Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 372, Issue 1, pp 77–90 | Cite as

SOX10-positive cells emerge in the rat pituitary gland during late embryogenesis and start to express S100β

  • Hiroki Ueharu
  • Saishu Yoshida
  • Naoko Kanno
  • Kotaro Horiguchi
  • Naoto Nishimura
  • Takako Kato
  • Yukio Kato
Regular Article


In the pituitary gland, S100β-positive cells localize in the neurohypophysis and adenohypophysis but the lineage of the two groups remains obscure. S100β is often observed in many neural crest-derived cell types. Therefore, in this study, we investigate the origin of pituitary S100β-positive cells by immunohistochemistry for SOX10, a potent neural crest cell marker, using S100β-green fluorescence protein-transgenic rats. On embryonic day 21.5, a SOX10-positive cell population, which was also positive for the stem/progenitor cell marker SOX2, emerged in the pituitary stalk and posterior lobe and subsequently expanded to create a rostral-caudal gradient on postnatal day 3 (P3). Thereafter, SOX10-positive cells appeared in the intermediate lobe by P15, localizing to the boundary facing the posterior lobe, the gap between the lobule structures and the marginal cell layer, a pituitary stem/progenitor cell niche. Subsequently, there was an increase in SOX10/S100β double-positive cells; some of these cells in the gap between the lobule structures showed extended cytoplasm containing F-actin, indicating a feature of migration activity. The proportion of SOX10-positive cells in the postnatal anterior lobe was lower than 0.025% but about half of them co-localized with the pituitary-specific progenitor cell marker PROP1. Collectively, the present study identified that one of the lineages of S100β-positive cells is a SOX10-positive one and that SOX10-positive cells express pituitary stem/progenitor cell marker genes.


SOX10 Neural crest cells Pituitary stem/progenitor PROP1 S100β 



The authors wish to thank Dr. A.F. Parlow and the National Hormone and Pituitary Program for the antibodies against rat ACTH.


This work was partially supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Nos. 21,380,184 to YK and 24,580,435 to TK, by MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities and by a research grant (A) to YK from the Institute of Science and Technology, Meiji University. This study was also supported by Meiji University International Institute for BioResource Research (MUIIR).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroki Ueharu
    • 1
  • Saishu Yoshida
    • 2
  • Naoko Kanno
    • 1
  • Kotaro Horiguchi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Naoto Nishimura
    • 1
  • Takako Kato
    • 2
  • Yukio Kato
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Life Science, Graduate School of AgricultureMeiji UniversityKawasakiJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Reproduction and EndocrinologyMeiji UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Faculty of Health SciencesKyorin UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Life Science, School of AgricultureMeiji UniversityKawasakiJapan

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