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Pituitary multi-hormone cells in mammals and fish: history, origin, and roles

New review article published

This month we published a new review article in the journal Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology (from Elsevier, Impact Factor 9,6). This review is entitled “Pituitary multi-hormone cells in mammals and fish: history, origin, and roles“.


The vertebrate pituitary is a dynamic organ, capable of adapting its hormone secretion to different physiological demands. In this context, endocrinologists have debated for the past 40 years if endocrine cells are mono- or multi-hormonal. Since its establishment, the dominant “one cell, one hormone” model has been continuously challenged. In mammals, the use of advanced multi-staining approaches, sensitive gene expression techniques, and the analysis of tumor tissues have helped to quickly demonstrate the existence of pituitary multi-hormone cells. In fishes however, only recent advances in imaging and transcriptomics have enabled the identification of such cells. In this review, we first describe the history of the discovery of cells producing multiple hormones in mammals and fishes. We discuss the technical limitations that have led to uncertainties and debates. Then, we present the current knowledge and hypotheses regarding their origin and biological role, which provides a comprehensive review of pituitary plasticity.

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