Vol 59, No 2 (2021)
Original paper
Published online: 2021-04-09

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Immunohistochemical analysis of ghrelin expression in various types of adrenal tumors

Hanna Komarowska1, Agnieszka Malinska2, Zhanat Komekbai3, Barbara Brominska1, Katarzyna Bednarek-Rajewska4, Marek Ruchala1, Marcin Rucinski2
Pubmed: 33834452
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2021;59(2):86-94.


Introduction. Ghrelin, originally isolated from the endocrine cells of the gastric mucosa, is also expressed in many peripheral tissues, including normal adrenals and adrenocortical tumors. It was shown that ghrelin stimulates proliferation and inhibits apoptosis of adrenocortical cells. In the current study, we compared ghrelin expression at the protein level in various adrenal tumors. We analyzed whether immunoreactive ghrelin could be considered as a potential marker for different types of adrenal tumors.

Material and methods. Study was carried out on 200 adrenal specimens arranged on microscope slide in tissue microarray format. We performed standardized immunohistochemical reactions with semiquantitative reaction intensity measurements.

Results. At the protein level, the expression of ghrelin was significantly reduced in adrenocortical adenocarcinoma in relation to the control group and pheochromocytoma as well as cancer-adjacent normal adrenal tissue. In contrast, a relatively high ghrelin expression was found in pheochromocytoma compared to all analyzed groups, with the exception of cancer-adjacent normal adrenal tissue.

Conclusions. The ghrelin expression profile at the protein level may be associated with the type of adrenal tumor. In this context, our results suggest that adrenal immunoreactive ghrelin may be considered as a sensitive and specific marker for differentiating adrenocortical carcinoma from adrenocortical adenoma and pheochromocytoma.

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