Indexed on: 01 Mar '71Published on: 01 Mar '71Published in: Cell and Tissue Research
In 260 male and female Sprague-Dawley CD rats the sex dependent development of the adrenal cortex was studied histologically and by histometric procedures.Beginning in the 4th week of life the parenchymal cells in the fasciculata of the female animals are characterized by a light, finely granular cytoplasm without distinct lipid vacuoles. In the males, however, the cells show a dense, compact cytoplasm with clearly visible vacuoles increasing in size. In a blind test the sex diagnosis can be established with great accuracy.Histometrically the nuclei in the female fasciculata cells are larger than in the males. Furthermore, caused by a larger cell volume the number of nuclei per square unit is smaller in postpuberal females.The glomerulosa and the inner parts of the cortex do not show any sex differences, nor does enzyme histochemistry.The relative cellular hypertrophy in the fasciculata of the female adrenal cortex represents the morphologic equivalent of the sexual differences in the rats steroid metabolism.