Imprinted Dlk1 dosage as a size determinant of the mammalian pituitary gland

Valeria Scagliotti, Maria Lillina Vignola, Thea Willis, Mark Howard, Eugenia Marinelli, Carles Gaston-Massuet, Cynthia Andoniadou, Marika Charalambous*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Co-regulated genes of the Imprinted Gene Network are involved in the control of growth and body size, and imprinted gene dysfunction underlies human paediatric disorders involving the endocrine system. Imprinted genes are highly expressed in the pituitary gland, among them, Dlk1, a paternally expressed gene whose membrane-bound and secreted protein products can regulate proliferation and differentiation of multiple stem cell populations. Dosage of circulating DLK1 has been previously implicated in the control of growth through unknown molecular mechanisms. Here we generate a series of mouse genetic models to modify levels of Dlk1 expression in the pituitary gland and demonstrate that the dosage of DLK1 modulates the process of stem cell commitment with lifelong impact on pituitary gland size. We establish that stem cells are a critical source of DLK1, where embryonic disruption alters proliferation in the anterior pituitary, leading to long-lasting consequences on growth hormone secretion later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere84092
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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