The pulsatile secretion of hormones from the mammalian pituitary gland drives a wide range of homeostatic responses by dynamically altering the functional set-point of effector tissues. To accomplish this, endocrine cell populations residing within the intact pituitary display large-scale changes in coordinated calcium-spiking activity in response to various hypothalamic and peripheral inputs. Although the pituitary gland is structurally compartmentalized into specific and intermingled endocrine cell networks, providing a clear morphological basis for such coordinated activity, the mechanisms which facilitate the timely propagation of information between cells in situ remain largely unexplored. Therefore, the aim of the current review is to highlight the range of signalling modalities known to be employed by endocrine cells to coordinate intracellular calcium rises, and discuss how these mechanisms are integrated at the population level to orchestrate cell function and tissue output.
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