Silver-staining nucleolar organizer region quantification in pituitary adenomas
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Nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) are segments of DNA, encoding for ribosomal RNA. They are associated with argyrophilic proteins and, thus, they can be localized through silver staining. A correlation has been shown between the number, the size, or the intranuclear localization of AgNORs, and the proliferative activity of cells. The aim of this study was to examine numerous features of AgNORs in pituitary adenomas and to relate them to immunohistochemical typing of tumor. Histologic slides from 32 pituitary tumors and one normal pituitary were silver-stained and analyzed with a computerized system for microscopic image analysis, supported by an AgNORmeter95 program. All the tumors were also immunocyto chemically characterized. We have found that gonadotropinomas, when compared with plurihormonal adenomas, revealed a lower proportion of nuclei with a single AgNOR and a higher percentage of marginal dots. Recurrent adenomas, when compared with primary adenomas, showed a higher proportion of nuclei with three AgNOR dots, a larger total area of dots in the nuclei, and a higher standard deviation of the AgNOR dot area in the nucleus. Adenomas immunopositive for prolactin, when compared with immunonegative ones, showed a larger mean area of the AgNOR dot, a larger area of the biggest dot in the nucleus, and a higher proportion of nuclei within a single dot. These results suggest that the estimated parameters of AgNOR dots differ according to tumor aggressiveness and to the hormone immunopositivity of pituitary adenomas.
Key WordsPituitary adenoma nucleolar organizer regions immunohistochemistry computer-aided analysis
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