Sex differences in adrenocortical structure and function. XXII. Light- and electron-microscopic morphometric studies on the effects of gonadectomy and gonadal hormone replacement on the rat adrenal cortex.

Abstract

The cytological aspects of sexual dimorphism in the rat adrenal cortex and its relationship to the gonads have been investigated. The adrenal glands of mature female rats were heavier than those of males, and morphometry showed that this was almost exclusively due to conspicuous differences in the volume of cells of the zona fasciculata (ZF) and zona reticularis (ZR). Stereology demonstrated that the volume of the mitochondrial and lipid droplet compartments, as well as the surface area per cell of mitochondrial cristae and smooth endoplasmic reticulum tubules, were markedly higher in the ZF and ZR cells of female animals. Orchiectomy increased and ovariectomy decreased the adrenal weight, by eliciting hypertrophy and atrophy, respectively, of ZF and ZR cells; these effects of gonadectomy were reversed by the appropriate gonadal hormone replacement. It is suggested that the sexual dimorphism of the rat adrenal cortex may depend upon the inhibitory action of testosterone and the stimulatory effect of estradiol on the hypothalamo-hypophyseal-adrenal axis.

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@article{Malendowicz1986SexDI, title={Sex differences in adrenocortical structure and function. XXII. Light- and electron-microscopic morphometric studies on the effects of gonadectomy and gonadal hormone replacement on the rat adrenal cortex.}, author={Ludwik K. Malendowicz and Claudia Robba and Gastone Giovanni Nussdorfer}, journal={Cell and tissue research}, year={1986}, volume={244 1}, pages={141-5} }