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Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2000 Sep;40(9):453-6; discussion 456-7.

Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural study of clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki.


Sixty-five clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas were studied by immunohistochemistry, and 12 cases were also analyzed by electron microscopy. Thirty-nine cases (60%) were immunohistochemically identified as hormone-producing adenomas. Six adenomas produced multiple hormones. Electron microscopy found seven null cell adenomas and five oncocytomas. The oncocytomas had a significantly higher incidence of hormone expression that the null cell adenomas. These results indicate that clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas produce hormones, even though blood hormone levels are normal or low. Furthermore, the evidence of multihormonal production implies that two or more cell lineages including a protein hormone-producing type and a glycoprotein hormone-producing type may exist in the same nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma.

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