Ependymal Secretion, especially in the Hypothalamic Region

  • Francis Knowles


Certain circumscribed areas of ependyma, lining the ventricles of the brain, appear to be specialized in structure and activity. In contrast to “normal” or “classical” ependymal cells, which are ciliated and apparently engaged in some synthesis, secretion and adsorption, though not very actively, specialised ependymal cells have morphological characteristics generally associated with considerable secretory and/or absorptive function.

One area of specialized ependyma in the ventro-lateral walls of the III. ventricle lies near the so-called hypophysiotropic area, believed to be concerned in regulation of pituitary function; it is therefore of special interest to endocrinologists. Recently, correlations between the structure of these ependymal cells lining the infundibular recess and pituitary functions related to colour-change and reproductive cycles have been described, and are here considered in relation to hypothalamic control of the pituitary.


Ependymal Cell Median Eminence Pituitary Function Hypothalamic Region Neurosecretory System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anand Kumar, T. C. and Sir F. Knowles: A system linking the third ventricle with the pars tuberalis of the rhesus monkey. Nature (London) 215, 54 (1967a).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anand Kumar, T. C. and Sir F. Knowles: Experimental modification of an area of specialised ependyma in the hypothalamus of the rhesus monkey. Abstract. Confer. Europ. Comp. Endocrinol. Carlsbad. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 9, 513 1967b ).Google Scholar
  3. Brightman, M. W.: The distribution within the brain of ferritin injected into the cerebrospinal fluid compartments. I. Ependymal distribution. J. Cell. Biol. 264, 99–123 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brightman, M. W., and S. L. Palay: The fine structure of ependyma in the brain of the rat. J. Cell. Biol. 19, 415–439 (1963).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cajal, S. Ramon Y.: Histologie du système nerveux de l’homme et des vertébrés. Paris: Norbert Malcine 1909.Google Scholar
  6. Cajal, S. Ramon Y.: Histologie du système nerveux de l’homme et des vertébrés. Madrid: Inst. Ramon y Cajal 1952.Google Scholar
  7. Dendy, A. and G. E. Nicols: On the occurrence of a mesocoelic recess in the human brain, and its relation to the sub-commissural organ of lower vertebrates; with special reference to the distribution of Reissner’s fibre in the vertebrate series and its possible function. Anat. Anz., Jena 37, 496–508 (1910).Google Scholar
  8. Feldberg, W., and K. Fleischhauer: Penetration of bromophenol blue from the perfused cerebral vesicles into the brain tissue. J. Physiol. 150, 451–462 (1960).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Fridberg, C., R. S. Nishioka, H. A. Bern and W. R. Fleming: Regeneration of the caudal neurosecretory system in the Cichlid teleost Tilepia mossamLica. J. Exp. Zool. 162, 311–336 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ganong: In: Review of Medical Physiology, 2nd ed. P. 480. Oxford: Blackwell 1965.Google Scholar
  11. Hagedoorn, J.: Seasonal changes in the ependyma of the third ventricle of the skunk, Mephitis mephitis nigra. Anat. Rec. 151, 453 Abstr. (1965).Google Scholar
  12. Hagen, E. and W. Wittkowski: Zur Ultrastruktur des Hypothalamus-Hypophysensystems unter besonderer Berücksichtigung neurohämaler und neuroglandulärer Kontaktgebiete der Hypophysis. Abstract. Symposion on Neurohormones and Neurohumors, Amsterdam. 1967.Google Scholar
  13. Halàsz, B., L. Pupp, and S. Uhlarik: Hypophysiotropic area in the hypothalamus. J. Endocrinol. 25, 147–154 (1962).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harris, G. H. and B. T. Donovan: The pituitary gland. London: Butterworths 1966.Google Scholar
  15. Hild, W., T. Takenaka and F. Walker: Electrophysiological properties of ependymal cells from the mammalian brain in tissue culture. Exp. Neurol. 11, 493–501 (1965).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones, C. F.: Changes in specialised ependyma of the ferret in relation to the oestrous cycle. Thesis presented for the degree of B. Sc. Birmingham University. 1967.Google Scholar
  17. Klatzo, I., J. Miguel, P. Ferriz, J. D. Prokop and D. E. Smith: Observations on the passage of the fluorescein labeled serum proteins (FISP) from the cerebrospinal fluid. J. Neuropath. exp. Neurol. 23, 18–35 (1964).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Knowles, Sir F.: Neuronal properties of neurosecretory cells. Proceedings IV. Int. Symp. on Neurosecretion. Berlin: Springer 1967.Google Scholar
  19. Knowles, Sir F., and L. Vollrath: Neurosecretory innervation of the pituitary of the eels Anguilla and Conger. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B. 250, 311–342 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Knowles, Sir F., T. C. Anand Kumar and C. F. Jones: Structure and ultrastructure of an area of specialized ependyma in the hypothalamus in relation to reproductive activity. Abstract. Confer. Europ. Comp. Endocrinol. Carlsbad. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 9, 526 (1967).Google Scholar
  21. Kruger, L. and D. S. Maxwell: The fine structure of ependymal processes in the teleost optic tectum. Am. J. Anat. 119, 479–498 (1966).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leonhardt, H.: Über ependymale Tanycyten des III. Ventrikels beim Kaninchen in elektronenmikroskopischer Betrachtung. Z. Zellforsch. 74, 1–11 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leveque, T. F.: In Nalbandov’s Advances in Neuroendocrinology. Pp. 314–328. Illinois University Press 1963.Google Scholar
  24. Leveque, T. F., and G. A. Hofkin: A periventricular PAS-reactive substance in the rat hypothalamus. Anat. Rec. Philadelphia 136, 232 (1960).Google Scholar
  25. Leveque, T. F., G. A. Hofkin, F. Stutinsky, A. Porte and M. Stoeckel: Ultrastructure of the medical prechiasmatic gland in the rat and mouse. Neuroendocrinol. 2, 56–63 (1967).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lups, S. and A. M. F. H. de Haan: The cerebrospinal fluid. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company 1954.Google Scholar
  27. Munroe, B. G.: A comparative study of the ultrastructure of the median eminence, infundibular stem and neural lobe of the hypophysis of the rat. Z. Zellforsch. 76, 405–432 (1967).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nandy, K. and G. H. Boume: Histochemical studies on the ependyma lining the central canal of the spinal cord in the rat with a note on its functional significance. Acta Anat. (Basel) 60, 539–550 (1965).Google Scholar
  29. Pollay, M. and H. Dayson: The passage of certain substance out of the cerebrospinal fluid. Brain 86, 137–150 (1963).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Putnam, T. J.: The intercolumnar tubercle, an undescribed area in the anterior wall of the third ventricle. Bull. John Hopkins Kosp. 33, 181–182 (1922).Google Scholar
  31. Rinne, U. K.: Ultrastructure of the median eminence of the rat. Z. Zellforsch. 74, 98–122 (1966).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roussy, G. and M. Mosinger: Les corrélations épiphyso-hypophysaires. (Le système neuro-docrinien du cerveau). Ann. anat. path. Paris 15, 847–858 (1938)Google Scholar
  33. Schachenmayr, W.: Über die Entwicklung von Ependym und Plexus chorioideus der Ratte. Z. Zellforsch. 77, 25–63 (1967).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Scharrer, E. The final common path in neuroendocrine integration. Arch. d’Anat. microsc. 54, 359–370 (1965).Google Scholar
  35. Scharrer, E.: Principles of neuroendocrine integration. In: Endocrines and the Central Nervous System. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins Co. 1966.Google Scholar
  36. Smoller, C. G.: Neurosecretory processes extending into third ventricle: secretory or sensory? Science 147, 882–884 (1965).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sterba, G. and J. Weiss: Beiträge zur Hydrencephalokrinie: I. Hypothalamische Hydrencephalokrinie der Bachforelle (Salmo trutta fario). J. f. Hirnforsch. 9, 4, 359–371 (1967).Google Scholar
  38. Studniéka, F. K.: Untersuchungen über den Bau des Ependyms der nervösen Centralorgane. Anat. Hefte, Wiesbaden II, 15, 301–431 (1902).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vigh, B.: Ependymosécrétion, sécrétion Gomori-positive de l’épendyme dans l’hypothalamus. Ann. Endocrin. (Paris) 25, Suppl., 140–141 (1964).Google Scholar
  40. Vigh, B., B. Aros, T. Wenger, S. Koritsanszky, and G. Cegledi: Ependymosecretion (Ependymal neurosecretion) IV. The Gomori-positive secretion of the hypothalamic ependyma of various vertebrates and its relation to the anterior pituitary. Acta Biol. Szeged. 13, 407–419 (1963).Google Scholar
  41. Weatherhead, B.: Ultrastructure of certain ependyma of the lacertilian hypothalamus and pars nervosa. Abstract. Confer. Europ. Comp. Endocrinol. Carlsbad. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 9, 523 (1967).Google Scholar
  42. Worthington, W. C. Jr. and R. S. Cathcart: Ependymal cilia; distribution and activity in the adult human brain. Science 139, 221–222 (1963).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis Knowles
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyThe Medical SchoolBirmingham 15England
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyKing’s CollegeLondonEngland

Personalised recommendations