As a model for cellular growth and stimulation without accompanying proliferation, we have examined the induction and formation of nuclear bodies (NBs) in hepatocytes of estrogen-treated roosters. Four-week-old roosters were injected with a single intramuscular dose of estradiol and then killed at time points of 8 h, 48 h, and 4 wk post-injection. For immunofluorescence analyses, livers were excised and isolated hepatocyte nuclei were fixed and then labeled with antibody to the coiled body-specific protein, p80-coilin. In control animals (no estradiol) or in animals 8 h post-injection, each hepatocyte nucleus contained an average of 1.0 coiled body (CB), which appeared randomly distributed in the nucleoplasm. At 48 h post-injection, there were an average of 2.7 CBs/nucleus and many of these appeared to be in contact with the nucleolus. Pairs of CBs were also observed. By 4 wk post-injection an average of 1.5 CBs/nucleus were detected, with no apparent relationship to the nucleolus observed. By serial-section electron microscopy of intact livers, two different types of round NBs were observed, sometimes in close proximity to each other and to the expanded interchromatin granule region in maximally stimulated cells. One type of NB was a classical CB that averaged 0.35 microns in diameter and the other NB type was ring shaped, averaged 0.25 microns in diameter, was composed of a fibrous shell surrounding a hollow interior, and appeared as a simple NB when sectioned tangentially through its outer shell. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that CBs were the only class of NBs that contained p80-coilin. From these data, we conclude that CBs proliferate in response to estrogen stimulation, possibly arising from the nucleolar surface and then increasing in number by replicative division.