05 December 2008
A 36-year-old woman with central diabetes insipidus (DI), diagnosed when she was 7, was referred to our Endocrine Unit in January 1993 for further hormonal investigations. Clinical and laboratory findings confirmed the diagnosis of central DI. Cranial computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging showed only an empty sella. Moreover, we noted impaired glucose tolerance and unusual findings of subclinical adrenocortical failure, i.e. high plasma renin activity with normal aldosterone levels, high ACTH despite normal basal and ACTH-stimulated cortisol levels. Immunological study of the patient’s serum showed the presence of arginine vasopressin (AVP)-secreting cell antibodies (Abs), steroid-producing cell Abs, adrenal and islet cell Abs. The following aspects of our case are stressed and discussed: (1) the presence of AVP-secreting cell Abs 29 years after the diagnosis of DI; (2) the association between DI, empty sella and subclinical autoimmune adrenocortical failure with unusual hormonal findings, and (3) impaired glucose tolerance with islet cell antibody positivity.