What is it about?

The pituitary gland is central for controlling many basic functions of our body, such as growth, reproduction and stress. In this article we analysed the response of corticotrophs, one of the cell types in the pituitary gland that are important for the control of stress responses. We found that the responses of corticotrophs to the chemical stimuli from both the brain and the adrenal gland that regulate them, are different between different cells. However, if the same cell is challenged multiple times it responds in a reproducible manner. We explore several aspects of this heterogeneity, which may be important ti enhance the range of responses to different stressors.

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Why is it important?

We show several types of regulation in the corticotroph population. Corticotrophs respond to physiological stimuli in both a "digital" and an "analogue" way; increasing the stimulus intensity increased the intensity of the responses in each cell (analogue signalling) but also increased the proportion of cells in the population that responded (digital signalling). Further exploring these matters will be important to fully understand how stress responses are encoded by the pituitary gland.

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This page is a summary of: Heterogeneity of Calcium Responses to Secretagogues in Corticotrophs From Male Rats, Endocrinology, March 2017, Endocrine Society, DOI: 10.1210/en.2017-00107.
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