Immunohistochemical expression of retinoid X receptor isoforms in human pituitaries and pituitary adenomas.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Retinoid X receptors (RXRs) are transcriptional factors that belong to the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. There are 3 RXR isoforms-alpha, beta, gamma-known to bind 9-cis-retinoic acid as their ligand. The expression of RXRs in human pituitary glands and pituitary adenomas has not been extensively investigated. To determine whether specific RXR isoforms may play roles in the state of differentiation of pituitary adenomas, we have investigated the immunohistochemical expression of RXR alpha and RXR gamma in 6 nontumorous pituitaries and in 60 different pituitary adenomas using isoform-specific antibodies. In the nontumorous pituitaries. RXR alpha was expressed in the nuclei of almost all cells, while RXR gamma was only expressed in thyrotropin (TSH) cells and in some cells positive for growth hormone (GH) and glycoprotein alpha-subunit (alpha SU) but not in luteinizing hormone (LH) beta-subunit, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) beta-subunit, prolactin (PRL) or adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) cells by double immunostaining. All 60 adenomas were RXR alpha positive, and 39 of 60 adenomas (65%) were positive for RXR gamma. The incidence of RXR gamma immunoreactivity in the different adenoma types was: 13 of 16 GH-producing adenomas (81.3%), 9 of 14 PRL-secreting adenomas (64.3%), 6 of 6 TSH-secreting adenomas (100%), 2 of 5 ACTH-secreting adenomas (40%) and 9 of 19 nonfunctioning adenomas (47.4%) including immunohistochemically gonadotropin-subunit-positive adenomas. The colocalization of RXR gamma with the TSH beta subunit, GH and alpha SU in the same adenoma cells was frequently observed, and sometimes RXR gamma was colocalized with PRL, ACTH, FSH beta or LH beta as shown by double immunostaining. We conclude that RXR alpha is expressed in both human pituitaries and pituitary adenomas. In contrast, RXR gamma is expressed more broadly in pituitary adenomas than in normal pituitaries and thus may play a role in the differentiation-specific cell types in the human pituitary both under physiological and pathological conditions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sanno, N; Sugawara, A; Teramoto, A; Abe, Y; Yen, PM; Chin, WW; Osamura, RY

Published Date

  • April 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 299 - 306

PubMed ID

  • 9143002

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-3835

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1159/000127188


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Switzerland