Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 ME7

The sequelae of brain injury: is the pituitary involved?

Fatih Tanriverdi


Department of Endocrinology, Erciyes University Medical School, Kayseri, Turkey.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) which is a worldwide public health problem has been recently recognized as a cause of neuroendocrine dysfunction. Pituitary dysfunction due to TBI may be partial or complete and in retrospective studies as many as 25–50% of patients have been demonstrated to have some degree of pituitary hormone deficiencies. Recently five prospective studies investigating the 12 months follow-up of anterior pituitary function after TBI have been published. Based on these and one recently published 3 years prospective study, pituitary dysfunction in brain-injured patients may improve over time or although rare, may also worsen. Similar to TBI, aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage was also demonstrated as a risk factor for pituitary dysfunction.

Another kind of brain injury is chronic repetitive trauma which is seen in combative sports. Concussion, a common lesion after TBI, is an injury associated with sports including boxing and kickboxing. Until recently, there was no study reporting pituitary dysfunction due to sports induced head trauma. In a preliminary study, we have investigated pituitary functions in amateur boxers for the first time and GH deficiency was very common among retired amateur boxers. In another study, amateur kickboxing is demonstrated to be a novel cause of hypopituitarism and kickboxers are found to be at risk for hypopituitarism.

Little is known regarding the pathogenesis of brain injury induced hypopituitarism due to various causes. Interesting novel studies that will highlight this field will be discussed.

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