The Metrial Gland in the Rat and Its Similarities to Granular Cell Tumors

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Abstract

Metrial glands are normal structures located in the mesometrial triangle of the pregnant rat uterus from gestational day (GD) 8 through termination of pregnancy. Metrial glands are composed of a dynamic mixed cell population of granulated metrial gland (GMG) cells, endometrial stromal cells, trophoblasts, blood vessels, and fibroblasts. Collections of similar cells may be seen in association with pseudopregnancy and other hormonal disturbances. Granulated metrial gland cells are the hallmark cell of the metrial gland. They are bone-marrow-derived, perforin-positive, natural killer cells that proliferate in the pregnant uterus. Understanding the normal histogenesis of the metrial gland and recognizing the possible existence of GMG cells and a reactive metrial gland in the nonpregnant state are important when examining any uterine lesion that contains granulated cells. This report demonstrates that the cellular composition, morphology, and immunohistochemical staining profile of normal metrial glands are similar to reported granular cell neoplasms in rats and mice. The possibility of a non-neoplastic lesion involving the metrial gland should be considered when proliferative lesions involving granulated cells are observed in the uterus of mice and rats from nonclinical toxicity studies. Positive immunohistochemical staining for perforin and S100 would assist in the classification of such lesions as a reactive metrial gland or decidual reaction.

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