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Vet Pathol. 1990 Nov;27(6):419-25.

Immunocytochemical demonstration of proopiomelanocortin-derived peptides in pituitary adenomas of the pars intermedia in horses.

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Institut für Veterinär-Pathologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Giessen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Adenomas of the pars intermedia from 19 horses and normal pituitary glands from seven horses were evaluated histologically and immunocytochemically for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), beta-endorphin (beta-END), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), prolactin, neuron specific enolase, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The 26 horses ranged in age from 7 to 31 years. Histologically, all adenomas had a uniform pattern characterized by cords of large columnar cells forming palisades and pseudoacini separated by a delicate fibrovascular stroma. Immunostaining of adenomas derived from the pars intermedia was similar to that of non-neoplastic equine pars intermedia. An immunocytochemical evaluation revealed a diffuse, strong cytoplasmic reaction for POMC, a moderate to strong reaction for alpha-MSH and beta-END, a weak reaction for ACTH, and negative immunostaining for prolactin, GFAP, and neuron specific enolase in the adenomas. The unique clinicopathologic syndrome that develops in horses with pituitary adenomas appears to be the result of an over-production of POMC-derived peptides in addition to space-occupying effects resulting in dysfunction of the hypothalamus and neurohypophysis.

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