Expression of glycoprotein hormones and intracytoplasmic distribution of cytokeratin in growth hormone-producing pituitary adenomas

Pathol Res Pract. 1991 Jun;187(5):530-3. doi: 10.1016/S0344-0338(11)80135-4.


Sixteen growth hormone (GH)-producing pituitary adenomas were studied for the expression of glycoprotein hormone subunits and cytokeratin by light microscopic immunohistochemistry. Cytokeratin immunoreactivity was demonstrated in all adenomas, but its intracytoplasmic distribution showed two distinct patterns; a prominent, dot-like pattern and a diffuse, perinuclear pattern. Seven adenomas (type 1) were exclusively composed of cells with cytokeratin in a dot-like pattern, whereas 9 adenomas (type 2) comprised of cells with cytokeratin of perinuclear distribution. The expression of alpha-subunit of glycoprotein hormone was significantly different between the two types of adenomas; 8 of 9 adenomas of type 2 contained many alpha-subunit immunoreactive cells but none of type 1 adenomas showed any immunoreactivity. Only a small number of adenoma cells were positive for beta-subunit of thyrotropin stimulating hormone in 3 adenomas of type 2. beta-subunits of follicle stimulation hormone and luteinizing hormone were negative in all adenomas. These findings suggest that the expression of glycoprotein hormone subunits in GH-producing adenomas may be closely linked to their types distinguishable by the cytokeratin distribution pattern.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Growth Hormone / biosynthesis*
  • Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Glycoproteins
  • Hormones
  • Keratins
  • Growth Hormone