Investigating and modelling pituitary endocrine network function
Hodson DJ., Molino F., Fontanaud P., Bonnefont X., Mollard P.
Endocrine cells in the mammalian pituitary are arranged into three-dimensional homotypic networks that wire the gland and act to optimise hormone output by allowing the transmission of information between cell ensembles in a temporally precise manner. Despite this, the structure-function relationships that allow cells belonging to these networks to display coordinated activity remain relatively uncharacterised. This review discusses the recent technological advances that have allowed endocrine cell network structure and function to be probed and the mathematical models that can be used to analyse and present the resulting data. In particular, we focus on the mechanisms that allow endocrine cells to dynamically function as a population to drive hormone release as well as the experimental and theoretical methods that are used to track and model information flow through the network.