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The objective of this study was to determine the distribution of somatotrophs and lactotrophs and conduct a morphometrical analysis of immunoreactive somatotrophs and lactotrophs in the pituitary glands of White Leghorn Hens (Gallus domesticus) during the period of induced moult. We divided the periods of induced moulting into three phases viz. 7, 14 and 21 days. The labeled alkaline-phsphatase method with anti-GH (growth hormone) and anti-PRL (prolactin) as a primary antibody was used to detect somatotrophs and lactotrophs, in the midsagital sections of chicken adenohypophysis. Immunohistochemistry showed that somatotrophs are not only confined to the cephalo-caudal axis but can also be found in the caudal lobe; while lactotrophs were distributed in both lobes of the anterior pituitary gland at all stages of moulting (7, 14 and 21 days). Lactotrophs were of different shapes but somatotrophs were oval to round in morphology. At the given stages of induced moulting, some hypertrophied lactotrophs were also present after 7 days of induced moult in the anterior pituitary gland. However, there were moulting-related changes: from 7 to 21 days of induced moulting the immunoreactive-PRL cell population decreased, while the mean lactotroph size was more than that of somatotrophs. Basic quantitative and morphological information relating to somatotrophs and lactotrophs during the period of induced moult in laying hens is reported here and the changes brought about by induced moulting are restricted to PRL positive cells rather than GH positive cells.
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