The Parathyroid Glands of Two Species of Dolphin—Risso's Dolphin,Grampus griseus,and Bottlenose Dolphin,Tursiops truncatus

College of Medical Sciences, Gifu University, 70-1 Kitano-machi, Gifu, 500-8807, Japan
General and Comparative Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 2.47). 04/1998; 110(1):58-66. DOI: 10.1006/gcen.1997.7050


Although there have been many reports regarding the structure of the parathyroid glands of various terrestrial mammals, little is known about the parathyroid glands of marine mammals including Cetacea. The morphology of the parathyroid glands of three Risso's dolphins,Grampus griseus(about 3 m in length and 300 kg in weight), and three bottlenose dolphins,Tursiops truncatus(about 3 m in length and 300 kg in weight), was examined macroscopically and microscopically. The dolphins examined in the present study had two or four parathyroid glands that varied in size and location on the thyroid gland. Each parathyroid gland was encapsulated by fibrous tissue on the dorsal surface of the thyroid gland, and was divided into several lobules by interlobular connective tissue which contained numerous capillaries. The parenchymal cells consisted of pale staining chief cells. Each cell was polygonal and about 15 μm in diameter, and had one round or oval nucleus. Oxyphil cells were not found. Considering their greater body size, the parathyroid glands were rather small. By electron microscopic observation, the parathyroid gland of the bottlenose dolphin had sparse granular endoplasmic reticulum, poorly developed Golgi complexes, and abundant secretory granules in the cytoplasm of the chief cells. These results support a possibility that the activity of the parathyroid gland is suppressed to adapt to a sea habitat.

3 Reads
  • Source
    • "St. Aubin et al. [54] found that wild female bottlenose dolphins had higher concentrations of total T 4 , free T 4 , and free T 3 than those in captive dolphins, which in addition to captivity could have been related to a seasonal effect observed in the wild. A few histological studies have also been conducted on normal and pathological conditions of the thyroid gland in bottlenose dolphins [6] [27]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Thyroid hormones (TH) are key regulators of metabolism and development, yet our understanding of the variability in serum TH concentrations in free-ranging marine mammals is limited. Thus, we examined the interrelationships between TH and age, sex, reproductive status, geographic location, and ocean temperatures in wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Circulating concentrations of TH (total thyroxine (tT(4)), free T(4) (fT(4)), and total triiodothyronine (tT(3))) were determined in a total of 195 dolphins; 80 from the coastal waters of Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) and 115 from the Indian River Lagoon, Florida (IRL). Age had the most influence on circulating TH concentrations in dolphins at both sites with decreasing concentrations (p<0.0001) observed with increasing age for all TH. No significant differences were found between males and non-reproductive females. Geographic location significantly influenced tT(4) and tT(3) concentrations; CHS dolphins had higher concentrations than IRL animals. These TH differences between CHS and IRL dolphins may be attributed to the colder year-round water temperature that CHS dolphins inhabit compared to IRL dolphins and could constitute an adaptive response to their colder environment. Results from this study highlight the importance of establishing reference values for dolphins in different geographic locations to support valid comparisons. This initial assessment provides a foundation of how biological and environmental variables could affect circulating TH in dolphins, which will help to elucidate the impacts of disease, pollution, and climate change on the thyroid hormone system of aquatic mammals.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · General and Comparative Endocrinology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To accumulate histological information of cetaceans and basic information about metabolic systems of marine mammals, the thyroid gland of Risso's dolphins was examined by gross anatomical and light and electron microscopic observations. Gross anatomically, right and left lobes of the thyroid were not clearly discriminated, and no isthmus was observed. By light microscopy, irregular or oval follicular lumens were seen, and surrounded by follicular epithelial cells. By electron microscopy, the rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER) was seen adjacently to mitochondria at the basal and lateral regions of the follicular epithelial cells. RERs at the basal side of the cells sometimes contained flocculent material with the same electron density as the follicular lumen component. Microvilli were poorly developed at the apical surface of the cells. In the apical regions of the cells, there were typical Golgi complexes, multivesicular bodies, and granules with various size and electron density. The parafollicular cells were recognized among the follicular epithelial cells and in the interstitial regions but never protruded into the follicular lumen. These cells were present singly and/or formed clusters among the follicular epithelial cells, and often located adjacent to capillaries. They were obviously discriminated from follicular epithelial cells by higher electron density of their granules. In their cytoplasm, well-developed rERs, primary lysosomes, secondary lysosomes, multivesicular bodies, and phagosomes were recognized.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2002 · Journal of Veterinary Medical Science
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The age of odontocetes living in the wild is determined mainly by analysis of dentine layers in sections of the teeth. We examined a series of specimens from striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba, Meyen, 1833) that had stranded along the Italian coast of the Mediterranean sea. The present study analyzes and describes bone density in the arm and forearm of the stranded specimens, and correlates the data with total body length of the animal and age as determined by the number of dentine layers in sections of the teeth. According to our model, age can be predicted on the basis of bone density and total body length of the stranded animal. This is the first study to use bone density as a biological parameter to understand the wear and tear of life in the sea. The results suggest that bone density is a new tool for recording age in wild odontocetes.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2002 · The Anatomical Record