Pituitary immunoexpression of ghrelin in anorexia nervosa
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Ghrelin, an orexigenic hormone, is known to occur in the normal anterior pituitary where its physiologic role is uncertain but may include promotion of appetite. We sought to investigate anticipated differences in adenohypophysial and neurohypophysial ghrelin immunoexpression between normal subjects and patients with anorexia nervosa who had succumbed to complications of the disease. We hypothesized that the glands of anorexia nervosa patients would show relative diminished action in ghrelin content. The study included 12 autopsy-derived pituitaries of anorexia nervosa and 10 control glands. The streptavidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method and double immunohistochemical staining method were used to determine which cell types expressed both ghrelin and adenohypophysial hormones. Nontumorous control pituitaries were also obtained at autopsy. In anorexia nervosa and control adenohypophyses, ghrelin was mainly localized in somatotrophs and to a lesser extent in corticotrophs and gonadotrophs. Ghrelin accumulated within nerve fibers and Herring bodies in the neurohypophysis and pituitary stalk. In the controls, ghrelin expression was apparent in only a few cases. It was mild and only along few nerve fibers. In the adenohypophyses of anorexia nervosa patients, ghrelin was not depleted. It appears that in these patients, ghrelin is transported in excess from the hypothalamic neurohypophysial tract to the neurohypophysis.
KeywordsAnorexia nervosa Ghrelin Hypothalamus Immunohistochemistry Pituitary
The Authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to the Jarislowsky and Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundations for their generous support and to Mrs. Denise Chase for her expert secretarial assistance.
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