Together with Finn-Arne Weltzien and Karine Rizzoti, we are co-editing a Frontiers Research Topic on ‘Plasticity in the vertebrate pituitary, including regulatory mechanisms‘.
In all vertebrates, the pituitary is involved in the control of many important and complex processes such as reproduction, metamorphosis, growth, metabolism, stress response, and color change. Located below the hypothalamus, the pituitary is divided into two main parts: the neurohypophysis (pars nervosa) and the adenohypophysis (pars distalis and pars intermedia). The latter is composed of up to 8 different hormone-producing cell types and subjected to high plasticity. Pituitary plasticity is an important process allowing this organ to adapt its hormone production to the current demand along the life cycle of the animal. Research questions such as When in the life cycle does this plasticity play a role? What are the mechanisms allowing it? How are these mechanisms regulated? have been investigated for a long time but more intensely during the last decade due to the development of more powerful methodological tools.