Neurotrophins, their receptors and Ki-67 in human GH-secreting pituitary adenomas: An immunohistochemical analysis

Marco Artico, E. Bianchi, G. Magliulo, M. De Vincentiis, E. De Santis, A. Orlandi, A. Santoro, F. S. Pasture, F. Giangaspero, R. Caruso, M. Re, L. Fumagalli

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Pituitary adenomas are a diverse group of tumors arising from the pituitary gland. Typically, they are small, slow-growing, hormonally inactive lesions that come to light as incidental findings on radiologic or postmortem examinations, although some small, slow-growing lesions with excessive hormonal activity may manifest with a clinical syndrome. The family of neurotrophins plays a key role in the development and maintenance of the pituitary endocrine cell function and in the regulation of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis activity. The objective of our experimental study is to investigate the localization of the neurotrophins, their relative receptors and to detect the expression level of Ki-67 to determine whether all these factors participate in the transformation and development of human pituitary adenomas. A very strong expression of Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and its receptor TrKC was observed in the extracellular matrix (ECM) and vessel endothelium, together with a clear/marked presence of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and its receptor TrKB, thus confirming their direct involvement in the progression of pituitary adenomas. On the contrary, NGF (Nerve growth factor) and its receptor TrKA and p75NTR were weakly expressed in the epithelial gland cells and the ECM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Adenoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67
  • Neurotrophins
  • Pituitary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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