In the present study we investigated the effect of a long-term estrogen treatment on the intracellular distribution of VIP immunoreactivity in pituitary prolactin cells using double-labeling immunocytochemistry. With the use of pre-embedding ABC method it was found that VIP immunoreactivity was associated with the outer surface of membrane-bound organelles, and was not found in secretory granules. However, prolactin immunoreactivity demonstrated by postembedding immunogold technique was mainly associated within the secretory granules of the same cells. The discrepancy between our and Hsu et al.'s results (1989), who observed VIP immunoreactivity in secretory granules of human anterior pituitary cells, may be owing to the overstimulation of VIP cells by estrogen. It is possible that estrogen treatment depleted the VIP content of the secretory granules and enhanced the cytosolic VIP. The appearance of an alternative form of VIP in estrogen-treated rats with preferential distribution in the cytosol cannot be excluded.
- Electron microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism