Hormone secretion in vitro by plurihormonal pituitary adenomas of the acidophil cell line

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Jul;75(1):68-75. doi: 10.1210/jcem.75.1.1352308.


Pituitary tumors producing GH and PRL are morphologically classified as monomorphous bihormonal acidophil stem cell adenomas (ASCAs) which cause hyperprolactinemia and two tumor types which are usually associated with acromegaly, the monomorphous plurihormonal mammosomatotroph adenomas (MSAs) and bimorphous mixed somatotroph-lactotroph adenomas. We studied 12 MSAs, 2 ASCAs, and 10 mixed adenomas in vitro to assess the secretory behavior of these tumors diagnosed by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. GH release by MSAs and all but one mixed tumor was greater than that of PRL; the opposite was true of the ASCAs. One mixed tumor which caused impotence and hyperprolactinemia contained predominantly lactotrophs and released greater amounts of PRL than of GH in vitro. All 12 MSAs and 6 of 10 mixed tumors released alpha-subunit of glycoprotein hormones. Incubation with GHRH increased release of GH and PRL by all tumors and of alpha-subunit when present; the responses of all hormones were parallel among MSAs whereas among mixed adenomas, GH and alpha-subunit had greater responses than PRL. TRH stimulated GH, PRL, and alpha-subunit release by MSAs in parallel; among mixed adenomas, PRL response was generally greater than that of GH or alpha-subunit. SRIH markedly reduced GH release by all MSAs; it inhibited GH and alpha-subunit release by mixed tumors more than it affected PRL. Bromocriptine inhibited GH, PRL, and alpha-subunit release by most MSAs and mixed tumors but did not inhibit GH or PRL release by ASCAs. This study demonstrates release of GH, PRL, and alpha-subunit by these morphologically classified plurihormonal tumors in vitro. Variable quantities of GH and PRL released by the different tumor types correlate with immunohistochemical and clinical data. The dynamic studies indicate that regulation of GH, PRL, and alpha-subunit release can be affected by GHRH, TRH, SRIH, and bromocriptine in these adenomas and suggest differences in receptor status. Our data strengthen the view that these three plurihormonal adenomas of the acidophil cell line are not only morphologically but also functionally different and warrant separation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Acidophil / pathology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bromocriptine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Somatostatin / pharmacology
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • Bromocriptine
  • Somatostatin
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Growth Hormone
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone