Immunocytochemistry for manganese-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) was studied in 12 normal adenohypophyses and 38 various pituitary lesions. The proportions of cells with granular immunoreactivity for Mn-SOD in normal adenohypophysis ranged from 9.8% to 29.6% (mean ± sd; 18.4 ± 6.2%). Some positive cells tended to accumulate in clusters, distribution of which corresponded well with those immunopositive for mitochondrial protein and cytochrome oxidase. The number of Mn-SOD-positive cells increased in adjacent residual adenohypophysis in eight of nine recent infarcts, in two of five old infarcts, in all four cases of lymphocytic hypophysitis, in two of four abscess cases and in one of three metastatic tumour cases, whereas the immunoreactivities of mitochondrial protein- and cytochrome oxidase-positive cells either did not vary or decreased. The intensity of the histological inflammatory reactions showed a positive correlation with reactivity for Mn-SOD in these lesions. Of eight adenomas, the surrounding area of compressed adenohypophysis showed increased numbers of Mn-SOD- and mitochondrial protein-/cytochrome oxidase-positive cells in four and six cases respectively. It is suggested that positivity for Mn-SOD may be related to some functional activity of mitochondria. It is further suggested that adenohypophysial cells have a high potential to induce Mn-SOD by inflammatory and ischaemic stress and, in addition, by enhanced mitochondrial activity.