Immunohistochemical expression of nestin in the non-tumorous hypophysis and in pituitary neoplasms

Acta Neuropathol. 2006 Mar;111(3):272-7. doi: 10.1007/s00401-006-0031-6. Epub 2006 Mar 15.


The aim of the present work was to investigate whether nestin, a member of the intermediate filament family, is immunohistochemically expressed in the non-tumoral human hypophysis and pituitary neoplasms. Twenty-three normal pituitaries and 125 pituitary neoplasms were included. The tissues were formalin-fixed and paraffin embedded. The neoplasms were identified on hematoxylin-eosin stained sections and were classified by immunohistochemistry as well as electron microscopy. For immunohistochemistry, the streptavidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method was applied using appropriate controls. Several corticotrophs in the autopsy obtained pituitaries showed cytoplasmic nestin immunopositivity. No nestin immunoreactivity was found in other cell types in non-tumorous adenohypophyses and in the cells of various pituitary adenomas. Nestin was, however, expressed in a small proportion of endothelial cells in both anterior and posterior lobes. Staining was also noted in several pituicytes, neurohypophysial nerve fibers, and Herring bodies. In contrast to CD-34 and Factor-8 immunostaining which demonstrated immunopositivity in practically all endothelial cells of every capillary, nestin expression was only focally seen suggesting that the functional status of the immunoreactive and non-staining endothelial cells was not the same. No statistically significant correlation was apparent between nestin immunoreactivity and patient age, gender, tumor size, mitotic index, Ki-67, labeling nuclear index, hormonal immunoprofile, and tumor type. In conclusion, nestin expression in adenomas cannot be viewed as a biologically relevant marker of cell proliferation and as a prognostic indicator. The patchy expression of nestin in endothelial cells remains unexplained and its significance requires further studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nestin
  • Pituitary Gland / cytology
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prolactin / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin
  • Prolactin