noun, plural: lactotrophs
An acidophilic cell in the anterior pituitary that releases prolactin
The pituitary gland is the master endocrine gland of the endocrine system. It is responsible for the production and the release of different hormones that regulate various physiological processes. The pituitary gland is comprised of the anterior and the posterior pituitaries bordered by pars intermedia. The anterior pituitary is the glandular portion and release hormones that regulate growth, reproduction, lactation, and stress. There are about five types of hormone-secreting cells in the anterior pituitary classified based on the hormones that they produce and secrete: (1) somatotrophs, (2) corticotrophs, (3) thyrotrophs, (4) gonadotrophs, and (5) lactotrophs.
Lactotrophs are the cells in the anterior pituitary. They are acidophilic when stained with hematoxylin and eosin. They produce and release prolactin (PRL) in response to hormone, e.g. thyrotropin-releasing hormone. The hormone dopamine causes inhibition of PRL secretion. Oxytocin, estrogen, and progesterone also have influence on PRL levels. Prolactin is a lactogenic hormone. In females, PRL stimulates the growth of the mammary glands and lactation after parturition.
Prolactinoma, an adenoma of the pituitary gland, is comprised of lactotrophs. This benign tumor secretes PRL. Excessive PRL in the bloodstream is referred to as hyperprolactinemia.
- lactotropic cell
- prolactin cell