Pituitary stalk and ectopic hyperintense T1 signal on magnetic resonance imaging. Implications for anterior pituitary dysfunction

Am J Dis Child. 1993 Jun;147(6):647-52. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160300053022.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choristoma / complications
  • Choristoma / diagnosis*
  • Choristoma / metabolism
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism / etiology
  • Hypopituitarism / metabolism
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / complications
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus, Middle
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Pituitary Diseases / etiology
  • Pituitary Diseases / metabolism
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior*


  • Growth Hormone