Postmortem stability of pituitary hormones in the human adenohypophysis

Legal Medicine
Takaki IshikawaHitoshi Maeda


The hypophysis is embedded in the fossa at the base of skull, having important functions in the hormonal system. The present study investigated its postmortem morphological changes and the stability of adenohypopyseal hormones. The pituitaries were collected at autopsy 6 h to 20 days postmortem and were studied by histology, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. To avoid the influence of prolonged brain hypoxia or swelling, subjects who survived not longer than 12 h were examined. Histological changes were seen in the nucleus 6 h after death, followed by cytoplasmic changes, and the cell shapes were hardly identifiable 7 days postmortem. Electron microscopy revealed evident ultra-structural changes 6 h postmortem, involving rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complexes, mitochondria, nuclei and cell membranes. However, secretory granules remained well preserved 7 days postmortem. Immunostaining showed positivities for growth hormone, prolactin, adenocorticotropic hormone, luteinizing hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone up to 15 days after death. These findings suggest the usefulness of immunohistochemical investigation of the adenohypophysis for estimating the time of death and endocrinologic evaluation in decomposed...Continue Reading


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Jan 1, 1993·Acta neurochirurgica·K AritaT Mikami
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