In vivo assessment of pituitary gland volume with magnetic resonance imaging: the effect of age

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990 Aug;71(2):505-8. doi: 10.1210/jcem-71-2-505.


We used sagittal and coronal T1 weighted magnetic resonance images, at 1.5 Tesla, to measure the height, width, length, and cross-sectional area and to generate two estimates of pituitary gland volume in 35 normal volunteers aged 26-79 yr (19 females and 16 males). Subjects over 50 yr of age had significantly smaller pituitary gland height (P = 0.03), area (P = 0.04), and volume (P = 0.04) than those under 50 yr (by two-tailed t test). Overall, age was negatively correlated with pituitary volume (V1: r = -0.51; P = 0.003; V2: r = -0.47; P = 0.008), area (r = -0.43; P = 0.009), and height (r = -0.46; P = 0.005), but not with pituitary length or width. There were no statistically significant differences in pituitary size between men and women (by two-tailed t test). These findings suggest that pituitary gland height provides a good single measure for the assessment of pituitary gland size and that age must be controlled for in studies of pituitary gland size.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Gland / anatomy & histology
  • Pituitary Gland / growth & development*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors