✓ The authors report a nulliparous patient presenting with infertility and hyperprolactinemia. She underwent transsphenoidal surgery after radiological investigation disclosed an enlarged pituitary gland which did not respond to bromocriptine therapy. The removed tissue had histological features consistent with adenohypophysitis including a diffuse lymphocytic infiltrate. The lymphocyte subsets present in the infiltrate were characterized by immunohistochemical methods to establish the contribution of different elements of the cellular immune response.
Lymphocytes bearing CD4 antigen (helper-inducer cells) were most prominent and appeared to bear the majority of the interleukin-2 receptor (expressed during lymphocytic activation) present in the pituitary gland. A few B lymphocytes were also observed. The location of the major histocompatibility antigen (classes I and II) and interleukin-2 receptor correlated with the lymphocytes and macrophages rather than with the stromal or parenchymal elements of the pituitary.
Lymphocytic adenohypophysitis is an unusual cause of pituitary enlargement which can mimic a pituitary tumor, and is sometimes associated with hyperprolactinemia. In women of child-bearing age, it almost always occurs during pregnancy or the postpartum stage. The autoimmune disorder reported here has not previously been associated with infertility nor has the lymphocytic infiltrate of the pituitary previously been analyzed in detail by modern immunological methods.