The pituitary-thyroid axis in patients with pituitary disorders.Horm Metab Res. 1989 Jul; 21(7):387-90.HM
The pituitary-thyroid axis of 12 patients, exposed to transsphenoidal pituitary microsurgery because of nonfunctioning adenomas (6), prolactinomas (3) and craniopharyngioma (1), or to major pituitary injury (1 apoplexy, 1 accidental injury), was controlled more than 6 months following the incidents. The patients did not receive thyroid replacement therapy and were evaluated by measurement of the serum concentration of thyroxine (T4), 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), 3,3',5'-triiodothyronine (rT3), T3-resin uptake test and thyrotropin (TSH, IRMA method) before and after 200 micrograms thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) iv. The examination also included measurement of prolactin (PRL) and cortisol (C) in serum. Apart from 1 patient with pituitary apoplexy all had normal basal TSH levels and 9 showed a significant TSH response to TRH. Compared to 40 normal control subjects the 12 patients had significantly decreased levels of T4, T3 and rT3 (expressed in free indices), while the TSH levels showed no change. Five of the patients, studied before and following surgery, had all decreased and subnormal FT4I (free T4 index) after surgery, but unchanged FT3I and TSH. The levels of FT4I were positively correlated to both those of FT3I and FrT3I, but not to TSH. The TSH and thyroid hormone values showed no relationship to the levels of PRL or C of the patients exposed to surgery. It is concluded that the risk of hypothyroidism in patients exposed to pituitary microsurgery is not appearing from the TSH response to TRH, but from the thyroid hormone levels.