Fine structure of the pituitary pars distalis

  • Christian Girod
Part of the Electron Microscopy in Biology and Medicine book series (EMBM, volume 1)


The cytological study of the mammalian and human pituitary pars distalis has been undertaken either with cytological, cytochemical, and immunocytochemical methods or electron microscopy. Older results concerning cytological data have been collected in Romeis’ monograph (1). More recently, Holmes and Ball (2) have presented an overview of the knowledge on the morphological aspects of the vertebrate pituitary gland. We have published several reviews on these subjects (3–6). The ultrastructural study of the pars distalis has been mainly investigated in laboratory mammals, with the goal of defining not only microscopic characteristics but also the physiological significance of different cell categories with respect to endocrine secretions. Since the preliminary report by Fernandez-Moran and Luft (7), and the initial description by Rinehart and Farquhar (8), a great number of reviews has been devoted to this aspect of pituitary cytology, the gland being studied in situ as well as in vitro (dispersed pituitary cells or cell cultures) (9–25). Ultrastructural immunocytochemistry also has been used effectively (26–29). After the first approaches by Foster (30–31), only a few descriptions have been reported regarding the fine structure of the normal adult human pars distalis (32–44). In this review, we will consider only the ultrastructural aspect of the secretory cells in adult mammalian and human pars distalis.


Pituitary Gland Secretory Granule Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum Golgi Complex Anterior Pituitary Cell 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston, The Hague, Dordrecht, Lancaster 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Girod
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Histology-Embryology-CytogeneticsFaculté de Médecine Alexis CarrelLyon Cédex 2France

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