Influence of estrogens on GH-cell network dynamics in females: a live in situ imaging approach

Marie Schaeffer, David J Hodson, Anne-Cécile Meunier, Chrystel Lafont, Jérôme Birkenstock, Danielle Carmignac, Joanne F Murray, Elodie Gavois, Iain C Robinson, Paul Le Tissier, Patrice Mollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The secretion of endocrine hormones from pituitary cells finely regulates a multitude of homeostatic processes. To dynamically adapt to changing physiological status and environmental stimuli, the pituitary gland must undergo marked structural and functional plasticity. Endocrine cell plasticity is thought to primarily rely on variations in cell proliferation and size. However, cell motility, a process commonly observed in a variety of tissues during development, may represent an additional mechanism to promote plasticity within the adult pituitary gland. To investigate this, we used multiphoton time-lapse imaging methods, GH-enhanced green fluorescent protein transgenic mice and sexual dimorphism of the GH axis as a model of divergent tissue demand. Using these methods to acutely (12 h) track cell dynamics, we report that ovariectomy induces a dramatic and dynamic increase in cell motility, which is associated with gross GH-cell network remodeling. These changes can be prevented by estradiol supplementation and are associated with enhanced network connectivity as evidenced by increased coordinated GH-cell activity during multicellular calcium recordings. Furthermore, cell motility appears to be sex-specific, because reciprocal alterations are not detected in males after castration. Therefore, GH-cell motility appears to play an important role in the structural and functional pituitary plasticity, which is evoked in response to changing estradiol concentrations in the female.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4789-99
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Estrogens
  • Female
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Growth Hormone
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pituitary Gland
  • Sex Factors
  • Time-Lapse Imaging


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