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Handb Clin Neurol. 2014;124:127-38. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-59602-4.00009-5.

Central regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis: focus on clinical aspects.

Author information

1
Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: e.fliers@amc.uva.nl.
2
Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Paediatric Endocrinology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The hypothalamus is the most prominent brain region involved in setpoint regulation of the thyroid axis. It generates the diurnal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) rhythm, and it plays a central role in the adaptation of the thyroid axis to environmental factors such as caloric deprivation or infection. Many studies, including studies in human post-mortem tissue samples, have confirmed a key role for the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) neuron in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in thyroid axis regulation. In addition to their negative feedback action on TRH neurons in the hypothalamus, intrahypothalamic thyroid hormones can also modulate metabolism in adipose tissue and the liver via the autonomic nervous system. Congenital or acquired dysfunction of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland may result in central hypothyroidism (CeH). In the Netherlands, the prevalence of permanent congenital CeH as detected by neonatal screening is approximately 1 in 18000. In most neonates congenital CeH is accompanied by additional anterior pituitary hormone deficiencies, and many show clear morphological abnormalities such as a small anterior gland, a thin or absent pituitary stalk, or an ectopic posterior pituitary gland. Recently, a mutation in the immunoglobulin superfamily member 1 (IGSF1) gene was reported as a novel cause of X-linked, apparently isolated CeH occurring in neonates, children and adults. In adults, the most frequent cause of acquired CeH is a pituitary macroadenoma, usually accompanied by other pituitary hormone deficiencies. Central hyperthyroidism is a rare disorder, especially in children. In adults, it is mostly caused by a TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma.

KEYWORDS:

HPT axis; PVN; TRH; TSH; central hyperthyroidism; central hypothyroidism

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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