Effects of light deprivation on prolactin cells in golden hamsters: An immunoelectron microscopic study

S. M. Wang, J. C. Wu, C. M. Lue, A. I. Tsai, W. P. Chen, H. S. Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the golden hamster light deprivation has been shown to induce gonadal regression and reduction of pituitary and plasma levels of prolactin (PRL). In the present study we examined changes in morphology and population ratios of three types of PRL cells 8 weeks after light deprivation, by means of blinding or exposure of hamsters to continuous darkness. In the pituitary of intact hamsters of either sex, which were entrained to a 14-h light: 10-h dark cycle, Type C cells with large secretory granules were the most numerous and Type A with smaller granules the least. After light deprivation the pituitary was found to contain remarkably atrophic PRL cells and showed a profound change in population ratio of PRL cell types, i.e., Type A cells prevailed over the other two types. Pituitary glands from light-deprived and concurrently pinealectomized hamsters exhibited structures and a population ratio of three types of PRL cells similar to those from intact animals. It is suggested that small-granule-containing PRL cells represent an inactive stage of PRL cells, whereas medium- and large-granule-containing cells are functionally active cells. The atrophy of PRL cells can account for the decreased pituitary level of PRL in light-deprived hamsters reported previously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
JournalHistology and Histopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


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