The relative rates of protein (hormone) synthesis and secretion by the various cell types in the anterior hypophysis of the rat have been studied by means of autoradiography. Normal and adrenalectomized male rats were injected with tritiated glycine and their hypophyses removed and fixed at 20, 40, and 90 minutes and 15 hours after injection. Autoradiograms of the hypophysial sections were prepared and autoradiographic grains were counted in the film overlying the cytoplasm of individual cells. With the aid of this method, a unique cell type was identified in the hypophyses of adrenalectomized rats. This cell is morphologically distinct from "gonadectomy cells," "thyroidectomy cells," and from previously described normal cell types, and is therefore designated as the "adrenalectomy cell." Among the 7 cell types differentiated in this study, the "adrenalectomy cell" had the highest tritium content and, in addition, at the time intervals studied this cell had the fastest rate of appearance and disappearance of protein tritium. This autoradiographic evidence of rapid protein (or polypeptide) turnover following adrenalectomy indicates that the "adrenalectomy cell" is the site of adrenocorticotrophin production in the adrenalectomized rat. Further autoradiographic and cytological evidence is presented which suggests that the "adrenalectomy cells" may be derived from chromophobes, and that a portion of the "large chromophobes" as defined in this study may be the site of adrenocorticotrophin production in the normal rat.

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