The LHX3 and LHX4 LIM-homeodomain transcription factors play essential roles in pituitary gland and nervous system development. Mutations in the genes encoding these regulatory proteins are associated with combined hormone deficiency diseases in humans and animal models. Patients with these diseases have complex syndromes involving short stature, and reproductive and metabolic disorders. Analyses of the features of these diseases and the biochemical properties of the LHX3 and LHX4 proteins will facilitate a better understanding of the molecular pathways that regulate the development of the specialized hormone-secreting cells of the mammalian anterior pituitary gland. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.