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J Neurotrauma. 2007 Jan;24(1):119-27.

Abnormalities of pituitary function after traumatic brain injury in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Petz Aladár County Teaching Hospital, Vasvári P. u 2, H-9023 Gyor, Hungary.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a frequent cause of neuroendocrine dysfunction typically in male adults. Head injuries are also common in childhood, but only a few case reports outlined the endocrine consequences. The aim of this study was to reveal anterior pituitary function in children with history of hospitalization due to mild to severe head trauma. Our endocrine follow-up study was performed between October 2003 and February 2004 in the Pediatric Department of Petz Aladár County Teaching Hospital, Gyor, Hungary. Twenty-six children (17 boys and nine girls, aged 11.47 +/- 0.75 years) at 30.6 +/- 8.3 months after head injury and 21 age-matched controls were enrolled. Basal and stimulated anterior pituitary and peripheral hormone concentrations were measured by routine laboratory methods. Pituitary dysfunction was detected in 61% of patients with TBI history. All growth hormone (GH) parameters measured and calculated were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in TBI group than in controls after L-DOPA stimulation. Similar difference was detected 60 min after insulin provocation. Forty-two percent of all TBI children showed insufficient growth hormone (GH) response in both stimulation tests, 73% of these cases were boys. Cortisol levels of TBI patients were significantly (p < 0.05) lower all through the insulin test than values measured in control group. The degree of pituitary dysfunction was independent from the severity of TBI. Our study confirms the high risk for hypopituitarism in children with TBI despite the lack of obvious clinical symptoms. We suggest screening of pituitary function after any kind of brain trauma requiring hospitalization in childhood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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