Intercellular communications within the rat anterior pituitary XII: Immunohistochemical and physiological evidences for the gap junctional coupling of the folliculo-stellate cells in the rat anterior pituitary

Yumi Sato, Hikaru Hashitani, Nobuyuki Shirasawa, Eisuke Sakuma, Akira Naito, Hikaru Suzuki, Yuji Asai, Goro Sato, Ikuo Wada, Damon C. Herbert, Tsuyoshi Soji

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17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since Farquhar [1957. "Corticotrophs" of the rat adenohypophysis as revealed by electron microscopy. Anat. Rec. 127, 291] was the first to report the presence of agranular folliculo-stellate cells as corticotrophs in the anterior pituitary gland, there were no reports about electro-physiological characteristics of the folliculo-stellate cells because of its no hormonal activity and the chaotic distribution of the parenchyma cells. Male Wistar rats, aged 7 weeks with weighing 250-300 g, were separated into two groups. One group was used for immunohistochemical and light microscopical studies to detect S-100 protein and connexin 43. The other group was used for the electro-physiological study and then for the electron microscopical study to know the fine structural character of folliculo-stellate cells after the electro-physiological experiment. Clusters of S-100 protein cells (agranulated folliculo-stellate cells) and numerous connexin 43 positive sites on S-100 protein cells were clear in the "transitional zone" at which the pituitary tissue made the transition from the pars tuberalis to the proximal part of the anterior lobe. Penetration of electrodes to the cells distributed in the transitional zone showed stable membrane potential ranged between -27 and -67 mV with no spontaneous activity. Random penetration of electrode showed that larger populations of cell (∼80%) had membrane potentials with -55.6 ± 5.1 mV, and less than 20% of cells had the resting membrane potential with -36.0 ± 4.4 mV. There were two types of cell couplings; one major group for the recordings from cells with similar deep resting membrane potentials and the other for the recordings from cells with different resting membrane potentials. The former indicated that two cells were electrically coupled while the latter no electrical couples were observed. Carbenoxolone depolarized the membrane by 12.3 ± 5.5 mV and reduced the amplitude of electrotonic potentials, and the response recovered by removal of carbenoxolone by the superfusate. The transitional zones of the pituitary glands examined the electrical coupling were observed by an electron microscopy. Almost cytological profiles were observed as intact. The results clearly indicated that the folliculo-stellate cell system deeply participated in the regulation of the anterior pituitary parallel with the portal vessel system, which was the main regulatory system for pituitary hormone secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalTissue and Cell
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2005

Keywords

  • Carbenoxolone
  • Folliculo-stellate cell
  • Gap junction
  • Pituitary gland
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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