Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology
Endocrine Abstracts (2007) 14 P153

ECE2007 Poster Presentations (1) (659 abstracts)

The beta-HLH transcription factor neurogenin-2 is preferentially expressed by secreting pituitary adenomas

Amato Fratticci 1 , Fabio Grieco 1 , Cristina Spilioti 1 , Felice Giangaspero 2 , Vincenzo Esposito 2 , Antonio Santoro 3 , Luca Ventura 4 , Edoardo Alesse 1 & Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea 1

1Experimental Medicine, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy; 2Neuromed, IRCCS, Pozzili, Italy; 3Neurosurgery, University “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy; 4Pathology, S. Salvatore Hospital, L’Aquila, Italy.

Beta-HLH transcription factors are involved in the ontogenesis of neural/neuroendocrine cells, and may play a role in the pathogenesis of neuroendocrine tumours. Neurogenin 2 (Ngn2) is expressed by the developing mouse pituitary. After preliminary data indicating its expression in the normal human pituitary, we have studied its phenotypic expression in normal and adenomatous pituitary tissues.

Methods: Fifty-two pituitary adenomas (PA) – 23 clinically non-secreting (CNS) and 29 clinically secreting (CS) (13 GH-, 8 PRL-, 6 ACTH- and 2 TSH-secreting PA, respectively) - and 4 normal pituitaries (NP) were studied. Ngn2 transcripts were determined by realtime qRT-PCR and compared to beta-actin transcripts, using Taqman on-demand assays (Applied Biosystems). Immunohistochemistry was performed on 21 PA and 2 NP, using a rabbit polyclonal antibody (Chemicon). Mouse monoclonal antibodies for pituitary hormones (Dako) were used for co-localization experiments.

Results: Ngn2 transcripts were observed in all NP and 39/52 (75%) of PA, with a higher frequency in CS versus CNS PA (89.6% vs 56.5%, χ2=7.51, P=0.006). Accordingly, Ngn2 levels were higher in CS than in CNS PA (P=0.006, Mann-Whitney). Only a subset of PA (11/52=21.1%) were found to moderately overexpress Ngn2 as compared to NP: 8 were CS and 3 were CNS, including 2 silent-secreting PA. Nuclear immunopositivity for Ngn2 was detected in scattered cells of the NP, co-localizing with most pituitary hormones, and in 17/21 PA (14/15 CNS and 3/6 CNS, respectively). No significant correlation was found between Ngn2 expression and tumour volume, invasiveness or Ki-67 labelling index.

Conclusions: Ngn2 is expressed by the NP and a significant subset of PA. Its preferential expression by CS PA, the lack of significant overexpression or correlation with tumour aggressiveness, suggest that Ngn2 may contribute to maintain a differentiated secreting phenotype in PA but plays no role in pituitary tumorigenesis itself.

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