Lymphocytic hypophysitis: its expanding features

J Endocrinol Invest. 2001 Apr;24(4):262-7. doi: 10.1007/BF03343856.


Lymphocytic hypophysitis is classically defined as an inflammatory disorder confined to adenohypophysis. However, it has recently been indicated that infundibuloneurohypophysitis underlies some subsets of central diabetes insipidus (DI). Therefore, lymphocytic hypophysitis can be considered a syndrome including disorders of both the anterior pituitary (lymphocytic adenohypophysitis) and the posterior pituitary (lymphocytic infundibuloneurohypophysitis). We describe a 77-yr-old woman with lymphocytic hypophysitis presenting with headache, diplopia, general malaise and appetite loss. Head magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated pituitary swelling and dura mater thickening on the dorsum sella. Endocrinological investigations revealed both anterior and posterior pituitary dysfunction associated with primary hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Headache and diplopia spontaneously disappeared, and anterior pituitary dysfunction, general malaise and appetite loss improved after taking 10 mg hydrocortisone daily, although ACTH hyposecretion persisted. Pituitary swelling was thereafter reduced but the dura mater thickening persisted. We suggest that this case may represent a variant of lymphocytic hypophysitis in which chronic inflammatory process involves both the anterior and the posterior pituitary gland, infundibulum, dura mater on the dorsum sella and cavernous sinus. Regarding expanding features of lymphocytic hypophysitis, it may be considered a syndrome including heterogeneous disorders, of which the pathogenesis remains to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diplopia / etiology
  • Dura Mater / pathology
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Insulin
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pituitary Diseases / pathology*
  • Pituitary Hormones / blood
  • Vasopressins / metabolism


  • Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Vasopressins