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Eur J Endocrinol. 2011 Sep;165(3):411-20. doi: 10.1530/EJE-11-0437. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Posterior pituitary (PP) evaluation in patients with anterior pituitary defect associated with ectopic PP and septo-optic dysplasia.

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Department of Pediatrics Epidemiology and Biostatistics Section, Scientific Directorate Pediatric Neuroradiology, IRCCS G. Gaslini Institute, University of Genova, Largo Gerolamo Gaslini 5, 16147 Genova, Italy.



Controversies exist about posterior pituitary (PP) function in subjects with ectopic PP (EPP) and with cerebral midline defects and/or their co-occurrence. We investigate water and electrolyte disturbances in patients at risk for PP dysfunction.


The study was conducted in a single Pediatric Endocrinology Research Unit.


Forty-two subjects with childhood-onset GH deficiency were subdivided into five groups: normal magnetic resonance imaging (n=8, group 1); EPP (n=15, group 2); septo-optic dysplasia (SOD) with normal PP (n=4, group 3); EPP and SOD without (n=7, group 4), and with additional midline brain abnormalities (n=8, group 5). At a mean age of 16.0±1.1 years, they underwent a 120 min i.v. infusion with hypertonic 5% saline and evaluation of plasma osmolality (Posm), arginine vasopressin (AVP), thirst score (in groups 1 and 2), and urinary osmolality were performed.


Mean Posm and AVP significantly increased from baseline scores (284.7±4.9 mosm/kg and 0.6±0.2 pmol/l) to 120 min after saline infusion (300.5±8.0 mosm/kg and 10.3±3.3 pmol/l, P<0.0001). Group 5 showed higher mean Posm and lower mean AVP at all time points (P<0.0001). Mean thirst score did not show a significantly different trend between the groups 1 and 2. Urine osmolality was above 750 mosm/kg in all but seven patients after osmotic challenge.


Patients with midline brain abnormalities and EPP have defective osmoregulated AVP. Patients with EPP and congenital hypopituitarism have normal PP function.

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