Growth hormone and prolactin secretion in acromegaly: Correlations between hormonal dynamics and immunocytochemical findings

M. Bassetti, M. Arosio, A. Spada, M. Brina, N. Bazzoni, G. Faglia, G. Giannattasio

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A morphological study was carried out on pituitary adenomas removed from 13 normoprolactinemic and 9 hyperprolactinemic acromegalic patients whose hormonal dynamics had been carefully investigated. Double immunocytochemical labeling with the protein-A-gold electron microscopic technique was used to detect the presence of GH and PRL in the adenomas. Two morphological patterns were found; 11 adenomas contained cells positive only for GH, and 11 contained a variable proportion (from 10-98%) of cells positive for PRL. The great majority of cells positive for PRL also were positive for GH and so were actually mammosomatotrophic cells. Among the normoprolactinemic patients, no cells containing PRL were found in the tumors from 8 patients, and 10-26% of the cells of the tumors of the other 5 patients contained PRL. Two thirds of the hyperprolactinemic patients had tumors containing mammosomatotrophs (18-80%) with or without the concomitant presence of mammotrophs (0-18%). A positive correlation was found between the serum PRL levels and the percentage of mammosomatotrophs. No significant differences in GH secretory repsonses to TRH, dopamine, GHRH, ans SRIH were found between patients having tumors with or without cells positive for PRL. We conclude that 1) the frequency of mammosomatotrophs in adenomas from acromegalic patients is higher then that previously estimated using different immunocytochemical methods; and 2) serum GH responses to TRH and dopamine are not strictly related to the presence of mammosomatotrophs and/or mammotrophs within the tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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