Pituitary intermediate lobe in dog: two cell types and high bioactive adrenocorticotropin content

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Science  02 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4477, pp. 72-74
DOI: 10.1126/science.6255564


The pituitary intermediate lobe of most species is cytologically monotonous, but that of the dog is composed of two immunocytochemically distinct cell types. The predominant A cells are typical pars intermedia cells: they stain immunocytochemically for alpha-melanotropin and, more weakly, for adrenocorticotropin and beta-lipotropin. The B cells are like the corticotrophs of the anterior lobe: they stain intensely for adrenocorticotropin and beta-lipotropin but not for alpha-melanotropin. The B cells may account for the high concentration of bioactive adrenocorticotropin measured in the canine pars intermedia, and may explain why in dogs adenomas causing Cushing's disease through hypersecretion of adrenocorticotropin can arise from the intermediate as well as the anterior pituitary lobe.