565_2013_180_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (1.4 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Triple fluorescence labeling of in situ hybridization for col1a1 mRNA with histochemistry for desmin and isolectin B4 in the anterior pituitary gland of adult rats. The in situ hybridization signal of col1a1 was visualized with a HNPP Fluorescent Detection Kit (Roche Diagnostics) (a, e). After in situ hybridization, pericytes (b) and novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells (f) were detected by anti-desmin (diluted 1:1200, Abcam) and Alexa Fluor 488-conjugated anti-rabbit IgG (diluted 1:200, Life Technologies). Then, sections were treated with biotinylated isolectin B4 (diluted 1:25, Vector Laboratories) and Alexa Fluor 633-conjugated streptavidin (diluted 1:400, Life Technologies) to detect endothelial cells (c, g). Col1a1 mRNA was expressed in both a pericyte (d; arrow) and a novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cell (h; arrowhead). Nuclei were counterstained by Vectashield Mounting Medium containing 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI; Vector Laboratories). Fluorescence images were created with confocal laser microscopy. Emissions were recorded by photomultipliers using the in situ hybridization signal (red pseudocolor), Alexa Fluor 488 (green pseudocolor), Alexa Fluor 633 (white pseudocolor), and DAPI (blue pseudocolor). ca; capillary. Bar 10 μm (PPT 1410 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Anatomists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Depicha Jindatip
    • 1
  • Ken Fujiwara
    • 1
  • Kotaro Horiguchi
    • 1
  • Takehiro Tsukada
    • 1
  • Tom Kouki
    • 1
  • Takashi Yashiro
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Histology and Cell Biology, Department of AnatomyJichi Medical University School of MedicineShimotsukeJapan

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