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Endocr Rev. 2002 Aug;23(4):431-42.

Molecular basis of combined pituitary hormone deficiencies.

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Division of Endocrinology, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Pituitary gland commitment from oral ectoderm occurs in response to inductive signals from the neuroepithelium of the ventral diencephalon. Invagination of the oral ectoderm leads to the creation of Rathke's pouch. Intensified cell proliferation within Rathke's pouch results in formation of the anterior pituitary lobe. Subsequently, highly differentiated cell types arise sequentially due to overlapping, but distinct, spatial and temporal patterns of signaling molecules and transcription factors. Mutations in some of the pituitary-specific transcription factors have been identified in patients with hypopituitarism, confirming the role of these factors in pituitary development.

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