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The pituitary gland is considered the master endocrine organ since it receives signals from the central nervous system and peripheral endocrine organs and integrates them into an appropriate response via the production and release of its own hormones.
The pituitary gland has three different lobes, the anterior, intermediate and posterior with different embryological origins. Classically, the anterior lobe is described as producing six hormones and the posterior as producing two. The intermediate lobe is relatively small and its physiological significance in mammals is still controversial. Hormones from the anterior lobe control growth, reproduction, metabolism and stress responses, while those of the posterior control blood pressure, kidney function, lactation and human bonding.
While the larger program is open to contributions on the physiological and pathophysiological regulation of the production of, and response to, all pituitary hormones, the main sessions will focus on specific themes: The first is development of the anterior pituitary and the connection between normal development and the production of pituitary tumors. These tumors are rarely metastatic, but nevertheless are clinically very important. Random autopsy samples have estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people have a pituitary tumor. In some instances, tumors lead to severe symptoms, while in other instances there are more subtle, but debilitating, effects on a person’s endocrinology that are more difficult to diagnose. With the most common pituitary tumors comes excess production of growth hormone and prolactin, one sequela of which can be promotion of tumors of the breast and prostate, the subject will be addressed. A theme highlights an important area where relatively subtle malfunction of the pituitary can have a major impact; reproduction. Some of this impact is through intra-pituitary, cell to cell paracrine functions of the local hormones, which is an aspect of regulation that we are only just beginning to understand. It is addressed that the production and response to stress hormones and how the stress hormones can influence other pituitary-regulated and central nervous sytem functions. While a major focus of pituitary research is on mammalian sytems, study of non-mammalian systems has led to some important later discoveries applicable to the human condition; this theme will bring us up to date in comparative endocrinology in areas related to the other themes. One session is open to highlight newly-emerging research and to ensure that the symposium is as up to date as possible. In filling this session, the organizers will try to highlight young investigators.
The Japanese Society for Pituitary Research is a forty year old, well-established scholarly society consisting of researchers in the medical, basic science, fishery science, animal science and veterinary science fields. It has joined forces with the Japan Endocrine Pathology Society, the Japan Neuroendocrine Society, and Japanese Society for Comparative Endocrinology to further increase the inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary aspects of this symposium. The symposium will be held to a size that promotes interactions and discourages the formation of groups where everyone already knows each other. The networking reception will use posters to create opportunities for young or lesser known investigators to present their work to the international attendees.
It is from such inter-disciplinary, but focused interactions that great ideas arise. We anticipate the development of new ideas, new collaborations, and new research career paths for young attendees.
These are our special speakers at the conference. we hope we will have active discussions with professionals on site.