Folliculo-stellate cells: Paracrine communicators in the anterior pituitary
Morris J., Christian H.
Most research on the anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis) has concentrated on the endocrine cells characterized by their complement of cytoplasmic dense-cored vesicles containing the classic anterior pituitary hormones. However it has become increasingly clear over the last 20 years that cells first identified more than 50 years ago in the basis that they lack such dense-cored vesicles and now known generically as folliculo-stellate or follicular cells have important physiological functions and act as an adenohypophysis wide communication system. This brief review reveals the need for this communication system, what we know of the plethora of products secreted by Folliculo-Stellate cells, the many receptors to which they respond, and in particular, the role of these enigmatic cells in the physiology of the stress/immune axis, the gonadotroph cells and the pituitary vasculature. Finally we review the current evidence that cells in this category can act as stem cells in the adult pituitary. © Morris and Christia.