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Vet J. 2012 Jun;192(3):476-82. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.06.030. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

Identification and characterisation of side population cells in the canine pituitary gland.

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Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.154, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.


To date, stem/progenitor cells have not been identified in the canine pituitary gland. Cells that efficiently exclude the vital dye Hoechst 33342 can be visualised and identified using fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) as a 'side population' (SP), distinct from the main population (MP). Such SPs have been identified in several tissues and display stem/progenitor cell characteristics. In this study, a small SP (1.3%, n=6) was detected in the anterior pituitary glands of healthy dogs. Quantitative PCR indicated significantly higher expression of CD34 and Thy1 in this SP, but no differences in the expression of CD133, Bmi-1, Axin2 or Shh. Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and Lhx3 expression were significantly higher in the MP than in the SP, but no differences in the expression of Tpit, GH or PRL were found. The study demonstrated the existence of an SP of cells in the normal canine pituitary gland, encompassing cells with stem cell characteristics and without POMC expression.

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