Thin-section and freeze-fracture studies on the rat ovarian interstitial cells revealed reductions in the size and the number of gap junctions after pituitary ablation. Small gap junctions, however, persist as long as 90 days after hypophysectomy even though regressive cytoplasmic changes are completed 75 d earlier. Administration of exogenous human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) results in the restoration of the normal interstitial cell morphology which is accompanied by amplification of junctional membrane. Within 24 h of hormone application, gap junction growth is characterized by the appearance of formation plaques. These studies suggest that the effect of hormone on interstitial cell gap junctions is to modulate the junctional surface area.

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