OBJECTIVE: The study was performed to analyze structural changes of the turkey pineal during the post-hatching development.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The pineals were collected from male turkeys at the age of 1 day, 2, 8, 22, 56 weeks and subjected to histological investigations including morphometrical analyses. The pinealocytes were identified immunohistochemically using antiserum against hydroxyinolo-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT).
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Independently of age, the pineal consisted of a narrow proximal part and a club-shaped top. The narrow part extended into the stalk attached to the diencephalon. The pineal parenchyma was formed by the follicles, surrounded by the connective tissue. The caudal part of the organ contained the pineal lumen, which prolonged into the stalk lumen. Up to the age of two weeks the stalk lumen was open to the third ventricle, later--closed. The proximal part of the stalk showed age-dependent reduction. During the investigated period of life, the pineal increased in size due to creation of new follicles, enlargement of the follicles and development of the stroma. In immature turkeys, the follicular wall was formed by elongated cells bordering the lumen and sparse, peripherally localized, round cells. This pseudostratified organization was transformed during ontogenesis into thick, multilayer structure (characteristic for 22- and 56-week-old turkeys) composed by the layer of elongated cells and several layers of round cells, located peripherally. The rudimentary-receptor and secretory pinealocytes were demonstrated based on HIOMT-immunoreactivity. The secretory pinealocytes were sparse in young birds and predominated in mature turkeys. Intra-pineal calcified concrements occurred in 56-week-old turkeys.