Free alpha subunit of the pituitary glycoprotein hormones. Measurement in serum and tissue of patients with pituitary tumors

C. M. Preissner, G. G. Klee, B. W. Scheithauer, C. F. Abboud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


A solid-phase radioimmunoassay was developed that measures the free alpha subunits of pituitary glycoprotein hormones (αPGpHs) and has negligible cross-reactivity with the intact hormones (<0.014% for thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH], <0.1% for human chorionic gonadotropin [hCG], 0.8% for luteinizing hormone [LH], and 2.0% for follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH]). The assay is standardized with the alpha subunit of hCG but also reacts well with the alpha subunits of the other glycoprotein hormones (84% for αTSH, 77% for αFSH, and 64% for αLH). Concentrations as low as 0.3 μg/L can be reliably measured, and the 97.5% reference range in 27 healthy adults, including postmenopausal females, is ≤ 1.2 μg/L. Elevated preoperative αPGpH concentrations were found in 45 (9.4%) of 479 sera from patients with pituitary adenoma and 3 (4.5%) of 66 patients with nonadenomatous sellar lesions. Postoperative αPGpH levels were lower in 30 of 39 adenoma patients and 2 of 3 nonadenoma patients. In five (1%) of the patients with pituitary adenomas, αPGpH was the only elevated serum hormone marker. Serum values of αPGpH correlate weakly with alpha subunit immunocytochemical staining - 95% of those with negative staining have normal αPGpH values, but only 18% of those with positive staining have elevated αPGpH values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number4 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 1990



  • Alpha subunit
  • Glycoprotein hormones
  • Immunocytochemical
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Solid-phase radioimmunoassay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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