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Abstract

Vascular casts of the pituitary-median eminence complex from seventeen adult female rabbits were examined with the scanning electron microscope. The results of this study confirm the presence of a single capillary bed common to the entire neurohypophysis. Arterial supply to the rabbit pituitary is only to the neurohypophysis. A direct supply to adenohypophysis was not found.

Within the median eminence there are an external and internal capillary plexus. The internal capillary plexus is directed toward the infundibular recess of the third ventricle. It does not receive a direct arterial supply but derives its blood supply from the external plexus before draining to the adenohypophysis.

Vessels of the posterior median eminence are confluent with vessels of the infundibular stem.

On the basis of these studies, it is proposed that the entire neurohypophysis, not simply the median eminence, serves as the final common pathway to the glandular pituitary. It is also proposed that in the median eminence, vessels are organized to deliver blood containing hypothalamic releasing and inhibiting hormones as well as posterior lobe neural hormones (antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin) to the ventricular surface for subsequent transport to cerebrospinal fluid and distribution to the brain.