Immunocytochemical studies of chicken somatotrophs and somatotroph granules before and after hatching

Sasha Malamed, Jean A. Gibney, Lisa D. Cain, Frank M. Perez, Colin G. Scanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Immunocytochemical methods were used to gain information about the embryonic development of chicken somatotrophs before and after hatching. To localize growth hormone, anterior pituitary sections were incubated with growth-hormone antibody, and then an indirect peroxidase method was used for light microscopy and an immunogold method for electron microscopy. The earliest evidence of embryonic somatotrophs was seen at 12 days. At this stage somatotrophs were sparse (0.2% of parenchymal cells) and their granules were pleomorphic with elongated ovoid and lozenge shapes predominating. Few of the immunogold-labeled somatotroph granules of the embryo were spherical until 15 days after fertilization. At 18 days, most of the granules were spherical (their shape in the adult chicken). During the six days between the 15-day-old embryo and the 1-day-old chick, the number of gold particles per granule section approximately doubled suggesting an increase in growth hormone content of the granules. This rise was the result of increases in the size of the granule sections and in the concentration of gold particles in the sections. During the embryonic period of 12-20 days, somatotrophs were not more than 3.6% of the anterior pituitary cell population. During the following two days, between the 20-day-old embryo and the 1-day-old chick, the percentage of somatotrophs in the pituitary parenchymal cell population rose rapidly from 3.6% to 20.7% and then increased slowly to 24.6% during the period of 1-5 days after hatching. Both the sharp percentage rise in somatotrophs (20-day-old embryo to 1-day-old chick) and the rise in growth hormone content of the granules (15-day-old embryo to 1-day-old chick) suggested by gold-particle counts occur close to the time of hatching. These morphological changes may reflect an increased synthesis of growth hormone that is responsible for the rise in plasma growth-hormone concentration that begins about the same time and is especially abrupt two days later (1-3 days after hatching).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Developments ontogenic
  • Domestic fowl
  • Growth hormone
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Somatotroph granules
  • Somatotrophs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Immunocytochemical studies of chicken somatotrophs and somatotroph granules before and after hatching'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this