Stem cells in the pituitary gland: A burgeoning field

General and Comparative Endocrinology
Hugo Vankelecom, Lies Gremeaux

Abstract

The pituitary gland represents the endocrine core of the organism, and is well-known for its cellular plasticity in order to meet the body's fluctuating hormonal demands. In the past, it has repeatedly been postulated that the pituitary harbors tissue-specific stem cells that participate in the generation of new endocrine cells during this dynamic cell remodeling, as well as during the slow but robust homeostatic turnover of the gland. However, their presence and identity remained elusive until this conundrum recently attracted renewed interest. Our discovery of a 'side population' using flow cytometry was the first step towards a more convincing candidate stem/progenitor cell population in the endocrine anterior pituitary. Since then, several other groups have endeavored to search for pituitary stem/progenitor cells, which finally culminated in the identification of very strong candidates. Multiple markers were put forward, among which the pluripotency transcription factor Sox2 occupies center stage. Now that very plausible pituitary stem/progenitor cells can be isolated and assayed, detailed characterization of their involvement in pituitary cell remodeling during basal renewal, dynamic adaptation and potential response to in...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Pituitary Stalk
Colony-forming Unit
Signal Transduction
SOXB1 Transcription Factors
Biological Markers
Flow Cytometry
Pituitary Gland
Research
Stem Cells
Transcription Factor

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