Electron microscopic observations of the anterior pituitary gland. Part I. The neurons in the "transitional zone" of the anterior pituitary gland

Yoshio Mabuchi, Nobuyuki Shirasawa, Eisuke Sakuma, Ikuo Wada, Osamu Horiuchi, Motoshi Kikuchi, Atsushi Sakamoto, Damon C. Herbert, Tsuyoshi Soji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Since [Westlud, K.N., Chils, G.V., 1982. Localization of serotonin fibers in the rat adenohypophysis. Endocrinology 111, 1761-1763] initially identified the serotonin nerve fibers in the anterior pituitary gland, attention has been paid to the rostral zone of the anterior lobe into which nerve fibers enter and subsequently spread to deeper regions of the lobe. The rostral zone is the trifurcated junction of the partes tuberalis, intermedia and distalis, and has the important role(s) for hormone secretion via the "transitional zone" [Sato, G, Shirasawa, N, Sakuma, E, Sato, Y, Asai, Y, Wada, I, Horiuchi, O, Sakamoto, A, Herbert, DC, Soji, T, 2005a. Intercellular communications within the rat anterior pituitary. XI: An immunohistochemical study of distributions of S-100 positive cells in the anterior pituitary of the rat. Tissue and Cell 37, 269-280.]. The objective of this study was to focus on the ultrastructure of this "zone." All of the animals studied were fixed by perfusion with glutaraldehyde via the left ventricle of the heart and examined by electron microscopy. In the "transitional zone," a cluster of neuronal elements was observed between the folliculo-stellate cell-rich area and the anterior lobe. This cluster consisted of myelinated fibers, unmyelinated fibers, neuroendocrine fibers, large cells, and supporting cells. The large cells were perikarya of neurons which made a "ganglion-like" structure with associated satellite cells. Agranular, folliculo-stellate cells were intermingled among the elements. This is the first report that neuronal elements form clusters in the "transitional zone." A relationship of the unmyelinated and neuroendocrine fibers in the basal layer and in the "transitional zone" is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Electron microscope
  • LHRH nerve fibers
  • Transitional zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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