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, 62 (1-2), 1-14

Pituitary Adenomas: Immunohistology and Ultrastructural Analysis of 118 Tumors

Pituitary Adenomas: Immunohistology and Ultrastructural Analysis of 118 Tumors

M M Esiri et al. Acta Neuropathol.

Abstract

An analysis is presented of the immunohistological and ultrastructural features in a series of 118 surgically removed pituitary adenomas all of which were studied immunohistologically using antisera to growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL) ACTH, beta FSH, beta LH and beta TSH, and 75 of which were studied ultrastructurally. Results were analysed according to the mode of presentation of patients. Forty-one (35%) of the tumours were from patients with acromegaly or gigantism, ten (9%) from patients with Cushing's syndrome or Nelson's syndrome, 19 (16%) from patients with clinical features associated with hyperprolactinaemia and 48 (40%) from patients with space occupying lesions which appeared clinically to be overtly endocrinologically functionless. By light microscopy, using the immunoperoxidase (PAP) technique, immunoreactive GH was demonstrated in all the tumours from patients with acromegaly or gigantism, immunoreactive ACTH in all tumours from patients with Cushing's syndrome or Nelson's syndrome and immunoreactive PRL in 95% of tumours associated with effects of hyperprolactinaemia. Forty-five percent of the tumours from acromegalic patients contained some PRL-positive cells as well as GH-positive cells. Among the tumours which appeared clinically to be endocrinologically functionless were three tumours (from males) uniformly stained for immunoreactive PRL. Of the remainder, 60% were negative for immunoreactive hormones and 40% contained small numbers of cells which were positive for a variety of immunoreactive hormones. ACTH-cell and PRL-cell tumours had ultrastructural features as described in previous studies. Fifty percent of GH-cell tumours examined at the EM level contained fibrous bodies, while in the remainder these structures were not identified. Tumours with fibrous bodies were more likely to contain PRL as well as GH with immunoperoxidase. All tumours that were endocrinologically functionless and which were examined at the EM level contained secretory granules. Oncocytic change was common in these tumours. No ultrastructural differences were observed between those which contained immunoreactive hormones by light microscopy and those which did not.

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