Significance of immunohistochemical expression of Rab3B and SNAP-25 in growth hormone-producing pituitary adenomas
Using immunocytochemistry we have analyzed 8 pituitary oncocytomas, 14 null cell adenomas, and 2 oncocytomas of the parotid gland (Warthin’s tumor). The proportions of adenoma cells that are positive for mitochondrial protein (MP), cytochrome oxidase (COX), and manganese-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) were significantly higher in pituitary oncocytomas than in null cell adenomas (MP P < 0.001, COX P < 0.001, Mn-SOD P < 0.05). In pituitary oncocytomas, MP-positive cells were distributed unevenly but in clusters or in islets admixed with some MP-negative cells, and corresponded to COX-positive cells. In contrast, almost all of the oxyphilic epithelial cells of Warthin’s tumor were positive for MP, COX, and Mn-SOD. On the other hand, both pituitary tumors displayed similar findings with regard to the proportion of adenoma cells immunoreactive for copper/zinc-SOD and adenohypophysial hormones, the Ki-67 (MIB-1) proliferating cell index, and the mean number of argyrophilic nucleolar organizer regions. It was confirmed that immunocytochemical identification of MP and COX is useful for distinguishing pituitary oncocytomas from null cell adenomas. Although it remains to be determined whether oncocytomas originate from oncocytic changes of tumor cells or from neoplastic transformation of oncocytic cells, it appears that tumorigenesis of pituitary oncocytomas differs from that of Warthin’s tumor.