OBJECTIVE: The pathological distinction between parathyroid neoplasms and hyperplasias remains difficult. Changes in cell cycle control may lead to clonal proliferation and precede tumorigenesis. The parathyroid adenoma 1 oncogene, subsequently identified as the gene encoding cyclin D1, has been shown to be important to parathyroid tumour development. In addition to cell proliferation, the mechanisms of parathyroid cell turnover include apoptosis. The tumour-suppressor activity of the fragile histidine triad gene (FHIT) is linked to its proapoptotic function and cell cycle control. We attempted to evaluate the cellular proliferative kinetics and apoptotic function of the parathyroid glands in patients with non-familial hyperparathyroidism (HPT). DESIGN: TIssue specimens were taken from 40 patients with primary HPT (17 adenomas, two carcinomas and 21 primary hyperplasias) and from 30 patients with secondary HPT. Normal glands served as controls. METHODS: In a standard immunohistochemical procedure, monoclonal antibodies to Ki-67 antigen and single-stranded DNA were applied to detect cycling and apoptotic cells respectively; polyclonal antibodies to cyclin D1 and Fhit protein were used. Immunostaining was estimated by image analysis and statistical analysis was subsequently performed. RESULTS: Significantly higher proliferative and apoptotic indexes were detected in the diseased glands in comparison with normal controls. In neoplastic and secondarily hyperplastic glands, apoptotic indexes were higher than in primarily hyperplastic glands; the difference between neoplastic and primarily hyperplastic glands was statistically significant (P=0.034). Cyclin D1 was overexpressed in a considerable proportion of tumours (68.4%). A reduction of Fhit protein immunoreactivity was selectively noticed in carcinomas. CONCLUSIONS: In primary hyperplasia, the remarkable proliferation of parathyroid glands may be due to the reduction of the apoptotic process. FHIT gene abnormalities are worthy of investigation in parathyroid carcinogenesis.
GE Thomopoulou, S Tseleni-Balafouta, AC Lazaris, H Koutselini, N Kavantzas and PS Davaris
M Alevizaki, SI Grigorakis, S Tseleni-Balafouta, CC Alevizaki, G Philippou, E Anastasiou and A Souvatzoglou
OBJECTIVE: We have previously reported that amylin/islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) mRNA is detected in a substantial subset of medullary carcinomas of the thyroid (MTCs). The aim of this study was to determine if the amylin/IAPP gene is expressed as the IAPP peptide in MTC tissues. DESIGN AND METHODS: In 10 patients with a histological diagnosis of MTC and with persisting or recurrent disease (basal calcitonin levels >250 pg/ml), the fasting serum insulin and plasma glucose, IAPP and calcitonin levels were measured and compared with those of 18 normal control subjects matched for age and body mass index. IAPP expression was studied by immunohistochemistry in MTCs and lymph-node metastasis tissues. RESULTS: Seven of ten MTC patients had abnormally elevated IAPP levels. Plasma IAPP and serum insulin levels were correlated in both patients and controls, but the slope of the regression line was significantly higher for MTC patients. IAPP staining was detected in four out of 12 random MTC samples and in two out of five lymph-node metastases, using immunohistochemistry. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that MTC cells express IAPP at the peptide level and that this raises the peripheral plasma levels. Further studies may reveal whether this is a feature of malignant disease.
S Tseleni-Balafouta, G Thomopoulou, ACh Lazaris, H Koutselini and PS Davaris
OBJECTIVE: The family of fibroblast growth factors stimulates proliferation of cells of mesenchymal, epithelial and neuroectodermal origin. One of the members of this family, the product of proto-oncogene int-2, fibroblast growth factor-3, has been found to stimulate mitosis of parathyroid cells in culture. Primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism have no clear differences with regard to the histopathological features of the diseased parathyroid glands. DESIGN: This study was undertaken in order to determine whether int-2 protein is immunohistochemically expressed in normal and abnormal parathyroid glands and to investigate whether there is a differential expression of the int-2 gene product between primary and secondary parathyroid disease. METHODS: A sheep anti-human int-2 antibody was applied to tissue sections from 37 samples of primary parathyroid disease (12 sporadic adenomas, 25 hyperplastic glands), from 30 samples of renal hyperparathyroidism, and from seven normal controls. Int-2 immunostaining was evaluated semi-quantitatively. RESULTS: None of the normal parathyroid glands stained positively. Int-2 immunopositive expression was more frequently detected in specimens of uraemic patients than in those of patients with primary parathyroid growth processes (P=0.029). The reason for this differential expression appears to be the higher proportion of oxyphilic cells growing in hyperplastic glands of patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism; the latter cells were specifically found to be int-2 immunoreactive. CONCLUSION: The int-2 gene product is likely to participate in the proliferation of this parathyroid cell subpopulation.
Andreas C Lazaris, Sofia Tseleni-Balafouta, Thomas Papathomas, Theodore Brousalis, Georgia Thomopoulou, George Agrogiannis and Efstratios S Patsouris
Objective: The pathological distinction between parathyroid neoplasms and hyperplasias remains difficult in several cases. Endoglin (CD105) is a proliferation-associated and hypoxia-inducible protein abundantly expressed in angiogenic endothelial cells. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces angiogenesis and VEGF-R2 is a tyrosine kinase receptor expressed early in development by endothelial cell precursors. We attempted to examine whether immunohistochemical expression of CD105, VEGF and VEGF-R2 may be useful in distinguishing between parathyroid hyperplasia and neoplasia as well as to elucidate, to some extent, the mechanism of neovascularization in proliferative lesions of the parathyroid gland.
Design: Tissue specimens were taken from 38 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) (17 adenomas and 21 primary hyperplasias) and from 30 patients with secondary HPT. Normal glands served as controls.
Methods: In a standard immunohistochemical procedure, monoclonal antibodies to endoglin, VEGF and VEGF-R2 were applied to detect angiogenic endothelial cells. Immunostaining was estimated by image analysis and statistical analysis was subsequently performed.
Results: Positive CD105 immunoreaction was significantly increased in parathyroid adenomas by comparison with primary hyperplasias (P = 0.033) and with secondary hyperplasias (P = 0.033). When parathyroid adenomas, primary hyperplasia and secondary hyperplasia specimens were comparatively evaluated, VEGF immunoreaction was much more common in adenomas (P = 0.018). In addition, in samples with secondary hyperplasia, VEGF-R2 immunoreactivity was positively linked with VEGF expression as well as with the apoptotic index of parathyroid cells (P = 0.038 and 0.010 respectively). In secondary hyperplasia specimens, an inverse correlation between cyclin D1 immunoexpression and angiogenic indexes, such as CD105 and VEGF, was noticed (P = 0.007 and 0.0017 respectively).
Conclusions: This study shows increased angiogenesis in parathyroid adenomas compared with parathyroid proliferative lesions. In secondarily hyperplastic glands increased angiogenesis and increased apoptosis occur simultaneously; in the latter glands, the overexpression of cyclin D1 does not appear to be the genetic abnormality responsible for increased angiogenesis.
AG Doufas, G Mastorakos, S Chatziioannou, S Tseleni-Balafouta, G Piperingos, MA Boukis, E Mantzos, CS Caraiskos, J Mantzos, M Alevizaki and DA Koutras
Endemic non-toxic goiter (NTG) in Greece has been attributed primarily to iodine deficiency. Thirty years ago about 60% of the prepubertal boys and girls examined in endemic goiter regions presented with NTG and among them thyroid autoimmunity was rarely detected. Although iodine supplementation has corrected this deficiency during the past 30 years, new cases of NTG still appear. To evaluate the prevalence and type of NTG and the effect of iodine supplementation on them in Greece at present, we performed two cross-sectional clinical studies and a retrospective pathology one: (i) thyroid gland volume and urinary iodine excretion (UIE) were assessed in a representative sample of 1213 schoolchildren from previously endemic and non-endemic regions; (ii) serum thyroxine, tri-iodothyronine, TSH, thyroid autoantibodies (AAB) (anti-thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies) and UIE (in 60 patients) were measured in 300 consecutive patients with NTG from Athens and Heraklion; and (iii) we compared the prevalence of autoimmunity among fine needle aspiration smears of benign thyroid pathologies performed by the same pathologist between 1985 and 1986 (975 cases) and between 1994 and 1995 (2702 cases). We found that 12. 5% of the schoolchildren examined in regions with a previous history of endemic goiter had NTG, whereas this percentage was only 1.7% in areas without such a history. In Athens (61.6%) and Heraklion (58. 5%) a substantial number of NTG patients were AAB positive and biochemically hypothyroid. UIE in Athens did not differ between patients with autoimmune goiter (ATG) and simple goiter. The prevalence of autoimmune stigmata in pathology smears has increased from 5.94% (years 1985-1986) to 13.91% (years 1994-1995) (P<0.05). We conclude that: (i) the persistence of endemic goiter in regional foci despite iodine deficiency correction suggests a possible role for a naturally occurring goitrogen; (ii) ATG is the predominant form of NTG in Greece nowadays; and (iii) the five-fold decrease in the prevalence of NTG during the past 30 years followed by the increase of ATG may support the relative character of the latter.