Ultrastructure of human parathyroid cells in health and disease.


:Parathyroid glands (n = 271) removed from 130 patients were examined by light and electron microscopy. A standardized method of tissue processing was employed and morphometry was performed. The aim of the paper is to provide a description of the human parathyroid chief cell ultrastructure in health and disease, with quantitative evaluation of structures involved in secretion of parathyroid hormone in a large case series, and to discuss their role in current diagnostic histopathology. The patients were euparathyroid (n = 10), or affected by primary (n = 97), secondary (n = 8), or tertiary (n = 15) hyperparathyroidism. In normal glands, solid parenchyma was composed of chief cells, large clear cells, transitional-oxyphil cells, and oxyphil cells. Chief cell hyperplasia, pseudo-adenomatous hyperplasia, adenoma, water-clear cell hyperplasia, and carcinoma were the most usual forms of parathyroid disease responsible for primary hyperparathyroidism. In chief cell hyperplasia, all the parathyroid glands were enlarged and the chief cells were in an active state of hormone secretion, with a large Golgi complex, abundant rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), small lipid droplets, and tortuous plasma membrane. In pseudo-adenomatous hyperplasia, one gland was enlarged and the others displayed a normal size; however, electron microscopic examination and morphometric analysis showed that all the glands had active cells. Adenomas displayed a pattern similar to those of pseudo-adenomatous hyperplasia, with one gland enlarged and the others of normal size. However, ultrastructural examination and morphometry showed that the normal-size glands were hypo-active. Water-clear cell hyperplasia showed cells filled with cytoplasmic vacuoles. In these cells, structures with intermediate features between secretory granules and vacuoles were visible. Nucleo-cytoplasmic atypias were frequently visible in parathyroid carcinoma cells. In secondary and tertiary hyperplasia, active chief cells were regularly mixed with oxyphil or transitional-oxyphil cells. The tertiary hyperplasia was characterized by RER-associated structures that were not found in the normal or other pathological conditions. These results demonstrate that electron microscopy and morphometry represent useful tools in parathyroid histopathology.


Microsc Res Tech


Cinti S,Sbarbati A




Has Abstract


1995-10-01 00:00:00












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