Objective: To determine if improved delineation of hypothalamic-pituitary neuroanatomy by magnetic resonance imaging, especially the posterior pituitary hyperintense T1 signal, can be correlated with anterior and posterior pituitary endocrine function.
Design: Children with ectopic posterior pituitary tissue were identified at the Endocrine Clinic of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (Pa) and their records were reviewed.
Participants: Ten children with ectopic posterior pituitary tissue.
Measurements: Anterior pituitary hormone status, determined by standard testing, was correlated with the morphologic anomalies of the hypothalamic-pituitary region on magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Patients were categorized by the appearance of the pituitary stalk based on the magnetic resonance image: attenuation of the stalk (group 1) or nonvisualization of the stalk (group 2). Patients in group 1 retained partial anterior pituitary function. Patients in group 2 had panhypopituitarism.
Conclusion: Prospective evaluation of affected individuals may provide insight into the pathophysiologic mechanisms of idiopathic hypopituitarism.