Single-Cell Molecular and Cellular Architecture of the Mouse Neurohypophysis

Qiyu Chen, Dena Leshkowitz, Janna Blechman, Gil Levkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neurohypophysis (NH), located at the posterior lobe of the pituitary, is a major neuroendocrine tissue, which mediates osmotic balance, blood pressure, reproduction, and lactation by means of releasing the neurohormones oxytocin (OXT) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) from the brain into the peripheral blood circulation. The major cellular components of the NH are hypothalamic axonal termini, fenestrated endothelia and pituicytes, the resident astroglia. However, despite the physiological importance of the NH, the exact molecular signature defining neurohypophyseal cell types and in particular the pituicytes, remains unclear. Using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq), we captured seven distinct cell types in the NH and intermediate lobe (IL) of adult male mouse. We revealed novel pituicyte markers showing higher specificity than previously reported. Bioinformatics analysis demonstrated that pituicyte is an astrocytic cell type whose transcriptome resembles that of tanycyte. Single molecule in situ hybridization revealed spatial organization of the major cell types implying intercellular communications. We present a comprehensive molecular and cellular characterization of neurohypophyseal cell types serving as a valuable resource for further functional research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberENEURO.0345-19.2019
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Jan 2020


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