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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Structural and ultrastructural characteristics of human pineal gland, and pineal parenchymal tumors.

We have studied 20 pineal parenchymal tumors (PPT) and 4 normal or cystic pineal glands both by light and electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry with antibodies against glial markers [glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and protein S-100] or neural/neuroendocrine markers [neurofilaments (NF), synaptophysin and chromogranin A]. Light microscopy revealed the cellular organization of pinealocytes in the normal gland and in different morphological types of pineal tumors (typical pineocytomas, PPT with intermediate differentiation, mixed PPT exhibiting elements of both pineocytoma and pineoblastoma and pineoblastomas). Immunohistochemistry showed the presence of GFAP and protein S-100 in interstitial cells in non-neoplastic pineal gland. Cell processes were labeled with anti-synaptophysin and anti-NF antibodies. No immunoreactivity was found for chromogranin A in non-neoplastic pineal gland. In pineocytomas, GFAP and protein S-100 were observed in interstitial cells. Synaptophysin and NF were present in the large rosettes of pineocytomas. Synaptophysin, NF and chromogranin A were present in pineocytomas with a lobular arrangement of cells. Anti-chromogranin A immunoreactivity was also seen in lobular areas of some PPT with intermediate differentiation. Analysis of normal human pineal gland by electron microscopy showed the presence of vesicle-crowned rodlets (VCR or synaptic ribbons), fibrous filaments (F), paired twisted filaments but few dense-core vesicles (DCV) in normal pinealocytes. Tumoral pineal cells appeared to differentiate either towards a neurosensory pathway characterized by the presence of sensory cells elements (VCR and F), or towards a neuroendocrine pathway, with the occurrence of many DCV. Immunogold labeling demonstrated the presence of chromogranin A in neurosecretory granules.[1]


  1. Structural and ultrastructural characteristics of human pineal gland, and pineal parenchymal tumors. Jouvet, A., Fèvre-Montange, M., Besançon, R., Derrington, E., Saint-Pierre, G., Belin, M.F., Pialat, J., Lapras, C. Acta Neuropathol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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