Histophysiological evidence for the secretion of polypeptides by the pineal gland

Andrew Lukaszyk, Russel J. Reiter

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71 Scopus citations


Histophysiological examinations of the bovine and monkey pineal gland indicate that this organ may be involved in the secretion of polypeptides. Using various histochemical procedures designed to identify peptidesecreting cells, granules and/or droplets of presumptive secretory product were identified within cellular processes, within the walls of blood vessels and associated with multilayered corpuscles (corpora arenacea). In bovine pineal tissue, the stained material was found most often in what appeared to be pinealocyte processes, as perivascular granules and associated with multilayered corpuscles. In the monkey pineal the stainable material was more distinct; this was probably due to the earlier fixation of the glands after death of the animals. In this species, the presumptive secretory material was found in nerve fibers, occasionally in glial cell and pinealocyte processes and within and around the walls of capillaries. In nerve fibers, the stained material sometimes resembled Herring bodies of the posterior pituitary gland. Similar material appeared to be located in capillary endothelial cells and within multilayered corpuscles. In pineal tissue of both species, calcium was detectable histochemically within multilayered corpuscles. Although tinctorially different, the presumptive neurosecretory material was similar to that found in the posterior pituitary gland. As a working hypothesis, we propose that polypeptides may be released from cells in conjunction with a carrier protein and that the mechanism of secretion of the polypeptide into the vascular system may involve its exchange for calcium. The calcium is then theoretically deposited in the multilayered corpuscles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-464
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Anatomy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy


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