Development and Heterogeneity of Prolactin Cells

Sumio Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Prolactin (PRL) is synthesized in pituitary cells called mammotrophs (PRL cells).Ample evidence demonstrates that the PRL cell population consists of structurally and functionally heterogeneous PRL cells. Multiple variants of PRL molecules are found in various species. Prolactin cells may be divided into various subtypes in the rat and mouse. Secretory activities differ among the PRL cell population. These heterogeneities may reflect various phases of the maturation process of PRL cells, or the integrated outcome of various functional differences in PRL cells. To clarify the significance of heterogeneities among PRL cells, we present updated reports on the differentiation, proliferation, and development of PRL cells, and discuss factors responsible for the functional differences in PRL cell population. The age-related alteration in PRL secretion in the rat is summarized, because it is one of the most important aspects of the developmental changes in PRL cells. A mammosoma-totroph, which secretes growth hormone and PRL, is found in various species. Prolactin cells and somatotrophs are derived from the same lineage. The possible relationship among PRL cells, somatotrophs, and mammosomatotrophs is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-98
Number of pages66
JournalInternational Review of Cytology
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Key Words:
  • Mammotroph
  • Pituitary
  • Prolactin
  • Prolactin cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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