Pituitary adenomas (PAs) are benign growths arising from epithelial cells in the adenohypophysis of the pituitary gland. To date, there has been no detailed metabolic characterization of PAs of various subtypes. In this study, we report nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) based metabolomic analysis of surgically resected tumors from forty five pituitary tumor patients [gonadotropic (LH/FSH-secreting) = 17; prolactinomas (PRL-secreting) = 11, Cushing’s disease (ACTH-secreting) = 4, non-functional = 5, and mixed = 8] who underwent transsphenoidal selective adenomectomy. Compared to LH/FSH-secreting tumors, PRL-secreting tumors showed statistically significant decrease in the levels of N-acetylaspartate (NAA), myo-inositol (mI), scyllo-inositol (sI), glycine, taurine, phosphoethanolamine (PE) and increase in the levels of glutamine. When compared with LH/FSH-secreting tumors, ACTH-secreting tumors showed statistically significant decrease in the levels of sI, glycine, PE and increase in the levels of aspartate. Although lipid extracts of PAs showed the presence of many common lipid molecules, only glycerophosphoethanolamine (GPE) showed statistically significant decrease in PRL, ACTH and non-functional subtypes when compared to LH/FSH-secreting tumors. Changes observed in these metabolite concentrations among various subtypes of PAs reflect metabolic heterogeneity in these tumors and may pave the way towards the development of metabolic markers to distinguish various immunohistochemical subtypes of PAs.
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