, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 43-49

Characterization of spherical amyloid protein from a prolactin-producing pituitary adenoma

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Prolactin (PRL)-producing pituitary adenomas are in some cases associated with deposition of abundant spherical amyloid; however, the origin of the amyloid has not been established. In this report, a PRL-producing pituitary adenoma composed almost entirely of spherical amyloid was analyzed biochemically. The tumor was removed surgically from a 56-year-old man. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that residual tumor cells were strongly positive for PRL, while the spherical amyloid was not. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed a band of approximately 4 kDa associated with the amyloid, which was not present in a non-amyloid producing prolactinoma. The 4-kDa band is similar in size to other known amyloidogenic peptides. Immunoblot analysis of the tumor material using polyclonal anti-human PRL antibodies revealed a small amount of normal-sized PRL; however, the abundant 4-kDa band was nonimmunoreactive. Amino acid sequencing showed that this peptide represents the first 34 amino acids of the intact PRL protein with a predicted size of 4313 Da. The presence of a small amount of normal-sized PRL in this tumor, as well as elevated circulating levels of PRL implies that intact PRL is being abnormally processed in the formation of spherical amyloid.

Received: 16 April 1996 / Revised: 23 July 1996 / Accepted: 31 July 1996