The nuclear diameter of chief cells was measured in 17 cases of parathyroid adenomas, four cases of secondary hyperplasia, five cases of primary hyperplasia and six cases of tertiary hyperparathyroidism. All the cases with secondary hyperplasia and tertiary hyperparathyroidism were associated with chronic renal failure. The nuclear diameter in both the adenomatous and hyperplastic areas of tertiary hyperparathyroidism were measured. The adenomatous areas of tertiary hyperparathyroidism contained nuclei of a larger diameter than those in the hyperplastic foci of the same gland. The nuclear diameter in adenomatous foci of tertiary hyperparathyroidism was similar to that in adenomas from primary hyperparathyroidism. These findings lend support to the concept of formation of autonomous adenomas against a background of reactive parathyroid hyperplasia in cases of tertiary hyperparathyroidism. Using statistical methods there were differences between the nuclear diameter in cases of primary adenomata, and cases of primary and secondary hyperplasia. Primary parathyroid hyperplasia stood out as a distinct group. The significance of these findings is discussed.
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