Primary autoimmune hypophysitis (PAH) is considered an underdiagnosed disease, due to the difficulty in reaching a definitive diagnosis. PAH clinical diagnosis remains an exclusion diagnosis. We aimed to correlate PAH neuro-radiological signs to endocrine features and evaluate their prognostic role. 24 PAH cases were enrolled and classified according to neuro-radiological signs: in 12 adeno-hypophysitis (AHs), 8 infundibulo-neuro-hypophysitis (INHs) and 4 pan-hypophysitis (PHs). Secondary hypogonadism developed more frequently in INHs as compared to AHs (54.5% vs. 27.3%, p = 0.05), without no difference with PHs (p = 0.6). Diabetes insipidus occurred more frequently in INHs cases (72.7%, p < 0.001) and in PHs cases (27.3%, p = 0.007), as compared to AHs cases (0%). Similarly, all cases of GHD occurred in INHs (100%) as compared to AHs (0%, p < 0.001) and PHs (0%, p < 0.001). The pituitary stalk (PS) showed a pseudo-triangular shape (larger at the optical chiasma) in INHs and a pseudo-cylindrical shape (larger both at the optical chiasma and at the pituitary insertion) in PHs. The PS pseudo-triangular shape correlated to the occurrence of GHD and diabetes insipidus (p < 0.001/p = 0.03). At the 1-year follow-up, improvement of baseline radiological features positively correlated with the loss of the neuro-pituitary "bright spot" on T1-weighted images (OR 0.16; 95% CI 0.03-0.9 p = 0.02) and with a PS diameter at the optical chiasma level larger than 4.1 mm (AUC 0.97, sensibility 80%, specificity 100%, OR 6; 95% CI1.1-28.8, p = 0.01) Our data suggest that neuro-radiological PAH classification in PH, AH and INH can predict pituitary dysfunction and that some neuro-radiological features, such as the pituitary stalk diameter and the loss of the neuro-pituitary bright spot on T1w images can play a role as a positive prognostic marker of the radiological hypophysitis outcome.
- Diabetes insipidus