We examined non-granulated pituitary cells (folliculo-stellate cells and anterior and posterior marginal cells of the pituitary cleft) in lactating and virgin female rats by means of electron microscopy and morphometry. Ultrastructure and morphometric parameters of the cells lining the pituitary cleft were similar in the two groups of animals. On the contrary, folliculo-stellate cells showed a marked nucleocytoplasmic activation in lactating rats in the electron microscope, which was confirmed by morphometric measurements. These results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the three cell types share the same reactivity during pituitary hyperfunction and that they have a common function, as suggested by purely morphological studies in various endocrine conditions. We believe that quantitation of cell response during such stimuli could be useful to further elucidate this matter.
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