The anterior pituitary is an endocrine gland that controls basic body functions. Pituitary cell functioning depends on membrane excitability, which induces cytosolic calcium rises. Here, we reported the first identification of small-amplitude voltage fluctuations that controlled spike firing in endocrine cells recorded in situ. Three patterns of voltage fluctuations were distinguishable by their durations (1-100 s). These patterns could be ordered on top of each other, namely in response to secretagogues. Thus, pituitary endocrine cells express in situ a cell code in which small-amplitude voltage fluctuations lead to a multimodal arrangement of spike firing, which may finely tune calcium-dependent functions.

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F E B S Letters
Department of Molecular Genetics

Bonnefont, X, & Mollard, P. (2003). Electrical activity in endocrine pituitary cells in situ: A support for a multiple-function coding. F E B S Letters, 548(1-3), 49–52. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(03)00727-0