Development of Pituitary Gland

TheĀ pituitary gland (hypophysis cerebri)Ā is derived from 2 sources. The anterior lobe is an upgrowth of ectoderm from the roof of theĀ stomodeumĀ (primitive buccal cavity), while the posterior lobe is a down growth of neuroectoderm from theĀ diencephalon.

pituitary gland development

4th week: a diverticulum,Ā Rathke’s pouch, grows upwards from the roof of the stomodeum towards the developing brain.

As the upgrowth contacts a downgrowth from the brain, theĀ infundibulum, Rathke’s stalk (connection between Rathke’s pouch and the Stomodeum) begin to degenerate.

By the 6th week: theĀ Rathke’s stalkĀ degenerates and Rathke’s pouch loses its connection with the stomodeum.

The cells of Rathke’s pouch proliferate to form theĀ pars distalis, and extend up the anterior aspect of the infundibulum as theĀ pars tuberalis. The posterior surface of Rathke’s pouch does not proliferate but forms the poorly developedĀ pars intermedia.

The infundibulum having grown down from the floor of the diencephalon, expands as the axons of cells in the diencephalon grow down into it.


Rathke’s pouch from stomodeum:Ā Pars distalis, Pars tuberalis, Pars intermedia

Infundibulum from diencephalon:Ā Pars nervosa, Stalk (infundibulum)

Congenital Anomalies of Pituitary Gland:

  1. Craniopharyngioma: Failure of degeneration of Rathke’s stalk
  2. Pharyngeal pituitary: Failure of ascending of buccal pituitary
  3. Agenesis of pituitary

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