Pulsatile glycoprotein hormone secretion in glycoprotein-producing pituitary tumors

M. H. Samuels, P. Henry, B. K. Kleinschmidt-Demasters, K. Lillehei, E. C. Ridgway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To study patterns of hormone production and secretion in glycoprotein-producing pituitary tumors, 12 patients with such tumors underwent the following studies. Preoperatively, all patients had serum TSH, LH, FSH, and α-subunit levels measured every 15 min for 24 h. Hormone pulses were located by cluster analysis, and pulse parameters were compared to those in healthy young men, healthy young women, healthy postmenopausal women, and subjects with primary hypothyroidism. After surgery, immunocytochemistry for the four glycoproteins was performed on all tumors, and Northern blot analysis was performed in six tumors with probes for the four subunits. By immunocytochemistry, 42% of the tumors were positive for TSHβ, 83% for LHβ 75% for FSHβ, and 92% for α-subunit. Preoperative serum hormone levels varied widely between patients and were not well correlated with the intensity of immunocytochemical staining. Northern blot analysis did not appear to be as sensitive as immunocytochemistry for detection of the glycoproteins. All patients had pulsatile glycoprotein secretion, with pulses of normal frequency but varied amplitude. These results suggest that in patients with glycoprotein tumors, hormone pulses may be an integral part of autonomous secretion, or that hypothalamic control is involved in glycoprotein secretion and, perhaps, in the pathogenesis of these tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1288
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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