A morphological study was carried out on five mixed GH- and PRL-secreting pituitary adenomas, surgically removed from acromegalic patients with hyperprolactinemia, in order to verify whether the two hormones were contained in the same cell or in different cells. Double labeling with the protein A-gold immunotechnique was used to visualize the ultrastructural localization of the two hormones on ultrathin sections of the tumors. By means of this high resolution technique we found in all adenomas the presence of numerous (from 50-80% of the whole cell population) mammosomatotrophs, i.e. cells containing simultaneously PRL and GH. The occurrence of cells producing only GH (in four tumors) or only PRL (in one tumor) was also observed. In mixed cells GH and PRL were segregated in the same mixed granule. In one tumor granules positive only for GH together with mixed granules were found in the same cell. Immunofluorescence studies, at the light microscopic level, allowed us to clearly identify mammosomatotrophs only in two tumors. Double labeling using the gold immunotechnique appears therefore to be the most suitable experimental approach to detect the existence of mixed cells in plurihormonal adenomas. Our results support the idea that the frequency of mixed adenomas with mixed cells may be higher than that believed previously. The simultaneous presence of two hormones in the same secretory granule could explain why, in patients having mixed tumors, factors able to stimulate or inhibit the release of one hormone can also stimulate or inhibit the secretion of the other.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism|
|Publication status||Published - 1986|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism