Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 266, Issue 1, pp 59–64 | Cite as

Immunohistochemical distribution of simple-epithelial-type keratins and other intermediate filament proteins in the developing human pituitary gland

  • Hidetoshi Ikeda
  • Takashi Yoshimoto


An immunohistochemical study of the production of the intermediate filaments [vimentin, cytokeratin, and glial filament acidic protein (GFAP)] during development of the pituitary gland was made by use of fetal and adult human pituitary tissue. Among these intermediate filament proteins in the anterior and intermediate lobes of the pituitary, cytokeratin is the first to appear, followed by GFAP and vimentin. However, only cytokeratin is seen during the period of morphogenesis of the pituitary gland, with the type-II subfamily cytokeratin 8 being the earliest to appear. Among the simple-epithelial-type cytokeratins, cytokeratins 8 and 19 were observed within the pituitary primordium during morphogenesis. Cells immunoreactive for cytokeratins 8 and 19 showed a heterogeneous three-dimensional distribution pattern in Rathke's pouch. Both cytokeratins 8 and 19 tended to be strongly positive at sites in the pituitary primordium where cells had become more loosely arranged (i.e., areas far from the diencephalon) but were only weakly positive in areas in which the epithelial cells were densely packed (i.e., areas closely associated with the diencephalon). It is concluded that, during the period of morphogenesis, Rathke's pouch has the intermediate filaments characteristic of simple epithelium and shows different immunoreactivity for simple-epithelial-type cytokeratins from place to place according to the extent of cellular differentiation.

Key words

Pituitary gland Rathke's pouch Intermediate filaments Cytokeratins Development, ontogenetic Immunocytochemistry Human 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hidetoshi Ikeda
    • 1
  • Takashi Yoshimoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Neurosurgery, Institute of Brain DiseasesTohoku University School of MedicineSendaiJapan

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