A lactotropic cell (also known as prolactin cell, epsilon acidophil, lactotrope, lactotroph, mammatroph, mammotroph) is a cell in the anterior pituitary which produces prolactin in response to hormonal signals including dopamine which is inhibitory and thyrotropin-releasing hormone which is stimulatory. Other regulators include oxytocin, estrogen and progesterone.
Prolactin is involved in the maturation of mammary glands and their secretion of milk in association with oxytocin, estrogen, progesterone, glucocorticoids, and others. Prolactin has numerous other effects in both sexes.
Prolactin cells are acidophilic by hematoxylin & eosin stains and comprise about 20% of all cells in the anterior pituitary gland. If these cells undergo neoplastic transformation, they will give rise to a prolactinoma, a prolactin-secreting pituitary adenoma.
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