Hypophysectomy and porcine fetal lung development.

K. E. Pinkerton, J. Z. Kendall, G. C. Randall, M. A. Chechowitz, Dallas Melvin Hyde, C. G. Plopper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The effect of hypophysectomy on the development of the lung parenchyma and maturation of pulmonary alveolar type II cells was examined in the fetal pig. In fetuses from four different gilts, hypophysectomy was performed on gestational day 69 or 70. Littermates from the same gilts served as controls. Fetuses were delivered by caesarean section at term (113 +/- 1 days of gestation), and the lungs were fixed by intratracheal instillation. Plasma cortisol and thyroxine concentrations in the umbilical artery were markedly lower for hypophysectomized fetuses compared with control fetuses. Body weight was similar for both groups of fetuses. Total lung volume was 53% smaller in hypophysectomized fetuses compared with control fetuses. However, alveolar septal tissue and capillary luminal volumes were similar in both groups. Total lung alveolar surface area was twice as great in control animals compared with hypophysectomized animals. The volumes of epithelium, interstitium, and endothelium of centriacinar alveolar septa per unit surface area of epithelial basal lamina were 3.7, 4.8, and 2.4 times greater in hypophysectomized fetuses compared with control fetuses. Alveolar type II cell composition also differed significantly between groups. The volume fraction of glycogen in type II cells was 51% for hypophysectomized fetuses and 12% for control fetuses, while lamellar body volume fraction was 8% in hypophysectomized fetuses and 23% in control fetuses. The frequency of alveolar type II cell contact with mesenchymal interstitial cells via foot processes was 5 times greater in the lungs of control animals compared with hypophysectomized animals. These findings demonstrate significant effects of hypophysectomy on the morphogenetic and cytodifferentiation activities of all major tissue compartments of the pulmonary gas exchange area during the final trimester of fetal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-328
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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