A Case of pituitary somatotroph adenoma with concomitant secretion of growth hormone, prolactin, and adrenocorticotropic hormone — an adenoma derived from primordial stem cell, studied by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and cell culture

Research paper by A. Matsuno, T. Sasaki, T. Mochizuki, T. Fujimaki, N. Sanno, Y. Osamura, A. Teramoto, T. Kirino

Indexed on: 01 Aug '96Published on: 01 Aug '96Published in: Acta Neurochirurgica


Somatotroph adenomas often secrete prolactin (PRL) besides growth hormone (GH) and are sometimes immunostained for other anterior pituitary hormones or their subunits, such as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) β-subunit and glycoprotein hormone α-subunit (αSU). However, Somatotroph adenomas showing hypersecretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) are extremely rare. There have been, to our knowledge, only five published reports on Somatotroph adenomas accompanied by excessive ACTH secretion. Here we report a case of intracavernously invading Somatotroph macro-adenoma with high serum GH, PRL, and ACTH levels. We examined the case using immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridization (ISH), and cell culture, and confirmed GH, PRL, and ACTH, as well as αSU, production, and the expression of Pit-1 protein by the adenoma, which is known as a transcriptional factor for GH, PRL, and TSH, not for ACTH. Therefore, the presence of unknown transcriptional factor other than Pit-1, common to GH, PRL, and ACTH, may be speculated to be expressed in this adenoma. In our previous study, we had found plurihormonal mRNA expression, especially for ACTH, the β-subunit of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone in some Somatotroph adenomas, using non-radio-isotopic ISH, and suggested that these adenomas might be derived from plurihormonal primordial stem cells. Our present case is significant from the viewpoint of histogenesis of pituitary adenomas, because it further supports the cell origin of Somatotroph adenomas from plurihormonal primordial stem cells, and moreover it suggests the presence of unknown transcriptional factor other than Pit-1, common to GH, PRL, and ACTH.