Ultrastructural evidence for steroid‐hormone production in the adrenal of the marsupial, Isoodon macrourus, at birth

R. T. Gemmell, P. Singh‐Asa, G. Jenkin, G. D. Thorburn

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To determine whether the adrenal gland of the bandicoot is actively producing steroid hormones at birth, the cellular structure was examined by electron microscopy, and the concentration of cortisol in the gland was determined by radioimmunoassay. Two distinct cell populations were seen in the adrenal gland. One group of cells possessed dark staining granules, normally observed in catecholamine‐secreting cells, and the second group contained large amounts of smooth endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria with tubulo‐vesicular cristae. Both features are characteristic of steroid‐secreting cells. A concentration of 0.094 ng of cortisol per adrenal was determined by pooling glands from nine individual newborn bandicoots. This evidence of cortisol secretion from the bandicoot adrenal at birth indicates that, as in many eutherians, the marsupial adrenal may play an important role in determining the length of gestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1982
Externally publishedYes

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