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Histopathology of pituitary tumours 

Histopathology of pituitary tumours
Histopathology of pituitary tumours

Eva Horvath

and Kalman Kovacs

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date: 19 May 2022

The human pituitary gland consists of two major components: the adenohypophysis comprising the hormone producing cells of the pars anterior, pars intermedia, and pars tuberalis, and the neurohypophysis, also called pars nervosa or posterior lobe (1). In contrast to most mammalian species, the human gland has no anatomically distinct pars intermedia (2). The exclusively proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-producing cells of the pars intermedia are sandwiched between the anterior and posterior lobes in the majority of mammals, whereas in the human they are incorporated within the pars anterior, thereby constituting the pars distalis (3). The pars tuberalis is a minor upward extension of the adenohypophysis attached to the exterior of the lower pituitary stalk. In this chapter we deal only with adenohypophyseal tumours.

Histologically, the adenohypophysis consists of a central median (or mucoid) wedge flanked by the two lateral wings. The hormone-producing cell types are distributed in an uneven, but characteristic manner. The cells are arranged within evenly sized acini surrounded by a delicate but well-defined reticulin fibre network giving the pituitary its distinct architecture (4). In the center of the acini is the long-neglected pituitary follicle composed of the agranular nonendocrine folliculo-stellate cells (5).

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