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Gen Comp Endocrinol May 1, 2013; 185 10-8.
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Angiogenesis in the intermediate lobe of the pituitary gland alters its structure and function.

Tanaka S , Nakakura T , Jansen EJ , Unno K , Okada R , Suzuki M , Martens GJ , Kikuyama S .

The pars distalis (PD) and the pars intermedia (PI) have the same embryonic origin, but their morphological and functional characteristics diverge during development. The PD is highly vascularized, whereas the highly innervated PI is essentially non-vascularized. Based on our previous finding that vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is involved in vascularization of the rat PD, attempt was made to generate transgenic Xenopus expressing VEGF-A specifically in the melanotrope cells of the PI as a model system for studying the significance of vascularization or avascularization for the functional differentiation of the pituitary. The PI of the transgenic frogs, examined after metamorphosis, were distinctly vascularized but poorly innervated. The experimentally induced vascularization in the PI resulted in a marked increase in tissue volume and a decrease in the expression of both alpha-melanophore-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and prohormone convertase 2, a cleavage enzyme essential for generating α-MSH. The transgenic animals had low plasma α-MSH concentrations and displayed incomplete adaptation to a black background. To our knowledge, this is the first report indicating that experimentally induced angiogenesis in the PI may bring about functional as well as structural alterations in this tissue.

PubMed ID: 23376532
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: pkd2 pomc th vegfa

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