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Transforming growth factor alpha, epidermal growth factor, and epidermal growth factor receptor expression in normal and diseased human adrenal cortex by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization



Transforming growth factor alpha, epidermal growth factor, and epidermal growth factor receptor expression in normal and diseased human adrenal cortex by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization



Modern Pathology 7(7): 741-746



Because epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha), and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have been implicated in the regulation of adrenocortical function, we used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization of EGF and TGF-alpha to study 41 specimens of human adrenal cortex, including 10 normal specimens, 15 aldosteronomas, five Cushing's adenomas, six adrenocortical incidentalomas, and five carcinomas to determine what role these growth factors play in controlling human adrenocortical function. Neither immunoreactivity nor mRNA hybridization signals to EGF was detected in any specimens, and EGF therefore may exert its effects on adrenal function as an endocrine hormone. TGF-alpha expression was detected at both protein and mRNA levels in normal and neoplastic adrenal cortex, demonstrating that TGF-alpha is synthesized locally in human adrenal cortex. TGF-alpha expression was observed in the cells with increased steroidogenesis, including compact tumor cells and zona fasciculata cells with lipid depletion, but did not necessarily correlate with production sites of any specific steroid hormone. EGFR immunoreactivity was more widely distributed than TGF-alpha immunoreactivity. Both TGF-alpha and EGFR expression were markedly elevated in adrenocortical carcinomas. TGF-alpha and EGFR thus appear to be involved in biological function in both normal and neoplastic human adrenal cortex. In addition, TGF-alpha and EGFR may play important roles in some biological features of adrenocortical malignancy.

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Accession: 009664615

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PMID: 7824507


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