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SIU SOM Histology ERG


ERG Index

GI Index

ENDO Index



Histology Study Guide
Endocrine System
Scheduled Activities

Using this guide

Image index

Introduction / Overview


Pancreatic Islets

GI tract





Online slides of the endocrine system -- normal | pathology
These specimens at the Virtual Slidebox (University of Iowa Department of
Pathology) may be examined with full range of magnification and movement.
Requires Java and fast internet connection.
Link to LUMEN (Loyola University Medical Education Network), click on "Part 14: Endocrine Glands".
Link to Blue Histology. Click on "Notes", then "Endocrines".

Many of the body's cells secrete substances which influence other cells, either locally or at some distance.
Cells which are conspicuously specialized for this function are called endocrine cells. (The suffix -crine
refers to secretion; the prefix endo- tells us that the secretory product stays inside the body.) All
endocrine cells share certain characteristics.
Most obviously, endocrine cells are all specialized for secretion. Their specific appearance depends
on the nature of the secretory product and on the cellular machinery need to manufacture and store
that product.
Also, their secretory products are secreted into interstitial fluid from whence they can diffuse into
blood. Therefore, endocrine secretion does not involve ducts but requires close proximity to blood
vessels, usually either capillary networks or vascular sinusoids.
Endocrine cells are commonly arranged into cords or small clumps, with each cell closely associated
with adjacent vessels.
To faciliate diffusion of hormones into blood, vessels associated with endocrine glands have
fenestrated endothelium.
The various endocrine cells of the human body are organized in a few distinctive patterns.

file:///E|/New%20folder/histologi/articles/endocrin%202.htm[02/12/2010 0:04:32]

Examples include the epithelial enteroendocrine cells of the GI tract and the juxtaglomular cells (modified smooth muscle) of the renal cortex. Pituitary adenomas may be "benign" (i. GH. The appearance (as well as evolutionary origin) is that of an exocrine gland which has lost its outlet so that secretory product accumulates in the file:///E|/New%20folder/histologi/articles/endocrin%202. But because there is typically no lumenal surface for endocrine secretion. each with a large lumen surrounded by a simple cuboidal epithelium. where proper cuboidal epithelium does form follicles into whose lumens thyroglobulin is secreted for storage. (An exception is the thyroid. Secretion is from axon terminals. etc. regulated by factors secreted by hypothalamic neurons and delivered to the anterior pituitary by the hypophyseal portal vessels. anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis). not malignant) but can nevertheless cause significant problems either from excess hormone production or from mass effect (e. NERVOUS TISSUE. Ovarian granulosa and luteal cells defy easy classification but are probably best placed in this class as well. ACTH. Both neurohypophysis and pineal originate from the diencephalon and have organization typical of nervous tissue. Secretory cells (neurons) are supported by glial cells.g. Overview of Individual Endocrine Glands The pituitary gland (or hypophysis) consists of two distinct parts. TSH. Finally. parathyroid. The adrenal medulla is essentially a sympathetic ganglion originating from neural crest and innervated by preganglionic sympathetic axons. are represented by testicular Leydig cells and ovarian stromal cells. there is no apical/basal polarization of cytoplasm. with clumps of epithelial cells with varying staining properties. These secretory processes of the posterior pituitary secrete oxytocin and ADH. The posterior pituitary consists of secretory endings of axons from nerve cells (hence neurohypophysis) whose cell bodies are located in the hypothalamus.htm[02/12/2010 0:04:32] ..g. comprises the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis). Remnants of embryonic origin may occur in the form of displaced glandular tissue or ducts. For illustration. The epithelial nature of these cells is reflected in their organization into cords or clumps. adrenal cortex. derived from neuroectoderm or neural crest.SIU SOM Histology ERG EPITHELIAL TISSUE forms the parenchyma of thyroid. and liver. LH. Mesodermally derived endocrine cells. Cells of several species each secrete one of several hormones (e. with cells attached laterally to neighboring cells as in surface epithelium. these glands are all of ectodermal or endodermal origin. the anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis) and the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis). see WebPath. crowding the optic chiasm). with organizational pattern more like CONNECTIVE TISSUE. adrenal medulla. The thyroid consists of characteristic follicles.) With the exception of adrenal cortex (which is mesodermally derived). in turn. The adrenal medullary cells lack axons but are otherwise functionally similar to sympathetic axons.) Such secretion from this "master gland" regulates most other endocrine glands and is.. and pineal.e. especially with the adenohypophysis or the thyroid. INDIVIDUAL CELLS may have significant endocrine function.. The anterior pituitary appears glandular (hence adenohypophysis). pancreatic islets. FSH.

. For some examples of thyroid pathology. The cells are arranged into tangled cords.SIU SOM Histology ERG follicles. somatostatin. hyperthyroid). glucocorticoids (e. Follicular cells store thyroglobulin in the follicles for subsequent use in production and endocrine secretion of T3 (thyroxin) and T4. For images. The testis contains clusters of interstitial Leydig cells which secrete testosterone. 452-461.htm[02/12/2010 0:04:32] .. each organized into tangled curvilinear cords of chief cells. 469. The ovary includes steroid secreting cells of the theca interna and of the corpus luteum. these zones secrete mineral corticoids (e. neuron-like cells which secrete melatonin. These cells secrete parathyroid hormone. see WebPath (gross) and WebPath (microscopic). or Milikowski & Berman's Color Atlas of Basic Histopathology. The pineal consists of pinealocytes. cortisol). The parathyroid consists of several discrete glands. or Milikowski & Berman's Color Atlas of Basic Histopathology. It is mentioned here for completeness. For gross images of adrenal hyperplasia (e. glucagon. 466. Parafollicular cells (C cells) produce calcitonin. The cords are organized into poorly defined zones. or Milikowski & Berman's Color Atlas of Basic Histopathology. see WebPath (thyroiditis. see WebPath. p.g. p. The adrenal consists of two distinct parts. and pancreatic peptide. subsequent to Cushing's disease or ectopic ACTH production) and also adrenal atrophy. WebPath (Grave's disease. inflammation). see WebPath (diabetes I) and WebPath (diabetes II). The cortex consists of cords of steroid-secreting epithelial cells. The pancreatic islets are nests of endocrine cells scattered within the pancreas. From the outside inward. and WebPath (goiter). Each islet consists of several cell types which secrete insulin. Diabetes may result from immunological destruction of islet cells. Calcium accumulation in the pineal gland makes this structure a useful landmark in x-rays. (Histology of the pineal will not be evaluated. The medulla consists of cells similar to sympathetic neurons which secrete catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine). aldosterone). an outer cortex and an inner medulla. and androgenic steroids. which works in opposition to calcitonin (from thyroid C cells) to regulate blood calcium levels. separated by parallel sinusoids.g. For images of tumors leading to Cushing's disease.) file:///E|/New%20folder/histologi/articles/endocrin%202.. pp.g.

it is through the pineal that the soul controls the body.htm[02/12/2010 0:04:32] .SIU SOM Histology ERG According to Rene SIUC / School of Medicine / Anatomy / David King Last updated: 31 March 2004 / dgk file:///E|/New%20folder/histologi/articles/endocrin%202. Comments and questions: dgking@siu.