F1000Research (2017-02-01)

Advances in understanding hypopituitarism [version 1; referees: 2 approved]

  • Mareike R. Stieg,
  • Ulrich Renner,
  • Günter K. Stalla,
  • Anna Kopczak

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6


Read online

The understanding of hypopituitarism has increased over the last three years. This review provides an overview of the most important recent findings. Most of the recent research in hypopituitarism has focused on genetics. New diagnostic techniques like next-generation sequencing have led to the description of different genetic mutations causative for congenital dysfunction of the pituitary gland while new molecular mechanisms underlying pituitary ontogenesis have also been described. Furthermore, hypopituitarism may occur because of an impairment of the distinctive vascularization of the pituitary gland, especially by disruption of the long vessel connection between the hypothalamus and the pituitary. Controversial findings have been published on post-traumatic hypopituitarism. Moreover, autoimmunity has been discussed in recent years as a possible reason for hypopituitarism. With the use of new drugs such as ipilimumab, hypopituitarism as a side effect of pharmaceuticals has come into focus. Besides new findings on the pathomechanism of hypopituitarism, there are new diagnostic tools in development, such as new growth hormone stimulants that are currently being tested in clinical trials. Moreover, cortisol measurement in scalp hair is a promising tool for monitoring cortisol levels over time.