Quantitative changes of the C-cell population in the rat thyroid during postnatal ontogenesis

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The number and distribution of C-cells in the rat thyroid gland, have been investigated during postnatal ontogenesis from birth to 120 days of age. The argyrophilic and metachromatic properties of these cells were used to identify them. In the thyroid of newborn rats the C-cells do not exhibit argyrophilia and metachromasia. These reactions appear at 10 days and can be seen at all subsequent ages. The number of C-cells shows a parallel increase with age as demonstrated by the change in the proportion of C-cells:F-cells:colloid:stroma during development. A marked increase in C-cells was found at 50 days of age when the proportion of C-cells rose to 27.67% from the value of 16.78% at 30 days. At 70 days a decrease was noted (20.50%) which hardly changed until 120 days of age (22.20%). The numerical increase in C-cells occurs at the expense of the follicular epithelium and stroma. The C-cells occupy elongated islet-like region in the central part of the lobe, decreasing in number towards the periphery where no C-cells are present. The long axis of the C-cells area is parallel with the longitudinal axis of the lobe. The area of C-cells is largest at the centre of the lobe, corresponding to the territory of the peak of the Gaussian curve for the numerical distribution of C-cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-552
Number of pages12
JournalCell And Tissue Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1976



  • Argyrophilia
  • Metachromasia
  • Ontogenesis
  • Quantitative changes
  • Thyroid-C-cells (Rat)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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