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Ultrastruct Pathol. 1999 May-Jun;23(3):141-8.

Ultrastructural and immunoelectron microscopic study of three unusual plurihormonal pituitary adenomas.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Canada.


Monomorphous pituitary adenomas expressing several hormones by immunocytochemistry are common, whereas adenomas displaying multiple immunoreactivities and consisting of more than one morphologic cell types are rare. Three such unusual pituitary adenomas, surgically removed from two patients with acromegaly and one patient with hyperprolactinemia, were investigated by histology, immunocytochemistry, transmission electron microscopy, as well as immunoelectron microscopy using double immunogold labeling. Immunocytochemistry revealed variable degrees of immunoreactivities for growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), thyroid-stimulating hormone (beta-TSH), and alpha-subunit of glycoprotein hormones in all three tumors. The three adenomas consisted of phenotypically diverse cell populations as documented by transmission electron microscopy. In addition to monohormonal GH cells, immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated numerous cells colocalizing GH and PRL or GH and beta-TSH, and rarely PRL and beta-TSH in tumors of acromegalics. The adenoma causing hyperprolactinemia consisted chiefly of mammosomatotrophs colocalizing PRL and GH, whereas beta-TSH labeling was scant. The three tumors in the study were selected from a cluster of five plurimorphous plurihormonal adenomas received from the same locale where they accounted for an unprecedented 21% of adenomas producing GH and/or PRL. The enhanced susceptibility to develop plurimorphous adenomas of the acidophil cell line may have a genetic basis in the stable population the patients came from.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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