Prenatal development of hematopoietic and hormone-producing cells in the chicken adenohypophysis.
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The developmental sequence of markers for hematopoietic, hormone-producing, and folliculo-stellate cells in the chicken adenohypophysis is described using immunohistochemical staining techniques. Hematopoietic cells are detected in cryosections of the adenohypophysis starting from 10- or 12-day embryos, using chicken-specific monoclonal antibodies against the leukocyte common antigen (CD45) and the macrophage antigen CVI-ChNL-68.1, respectively. During the second half of embryonic development, CVI-ChNL-68.1-positive macrophages, which are also found in several lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues of the embryo, progressively populate the adenohypophysis, simultaneously with the maturation of the different hormone-producing cell types in their characteristic topographical location. In cryosections of embryonic chicken adenohypophyses, from day 10, distinct cell populations gradually become immunoreactive to chicken-specific monoclonal antibodies against proopiomelanocortin, the beta-subunit of luteinizing hormone, growth hormone, and prolactin. At hatching, these pituitary hormones are immunohistochemically detectable in a topographical pattern corresponding to the known distribution of hormone-producing cells in the adult chicken adenohypophysis. However, in the hatchling, there is no immunoreactivity to the S100 protein, a marker characteristic for the non-hormone-producing folliculo-stellate (FS) cells in the adult adenohypophysis, although FS cells in the 4-week-old chicken show a strong immunoreactivity to a polyclonal antiserum against bovine S100. Immunoreactivity to the major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-class II of the chicken) is also absent in the embryonic adenohypophysis, thereby corroborating the absence of these characteristic markers of dendritic cells (MHC class II) and FS cells (S100) in the perinatal adenohypophysis, as in the rat. It is concluded that, whereas early macrophages populate the adenohypophysis simultaneously with the maturation of hormone-producing cells (i.e., during the second half of embryonic development), the FS cell-specific expression of S100 protein does not take place before hatching, and neither does the expression of MHC-class II antigens in the embryonic chicken adenohypophysis.