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Hypopituitarism is a medical term describing the deficiency (hypo) of one or more hormones of the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus regulates pituitary secretion by the production of releasing hormones and posterior pituitary hormones and hence its dysfunction can also lead to hypopituitarism.
In endocrinology, deficiency of one or multiple hormones of the anterior pituitary is generally referred to as hypopituitarism, while deficiency of the posterior lobe generally only leads to central diabetes insipidus. The deficiency of all anterior pituitary hormones is termed panhypopituitarism.
Additional recommended knowledge
These hormones are secreted in individually characteristic pulsatile patterns, often with distinct circadian rhythm, rather than at steady rates throughout 24 hours.
The posterior pituitary is the site of release of the nonapeptide hormones antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and oxytocin, the former regulating plasma osmolarity and the latter regulating uterine contractions during childbirth as well milk ejection from the breasts.
Multiple hormone deficiencies
Deficiency of a single pituitary hormone occurs less commonly than deficiency of more than one hormone. Sometimes referred to as progressive pituitary hormone deficiency or partial hypopituitarism, there is usually a predictable order of hormone loss.
Generally, growth hormone is lost first, then luteinizing hormone deficiency follows. The loss of follicle-stimulating hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotopic hormones and prolactin typically follow much later. The progressive loss of pituitary hormone secretion is usually a slow process, which can occur over a period of months or years. Hypopituitarism does occasionally start suddenly with rapid onset of symptoms
Most people with hypopituitarism lack growth hormone as well as one or more others. As for the posterior pituitary, antidiuretic hormone deficiency is the main problem, while oxytocin deficiency rarely causes clinically significant problems.
Hypopituitarism and panhypopituitarism can be congenital or acquired. A partial list of causes and forms:
Hypopituitarism may come to medical attention by symptoms or features of pituitary hormone deficiency (e.g., poor growth, hypoglycemia, micropenis, delayed puberty, polyuria, impaired libido, fatigue, and many others), or because the physician has diagnosed one of the many disorders and conditions associated with hypopituitarism listed above and tests for it. A provocative test (triple bolus test) measures the secretory response of the pituitary to a stimulus (other hormones, drugs, exercise, etc.) by measuring serum levels of the hormone involved.
Hypopituitarism and panhypopituitarism are treated by replacement of appropriate hormones. Since most of the anterior pituitary hormones are proteins or glycoproteins released in pulsatile patterns, whose functions are to induce secretion of smaller molecule hormones (thyroid hormones and steroids), it is simpler and less expensive for most purposes to simply replace the target gland hormones. There are a few exceptions, such as fertility induction.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hypopituitarism". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|