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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1988 May-Jun;9(3):453-60.

Posterior pituitary ectopia: an MR feature of pituitary dwarfism.

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Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Using high-field-strength, 1.5-T, high-resolution MR, we identified the following complex of neurohypophyseal abnormalities in each of five pituitary dwarfs: (1) severe hypoplasia or total absence of the infundibulum; (2) absence of the posterior pituitary bright spot in its normal location; and (3) a 3-8-mm tissue nodule at the median eminence exhibiting lipidlike signal on T1-weighted images. On the basis of its signal features and the clinical absence of diabetes insipidus in these patients, the median eminence nodule appears to represent an ectopic and functional posterior pituitary gland. We propose that this anatomic derangement is the end result of a localized defect of developmental origin, possibly ischemic in nature, and involving principally the infundibular stem. Thus, human growth hormone deficiency could result from perinatal disruption of the peri-infundibular hypophyseal portal system, which in turn impairs anterior pituitary function through deprivation of direct delivery of crucial hypothalamic-releasing factors. Finally, we suggest that the trophic influence of continued axonal neurosecretion at the median eminence engages proliferation of rest cell pituicytes; a process that induces formation of an ectopic and functional posterior pituitary gland, complete with its characteristic bright spot.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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