Xenopus laevis : the pituitary gland

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

The pituitary gland is a small suspension part of the brain. Within it are two lobes, the anterior and the posterior lobes. Within these two lobes are five (5) different types of cells:-

  • Chromophil
  •  Acidophil
  • Basophil
  •  Chromophobe
  • Glial

I am one of these cells. I am important for the development for the oocyte. I am a Basophil of the pituitary gland and I secrete hormones into the blood stream to promote the body’s reproduction organs to start and maintain the reproductive cells, it which they create. Yes, the pituitary gland is found in both males and females. One thing that you should note, my other cell conterparts are responsible for many other hormones that pertain to different functions and services of the body. However, my duties are solely to that of reproduction.

  1. Long Distance Communication (Endocrine)
    Endocrine signalling involves the transfer of information from one cell to another, where an endocrine hormone is transported from the signal-producing cell to the receiving cell through the circulatory system. This can be achieved via the blood plasma, lymph or cerebrospinal fluid since the signal producing cells and the signal receiving cells are distant to each other, therefore communication over long distance.

    This process occurs, for example, between the basophil cell of pituitary gland and the oocyte cell of the reproductive system. Generally, hormones are chemicals that are released into the blood stream to perform a specific function with respect to its target cell. Basically, they function in facilitating the regulation of body functions by either stimulating or inhibiting other cells. The ovaries are just one of the many organs in the body regulated by hormones. Initially, a follicle grows within one of the ovaries; a follicle consists of the developing egg cell and the support cells that surround, providing the required nourishment. As this occurs, a small structure in the brain, the pituitary gland (specifically the basophil cell) releases hormones, mostly FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which induces the follicles to begin growth.

    The dominant follicle releases a hormone, estrogen which prepares the lining of the uterus for the egg. As this occurs, the estrogen in the blood stream enables the brain to release a surge of LH (luteinizing hormone) which results in the rapid enlargement of the follicle. Approximately 24 to 36 hours after the increased LH exposure, the follicle disintegrates and thus releases the egg cell (ovulation).

    Therefore it is extremely important, in terms of development of the follicle, that endocrine signalling occurs. This establishes the maturation of the follicle.

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