PMID: 7062085Mar 1, 1982Paper

The presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein in the human pituitary gland

Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
M E VelascoP Gambetti


The presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was studied in human pituitary glands with the peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) method. Positive reaction was observed in cells and processes of the neurohypophysis, in occasional cells lining the Rathke's cysts of the pars intermedia, and in scattered star-shaped cells and small follicles of the pars distalis. GFAP immunoreactivity was sparse and variable in amount from case to case. An increase in GFAP-immunoreactivity was observed as a reaction to injury. GFAP-positive cells were seen within and around pituitary adenomas regardless of their secretory cell type. Evidence is presented to indicate that these cells do not contain conventional pituitary hormones. It is postulated that the GFAP-positive cells of the pars distalis are nonsecretory elements, identical to the folliculostellate cells. They may become visible by immunostaining following increased synthesis of GFAP. The latter may be a response to cell injury or metabolic changes in adjacent secretory elements. A similar reaction in pituicytes may explain the appearance of immunoreactive GFAP in the neural lobe. The presence of GFAP in the adenohypophysis suggests that some of their cells are neuroectodermal in origin.


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