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Rathke's pouch

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Title: Rathke's pouch  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pituitary gland, Rathke's cleft cyst, Craniopharyngeal canal, Development of digestive system, Buccopharyngeal membrane
Collection: Embryology of Digestive System
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Rathke's pouch

Rathke's pouch
Sketches in profile of two stages in the development of the human digestive tube.
Latin fovea adenohypophysialis
Carnegie stage 10
Gives rise to anterior pituitary
Anatomical terminology

In embryogenesis, Rathke's pouch is a depression in the roof of the developing mouth in front of the buccopharyngeal membrane. It gives rise to the anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis), a part of the endocrine system.


  • Development 1
  • Clinical significance 2
  • Eponym 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Rathke's pouch, and therefore the anterior pituitary, is derived from ectoderm.

The pouch eventually loses its connection with the pharynx giving rise to the anterior pituitary. The anterior wall of Rathke's pouch proliferates, filling most of the pouch to form pars distalis and pars tuberalis. The posterior wall forms pars intermedia.

In some organisms, the proliferating anterior wall does not fully occupy Rathke's pouch, leaving a remnant (Rathke's cleft) between the pars distalis and pars intermedia.

Clinical significance

Rathke's pouch may develop benign cysts. Craniopharyngioma is a neoplasm which can arise from the epithelium within the cleft.


It is named for Martin Rathke.[1][2]

See also


  1. ^ synd/3564 at Who Named It?
  2. ^ M. H. Rathke. Entwicklungsgeschichte der Natter (Coluber natrix). Königsberg, Bornträger, 1839.

External links

  • Embryology at UNSW wwwhuman/hipower/HumB/b2l
  • Histology image: 14101loa – Histology Learning System at Boston University
  • Diagram at

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