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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 Dec;34(12):2294-7. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A3591. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Changes of pituitary gland volume in Kennedy disease.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Bonn, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Kennedy disease is a rare X-linked neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the first exon of the androgen-receptor gene. Apart from neurologic signs, this mutation can cause a partial androgen insensitivity syndrome with typical alterations of gonadotropic hormones produced by the pituitary gland. The aim of the present study was therefore to evaluate the impact of Kennedy disease on pituitary gland volume under the hypothesis that endocrinologic changes caused by partial androgen insensitivity may lead to morphologic changes (ie, hypertrophy) of the pituitary gland.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Pituitary gland volume was measured in sagittal sections of 3D T1-weighted 3T-MR imaging data of 8 patients with genetically proven Kennedy disease and compared with 16 healthy age-matched control subjects by use of Multitracer by a blinded, experienced radiologist. The results were analyzed by a univariant ANOVA with total brain volume as a covariant. Furthermore, correlation and linear regression analyses were performed for pituitary volume, patient age, disease duration, and CAG repeat expansion length. Intraobserver reliability was evaluated by means of the Pearson correlation coefficient.

RESULTS:

Pituitary volume was significantly larger in patients with Kennedy disease (636 [±90] mm(3)) than in healthy control subjects (534 [±91] mm(3)) (P = .041). There was no significant difference in total brain volume (P = .379). Control subjects showed a significant decrease in volume with age (r = -0.712, P = .002), whereas there was a trend to increasing gland volume in patients with Kennedy disease (r = 0.443, P = .272). Gland volume correlated with CAG repeat expansion length in patients (r = 0.630, P = .047). The correlation coefficient for intraobserver reliability was 0.94 (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with Kennedy disease showed a significantly higher pituitary volume that correlated with the CAG repeat expansion length. This could reflect hypertrophy as the result of elevated gonadotropic hormone secretion caused by the androgen receptor mutation with partial androgen insensitivity.

PMID:
23744686
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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