Cushing's disease and idiopathic intracranial hypertension: case report and review of underlying pathophysiological mechanisms

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Nov;95(11):4850-4. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-0896. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Abstract

Context: Several studies have reported an association between idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) and deficits of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Case illustration: A 33-yr-old woman with Cushing's disease underwent successful surgical resection of a pituitary adenoma and developed IIH 11 months later after inadvertent withdrawal of oral glucocorticoids.

Methods: A review of the literature was conducted to identify previous studies pertaining to IIH in association with neuroendocrine disease, focusing on reports related to HPA axis dysfunction.

Results: A number of patients developing IIH due to a relative deficiency in glucocorticoids, after surgical or medical management for Cushing's disease, withdrawal from glucocorticoid replacement, or as an initial presentation of Addison's disease, have been reported. Hypotheses regarding the underlying pathophysiology of IIH in this context and, in particular, the role of cortisol and its relationship to other neuroendocrine and inflammatory mediators that may regulate the homeostasis of cerebrospinal fluid production and absorption are reviewed.

Conclusion: In a subset of patients, dysfunction of the HPA axis appears to play a role in the development of IIH. Hormonal control of cerebrospinal fluid production and absorption may be regulated by inflammatory mediators and the enzyme 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1. Further study of neuroendocrine markers in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid may be an avenue for further research in IIH.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / complications*
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / complications*
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / surgery
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / chemically induced
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / complications*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome*

Substances

  • Glucocorticoids