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Functional survival of rat pituitary gland in hypothermic storage for pituitary transplantation

  • Jai Ho Choi
  • Jung Eun Lee
  • Se Hoon Kim
  • Hong-Lim Kim
  • Sin Soo JeunEmail author
  • Seung Ho YangEmail author



Deteriorated pituitary function can lead to serious complications that might need lifelong hormone replacement therapy. However, long-term hormone administration can have significant adverse effects. Thus, it would be more desirable to restore pituitary function by pituitary transplantation. In this study, we investigated functional preservation of extracted pituitary gland in special preservation solution under hypothermic condition for pituitary transplantation.


We obtained nineteen pituitary glands from 250–300 g male Sprague–Dawley rats via parapharyngeal approach. These extracted glands were divided into three pieces and stored in histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate (HTK) solution at 4 °C and compared to their corresponding glands stored in phosphate buffer saline (PBS). Light and electron microscopic examinations were performed to identify morphological changes of pituitary gland at 0,3, and 7 days after storage. TUNEL assay to confirm cell viability, and adenosine-triphosphate (ATP) concentration were also serially examined.


Tissue architecture and cellular viability of specimens preserved in HTK solution for 3 days were considerably maintained and similar to those in normal pituitary gland (0 day specimen). In contrast, specimens stored in PBS were markedly destroyed after 3 days of storage. After 7 days of storage, significant degeneration occurred in tissues stored in both HTK and PBS. However, tissue architecture was preserved more in specimens stored in HTK solution than those stored in PBS. ATP concentration decreased more rapidly in specimens stored in PBS solution, but there was no statistical significance (p= 0.055).


Extracted rat pituitary gland supplemented with special preservation solution could be preserved for 3 days under hypothermic condition.


Histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate solution Organ preservation Pituitary gland Simple static cold storage Transplantation 



This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2016R1D1A1A02937141).


This study is supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)-2016R1D1A1A02937141

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standard of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) of the Catholic University of Korea (SVH IRB 17-5).

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 165016 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, College of MedicineSeoul St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of KoreaSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Neurosurgery, College of MedicineCell Death Disease Research Center, St. Vincent’s Hospital, The Catholic University of KoreaSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of PathologyYonsei University of College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Laboratory of Electron Microscope, College of MedicineIntegrative Research Support Center, The Catholic University of KoreaSeoulSouth Korea

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