- This study was undertaken to examine ultrastructural changes induced by dopamine in fish prolactin cells. Tilapia adenohypophyses were incubated with dopamine and evaluated by electron microscopy. The quantities of rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) in prolactin cells increased and the number of secretory granules were decreased by dopamine (10(-6) mol/l) treatment. Another set of adenohypophysial tissues was placed back into control medium for 10 min following a 3 h incubation period with dopamine (10(-6) mol/l) (RE10 min group). This group had significantly less RER than the 3 h dopamine-treated tissue, and the shape of many granules in the RE10 min group changed from spherical to rod-like. In addition, some of the granule content appeared to diffuse out of granules since some were not fully surrounded by membrane. It was therefore hypothesized that the rod-shaped granules might be the result of prolactin secretion by diffusion.