Ontogeny of the pig hypothalamic neurosecretory system with particular reference to the distribution of neurophysin

Research paper by H. K. Ellis, W. B. Watkins

Indexed on: 01 Dec '75Published on: 01 Dec '75Published in: Cell and Tissue Research


The immunoperoxidase cytochemical reaction was applied to the localization of neurophysin-containing elements in the fetal and adult pig hypothalamus. In the 60 day fetal pig, cells of the supraoptic nucleus (SON) were the only structures in the hypothalamus in which neurophysin was detected. However, by 87 days the cell bodies in both the SON and paraventricular nucleus (PVN) contained neurophysin-like material. The distribution of immunoreactive material in the 111 day fetal animal was similar to that found in the adult pig.In transverse section of the mature pig the SON exists in two discrete components; an antero-lateral group of cells connected by scattered cells to a smaller postero-medial group. Anteriorly, the PVN appears as a line of cells bordering the third ventricle but as we proceed posteriorly the dorsal aspect expands laterally to give a wedge-shaped group of cells. In mid-sagittal sections, the cells of the PVN are distributed over a wide area of the anterior hypothalamus in a triangular profile. The borders between the SON and PVN became more difficult to define in medial sections than in lateral sections.Continuous gradient polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was carried out on the neural lobe extracts from fetal, newborn and adult pigs. Proteins with an electrophoretic mobility similar to that of porcine neurophysins-I,-II and -III were present in the newborn and 98 day fetal pig.It is concluded that material immunoreactive with anti-neurophysin serum is present in the hypothalamus of the 60 day fetal pig. Furthermore, at late fetal development and during the postnatal period it is tentatively suggested that the neurophysin present in the pituitaries of these animals is chemically identical with that of adult neurophysin.