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Thyroid Gland

Lies adjacent to trachea, posterior to larynx

Consists of two lobes connected by an isthmus and surrounded by a capsule (double layers of CT).

Develops as an evagination from the wall of the pharynx Contains two types of hormonesecreting cells:
1. 4/2/12

Follicle Cells = secrete thyroid

Page 366 Thyroid location and gross structure


Follicle Cell Colloid C-cell

Capillary bed in Areolar CT



Page 367 Thyroid Gland (follicles)

Synthesis of Colloid and Thyroid Hormones

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Synthesis of thyroglobulin Release into follicle lumen Iodination Storage as colloid Endocytosis of colloid in response to secretory stimulus (TSH from adenohypophysis)


Hydrolysis of thyroglobulin 4/2/12 (produces T3 and T4)

Thyroid Cells and Function

Follicle cells are low cuboidal when hypoactive; high cuboidal/low columnar when the gland is active; Hyperactive thyroid has little or no colloid in lumen of follicles. Follicle cells contain large nuclei, basophilic cytoplasm with fine granules, and numerous mitochondria, RER and lysosomes

C-cells = lie adjacent to follicles but

Parathyroid Glands

Lie on border of thyroid, usually 4 glands in humans (range is 2-6); derived from endoderm of pharyngeal pouches. Covered with a thin capsule and also enclosed in fascia of thyroid; septa extend inward from capsule, divide gland incompletely into lobules; septa carry blood vessels, lymphatics, nerves Glandular epithelium consists of 2 cell types:

Chief Cells = small, round, pale-staining cells with a spherical nucleus and indistinct cell borders. Secrete Parathyroid hormone

Oxyphil Cells = less common, larger with acidophilic cytoplasm, smaller darker nucleus, numerous mitochondria; increase in number after puberty. May represent non-secretory chief cells, but precise function 4/2/12

Page 369 Parathyroid Gland (cord-and-clump arrangement

= CT septa


P = chief cells O = oxyphil

Adrenal Glands

Paired glands located at cranial pole of each kidney; composed of 2 histological regions: Cortex = outer region, secretory cells derived from mesoderm, produce corticosteroids Medulla = inner region, secretory cells derived from neural crest tissue, produce catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine) 4/2/12

Adrenal Location and Gross Structure


Adrenal Cortex

Composed of 3 zones (outside to inside): Zona glomerulosa = narrow zone immediately beneath capsule (~15% of cortex), cells arranged into rounded clumps Consists of pyrimidal or columnar cells with dark-staining spherical nuclei, acidophilic cytoplasm with some basophilic material, cytoplasm 4/2/12

Adrenal Cortex

Zona fasiculata = thickest layer (~78% of cortex) Consists of irregular cuboidal/polyhedral cells arranged in long radial cords; bordered by fenestrated capillaries. Cells contain vesicular nuclei and basophilic cytoplasm with numerous lipid droplets (droplets larger than in zona glomerulosa) 4/2/12

Adrenal Cortex

Zona reticularis = composes ~7% of cortex volume Cells form anastomosing network, separated by fenestrated capillaries Cells in this region are smaller, the cytoplasm contains fewer lipid droplets and the nuclei are deeper-stained Produces some glucocorticoids and very small amounts of sex hormones (dihydroepiandrosterone; 4/2/12


Page 362 Adrenal cortex regions


Adrenal Medulla

Consists of anastomosing cords of cells known as chromaffin cells (due to specific staining of secretory granules with Chromium salts) Secrete epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine Secretory cells of medulla innervated by sympathetic preganglionic fibers, so they are functionally equivalent to sympathetic ganglion cells. 4/2/12


Page 363 Chromaffin Tissue of Adrenal Medulla


Pineal Body

Cone-shaped body attached by a stalk to the roof of the 3rd ventricle of the brain Produces melatonin which exerts a suppressive effect on gonadal function and regulates circadian and circannual rhythms, among other actions Pia mater forms capsule around pineal body 4/2/12

Pineal Body Cell Types

Pinealocytes = epithelial secretory cells (melatonin), irregularly shaped with branching processes; palestaining cells with a large nucleus Glial Cells = serve as supporting network; fewer in number, possess elongated deeply stained nucleus Extracellular Concretions = lamellated bodies of calcified organic matrix; occur mainly in capsule and 4/2/12


Page 370 Pineal Body CA = corpora arenacea (concretions) = septa

Comparative Pituitary Gland

Lamprey = rostral and proximal pars distalis, pars intermedia and pars nervosa form neurointermediate lobe; no pars tuberalis present Teleost = tendency to localize cellular types in specific regions; also have rostral and proximal pars distalis, neurointermediate lobe, but positions are reversed from mammalian condition with neurohypophysis anterior, 4/2/12

Tele ost
pp d

Lampr ey


rp d

NIL = Pars intermedia + Pars nervosa pars nervosa p. t. p. d.

pars intermedia Pars dista lis

Repti le p.

Anur an

p. i.

Comparative Organization of the Pituitary in Vertebrates

Pars dista lis


Bir d

Pharyngeal Pouch Derivatives

Ultimobranchial Bodies = derived from ventral portion of 5th pharyngeal pouch, present in nonmammalian vertebrates

Produce calcitonin; thought to be homologous to C-cells of mammalian thyroid

No parathyroids present in fishes, but they are present in all tetrapods


= Thymu s Note no parathyroids = Thyroid

= Ultimobranchi al bodies

= Parathyroi d

Comparative Pharyngeal Pouch Derivatives in Vertebrates


Comparative Adrenal

Primitive Condition = diffuse tissue Advanced Condition = Discrete glands with discrete regions of cortical and chromaffin tissue; become associated with cranial pole of kidney


Bir d

Crocod ile

Sna ke

Liza rd

Mamm al

Salaman der

Turt le Tele ost

Anu ra

Lungf ish

Comparative Structure of the Adrenal Gland in Vertebrates

(cortical tissue = white; chromaffin tissue = black)

Holost ean
Post cardinal veins

Elasmobr anch

Cyclosto me