Correlation between magnetic resonance imaging of posterior pituitary and neurohypophyseal function in children with diabetes insipidus

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Apr;74(4):795-800. doi: 10.1210/jcem.74.4.1548343.


The posterior pituitary lobe and stalk were studied by magnetic resonance imaging in 20 children with diabetes insipidus of different origins: primary familial autosomal dominant (n = 2) or idiopathic (n = 2), and secondary to craniopharyngioma (n = 6, resected in 5), to Langerhans cell histiocytosis (n = 5), to excessive water intake (dipsogenic; n = 3), to renal vasopressin insensitivity (n = 1), and to osmoreceptor dysfunction (n = 1). Of the four children with primary diabetes insipidus, the posterior bright signal was recognizable in two with the familial autosomal dominant form and one with the idiopathic form; in the latter, the pituitary stalk was thin, while it was normal in the first two patients; no posterior hyperintense signal with enlarged and gadolinium-enhanced pituitary stalk was observed in the fourth. The posterior hyperintense signal was absent without evidence of ectopic posterior pituitary tissue regeneration in five children with surgically removed craniopharyngioma and was doubtful in the child with unresected craniopharyngioma; the stalk was unrecognizable in all patients. In the five children with Langherans cell histiocytosis, the posterior bright signal was absent, while the stalk was normal in two and unexpectedly enlarged in three (uniformly in two and mainly at the level of median eminence and hypothalamus in one). All five patients with dipsogenic or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus or osmoreceptor dysfunction had normal images of posterior pituitary lobe and stalk. Normal posterior pituitary bright signal and stalk were found in all 25 healthy control children. Plasma vasopressin was undetectable in all patients except in nephrogenic one, in the child with osmoreceptor dysfunction, and in two of three dipsogenic children, the third mimicking partial neurogenic diabetes insipidus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deamino Arginine Vasopressin / pharmacology
  • Diabetes Insipidus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus / pathology*
  • Diabetes Insipidus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / metabolism
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / pathology*
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / physiology*
  • Vasopressins / blood
  • Water Deprivation / physiology


  • Vasopressins
  • Deamino Arginine Vasopressin