Endocrine Abstracts (2009) 20 S8.1

Imaging pituitary cell networks and function

Patrice Mollard


Institute of Functional Genomics, Montpellier, France.


The pituitary gland generates highly ordered hormone pulses to control basic body functions such as growth, fertility, and lactation. Using an approach combining transgenic mice models with cell-specific fluorescent tags (GH-GFP, PRL-DsRed, POMC-GFP, LH-Cerulean…) and functional optical imaging (pituitary-scale 2-photon excitation microscopy, cellular in vivo imaging), we recently unveiled that most, if not all pituitary cell types are much more organized than we first thought from earlier histological studies on thin tissue sections. During the presentation, I will present examples of how i) the sexual dimorphism of the GH axis implicates the GH cell network efficacy, ii) both the developmental pituitary program and external inputs are required for the optimized cell network organization, iii) structural and functional network motifs can differ from one cell network to another (GH cell network versus PRL cell network), and iv) the organisational relationship between parenchymal cell networks and the blood flow circuitry is important for generating hormone pulses.

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