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      Primary Hypothyroidism in a Child Mimicking a Pituitary Macroadenoma


      Hormone Research in Paediatrics

      S. Karger AG

      Pituitary macroadenoma, Hypothyroidism

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          We report the case of an 11-year-old girl with primary autoimmune hypothyroidism causing secondary pituitary enlargement. She presented with headaches and a pituitary mass on MRI thought to be due to a pituitary macroadenoma. Resolution of the pituitary mass and symptoms occurred with thyroxine therapy. It is mandatory to rule out primary hypothyroidism as a cause of pituitary enlargement before surgery is considered.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Hyperprolactinaemia in hypothyroidism: clinical significance and impact of TSH normalization.

          Menstrual irregularities in hypothyroidism have been reported to occur less frequently than previously described. We therefore studied the influence of serum PRL in patients with newly diagnosed subclinical and overt hypothyroidism and in hyperprolactinaemic patients treated with T4 to distinguish the impact of hypothyroidism from that of confounding drugs on hyperprolactinaemia and menstrual irregularities. PRL was determined in 1003 consecutive hypothyroid patients (TSH > 4.0 mU/l) at referral, and after TSH normalization in 84 (8%) initially hyperprolactinaemic (female, > 480 mU/l; male, > 432 mU/l) subjects. Medical history (psychotropic drugs and oestrogens) and menstrual patterns were assessed at referral and after 8 +/- 5 (mean +/- SD) months of T4 therapy. Pituitary magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was offered to patients with persistently elevated PRL. Menstrual disturbancies (oligomenorrhoea/secondary amenorrhoea, O/A) were not more common (P = NS) in hyper- than in normoprolactinaemic women (26% and 16%, respectively). We observed no galactorrhoea and no correlation between PRL and TSH or O/A except in pregnant or lactating women (N = 11). Oestrogens or antidepressants (including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) did not cause hyperprolactinaemia but antipsychotic drugs did. PRL decreased with T4 therapy (P < 0.01) in patients not using confounding drugs (from 720 +/- 288 to 360 +/- 192 mU/l) but menstrual irregularities persisted. PRL remained unchanged in patients receiving antipsychotic treatment. PRL was also unchanged in patients with pituitary abnormalities (seven micro-, one macroadenoma). Hyperprolactinaemia was not an important feature in patients with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism. Neuroleptic drugs may cause persisting hyperprolactinaemia after TSH normalization. In addition, menstrual disturbancies do not relate to hyperprolactinaemia in hypothyroidism.
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            Patients with primary hypothyroidism presenting as prolactinomas.

            Hyperprolactinemia can occur in patients with primary hypothyroidism. Two women with hypothyroidism who had elevated serum prolactin levels, galactorrhea, amenorrhea, and pituitary computed tomographic scans that demonstrated the presence of "pituitary tumors" were recently evaluated. It was believed that they had prolactinomas, and they were referred for possible surgery. An elevated serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level, however, suggested that they had primary hypothyroidism and probably pituitary enlargement secondary to pituitary hyperplasia. Detailed evaluation of thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin secretion was performed. These studies revealed several abnormalities in dopamine-prolactin interactions; however, the primary event responsible for the hyperprolactinemia is unclear. These women were given thyroxine therapy, and subsequent radiologic and endocrine studies documented resolution of their "pseudotumors" and normalization of the serum thyroxine and prolactin levels. Hence, thyroid-stimulating hormone levels should be measured in all patients presenting with a suspected prolactinoma so that any hypothyroidism that is noted is not presumed to be due to secondary hypothyroidism from tumor involvement of the pituitary.
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              Pituitary enlargement mimicking pituitary tumor


                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                April 2005
                06 April 2005
                : 63
                : 2
                : 61-64
                Department of Paediatric Endocrinology, St. George’s Hospital, London, UK
                83568 Horm Res 2005;63:61–64
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, References: 20, Pages: 4
                Case Report


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