Symptomatic Rathke's cleft cyst. Morphological study with light and electron microscopy and tissue culture

J Neurosurg. 1977 Sep;47(3):451-8. doi: 10.3171/jns.1977.47.3.0451.


A rare case is reported in which a symptomatic Rathke's cleft cyst was studied by light and electron microscopy and tissue culture. The findings are compared with those of a craniopharyngioma studied in the same way. The patient was a 26-year-old woman presenting with headache, chiasmatic syndrome, and hypopituitarism. A cyst containing a mural nodule was partially removed and an Ommaya reservoir placed in the operative site for further treatment. The cyst wall was composed of connective tissue and three kinds of epithelial cells: non-ciliated squamous, ciliated columnar, and mucous-secreting cells. The morphology of these cells in vitro was similar to prickle cells seen in craniopharyngioma and the epidermis. It is concluded that both Rathke's left cyst and craniopharyngioma originate in remnants of Rathke's pouch, but at times may show some histological differences.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Craniopharyngioma / pathology*
  • Craniopharyngioma / ultrastructure
  • Culture Techniques
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron