A detailed description is given of a surgical technique for selectively removing the pituitary anlage from the intrauterine fetal rat as an alternative to the more generally applied fetal hypophysectomy by decapitation. Fetuses on the 17th day of gestation were approached through a narrow opening in the uterine wall and fetal membranes. The pituitary gland was sucked out with a fine glass tube introduced from the side of the head into the space between the pons and the ventral hypothalamus, where the gland is situated. The female rat was sacrificed on the 22nd day of gestation (the day before delivery) and the surviving fetuses were preserved. On average, 20% of the operated fetuses survived until that day, 20% of which were completely hypophysectomized (microscopical examination). Operated fetuses with intact pituitaries served as surgical controls for the evaluation of selected effects of the total hypophysectomy. Initial comparisons were made with published results based on hypophysectomy by decapitation, evaluated without access to surgical controls. The two methods of fetal pituitary removal provide consistent results as regards the weight increase of adrenal and thyroid glands (retardation), thymus gland (stimulation) and testicles (no effect). On the other hand, body weight increase was not affected by selective hypophysectomy but instead slowed down after decapitation, whereas the growth in length of the humerus bone was stimulated and retarded, respectively.

Bearn, J.B. (1961) Hormonal control of the development of the thymus in the foetal rabbit. Nature 192: 875–876.
Bearn, J.B. (1966) Influence of the pituitary-adrenal axis on development of the rat foetal thymus. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 122: 273–275.
Betz, T.W. (1975) A method for partial decapitation of chicken embryos: Its limitations as substitute for adenohypophysectomy – An evaluation of ‘equivalent’ methods in amniotes. Acta Endocrinol 198(suppl): 1–28.
Bonnier, G., T. Tedin (1940) Biologisk Variationsanalys. Stockholm, Bonniers.
Christianson, M., I. Chester Jones (1957) The interrelationships of adrenal glands of mother and foetus in the rat. J Endocrinol 15: 17–42.
Collin, B. (1974) Hypophysectomie foetal et minéralisation des os longs chez le rat albinos (Mus norvegicus albinus). Ann Méd Vét 118: 211–220.
Domm, L.V., P. Leroy (1955) A method for fetal hypophysectomy by decapitation in the rat. Anat Rec 123: 183–191.
Eguchi, Y. (1960) A method of decapitation of the fetal mouse (in Japanese, summary in English). Dobuksugaku Zasshi 69: 250–254.
Enemar, A. (1984) Fetal hypophysectomy in the rat: Results of microsurgical trials in utero. Vidensk Meddr Dansk Naturh Foren 145: 163–172.
Enemar, A., B. Lewkowicz, M. Mussawir, A. Smålander (1989) Survival and weight increase in the fetal rat after selective hypophysectomy in utero. Acta Anat 134: 89–93.
Fowler, J.A., L. Cohen (1990) Practical Statistics for Field Biology. Chichester, Wiley.
Glydon, R.S.J. (1957) The development of the blood supply of the pituitary in the albino rat, with special regard to the portal vessels. J Anat 91: 237–244.
Heggestad, C.B., L.J. Wells (1965) Experiments on the contribution of somatotropin to prenatal growth in the rat. Acta Anat 60: 348–361.
Jost, A. (1947) Expériences de décapitation de l’embryon de lapin. C R Acad Sci 225: 322–324.
Jost, A. (1951) Recherches sur la différenciation sexuelle de l’embryon de lapin. Arch Anat Microsc Morphol Exp 40: 247–281.
Jost, A. (1954) Hormonal factors in the development of the fetus. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 19: 167–180.
Jost, A. (1957) Action du propylthiouracile sur la thyroïde de foetus de rat intacts ou décapités. C R Soc Biol 151: 1295–1298.
Jost, A., A. Cohen (1966) Signification de l’‘atrophie’ des surrénales foetales du rat provoquée par l’hypophysectomie (decapitation). Dev Biol 14: 154–168.
Jost, A., R.A. Colonge (1949) Greffe de testicule foetal du rat sur l’adulte castré et hypophysectomisé. Remarques sur la physiologie du testicule foetal de rat. C R Soc Biol 143: 140–142.
Jost, A., L. Picon (1970) Hormonal control of fetal development and metabolism; in Levine, R., R. Luft (eds): Advances of Metabolic Disorders. New York, Academic Press, vol 4, pp 123–184.
Liggins, G.C., P.C. Kennedy (1968) Effects of electrocoagulation of the foetal lamb hypophysis on growth and development. J Endocrinol 40:371–381.
Naik, D.R., S. Das, L. Patnaik, H. Samantaray (1997) A novel and simple technique for ectopic transplantation of the pituitary gland. Gen Comp Endocrinol 107: 304–310.
Noumura, T. (1959) Development of the hypophyseal-adrenocortical system in the rat embryo in relation to the maternal system. Jpn J Zool 12:179–199.
Ostergard, D.R., A.N. Contopoulos (1970) A technique for selective fetal hypophysectomy in utero. Am J Obstet Gynecol 108: 322–323.
Picon, R., J. Ottowicz (1967) Recherches histochimiques sur le testicule du foetus de rat, normal ou décapité. Arch Anat Microscp Morph Exp 56: 1–10.
Sethre, A.E. (1950) A study of the effects of thyrotrophin, thiouracil and surgical hypophyseoprivia upon the thyroid of the fetal rat. Anat Rec 106: 288.
Swaab, D.F., W.J. Honnebier (1973) The influence of removal of the fetal rat brain upon intrauterine growth of the fetus and the placenta and on gestation length. J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw 80: 589–597.
Szábo, K., K. Csányi (1982) The vascular architecture of the developing pituitary-median eminence complex in the rat. Cell Tissue Res 224:563–577.
Wells, L.J. (1947) Progress of studies designed to determine whether the fetal hypophysis produces hormones that influence development. Anat Rec 97: 409.
Wells, L.J. (1948) Some experimental evidence of production of adrenotrophin by the fetal hypophysis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 68: 487–488.
Wells, L.J. (1950) Subjection of fetal rats to surgery and repeated subcutaneous injections: Method and survival. Anat Rec 108: 309–332.
Wolff, B. (1919) Experimentelle Untersuchungen über die Entstehung extrauteriner Schwangerschaften und über die Möglichkeit operativer Eingriffe beim lebenden Säugetierfetus. Beitr Pathol Anat Allg Pathol 65: 423–486.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.