Stellate Cell Networks in the Teleost Pituitary

Matan Golan, Lian Hollander-Cohen, Berta Levavi-Sivan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number24426
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 18 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. Yael Friedmann from the imaging department at the Givat Ram Campus of the Hebrew University for performing tissue preparation and imaging for the ultrastructure study. The research was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) nos. 1350/06 and 237/12.


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