PLATES CLV-CLVIII I N the preceding paper we demonstrated that certain cells deep in the adrenal cortex of adult and foetal rats were deleted by a specific and apparently controlled process on the rapid withdrawal of ACTH stimulation (Wyllie, Kerr, Macaskill and Currie, 1973). This process, referred to as apoptosis (Kerr, Wyllie and Currie, 1972), possesses morphological features and is initiated by hormonal factors of such a kind as to suggest it may play an important role in the normal physiological control of the adrenocortical cell population. Definitive demonstration of such a role is difficult, but a step towards it would be made if it were shown that physiological variations in ACTH secretion modified the rate of adrenocortical apoptosis. This paper describes the changing incidence of adrenocortical apoptosis in the rat over the newborn period, when there is good evidence that ACTH stimulation wanes physiologically; evidence is presented that these changes in incidence are indeed ACTH dependent. MATERIALS METHODS AND Sprague-Dawley rats were killed instantly by cervical transection, without prior treatment and with a minimum of handling, within 2 hr of birth and at 1, 2, 3, 4,5, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and 49 days thereafter.
The Journal of Pathology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1973
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