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Null cell adenoma of the human pituitary.

Abstract

Among 343 surgically-removed pituitary adenomas, 56 tumors were unassociated clinically or biochemically with increased hormone secretion and contained no adenohypophysial hormones by the immunoperoxidase technique, except for 10 cases in which a few scattered cells showed positive immunostaining for beta-TSH or beta-FSH, beta-LH, prolactin and/or alpha-subunit. These tumors were chromophobic adenomas with no PAS, lead hematoxylin or carmoisine positivity and electron microscopy failed to reveal their morphogenesis. The term null cell adenoma of the pituitary is proposed to designate this tumor type. This term recognizes the most obvious features of these tumors: the absence of markers which would permit the disclosure of their cellular origin. Null cells are also found in the nontumorous adenohypophysis, suggesting that null cell adenomas derive from preexisting nonneoplastic null cells. The question of whether pituitary null cells are hormonally inactive committed precursors, uncommitted stem cells or dedifferentiated cells remains to be elucidated.

PMID:
7456308
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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