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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Stellate Cell Networks in the Teleost Pituitary


Golan, M. ; Hollander-Cohen, L. ; Levavi-Sivan, B. Stellate Cell Networks in the Teleost Pituitary. 2016, 6 24426.

Date Published:



The folliculostellate cells of the mammalian pituitary are non-endocrine cells that are implicated in long-distance communication and paracrine signaling, but to date, these cells have yet to be characterized in teleosts. We found that the stellate cells of the teleost pituitary share many common attributes with mammalian folliculostellate cells. By labeling of stellate cells in live preparations of tilapia pituitaries we investigated their distribution, association with other endocrine cells and their anatomical and functional coupling. In the pars intermedia, stellate cells were arranged around neuronal bundles and their processes extended into the pars distalis. Within the pars distalis, stellate cells formed close associations with FSH cells and, to a lesser degree, with GH and LH cells, suggesting differential paracrine regulation of the two gonadotrope populations. The production of follistatin by stellate cells further corroborates the notion of a paracrine role on FSH release. We also found stellate cells to form gap junctions that enabled dye transfer to neighboring stellate cells, implicating that these cells form a large-scale network that connects distant parts of the pituitary. Our findings represent the first wide-scale study of stellate cells in teleosts and provide valuable information regarding their functional roles in pituitary function.