Effect of thyrotropin-releasing factor on serum thyroid-stimulating hormone. An approach to distinguishing hypothalamic from pituitary forms of idiopathic hypopituitary dwarfism.J Clin Invest. 1971 Oct; 50(10):2219-25.JCI
To test the hypothesis that the primary defect in some patients with idiopathic hypopituitary dwarfism is failure to secrete hypothalamic hypophysiotropic-releasing factors, synthetic thyrotropin-releasing factor (TRF), 500 mug, wa given intravenously, and timed venous samples obtained for determination of the concentration of plasma TSH by radioimmunoassay in three groups of subjects: (a) 11 patients without evidence of endocrine or systemic disease, (group I) (b) 8 with isolated growth hormone deficiency and normal thyroid function, (group II) and (c) 9 patients with idiopathic hypopituitary dwarfism and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) deficiency (group III). The mean fasting plasma TSH value was 4.1 muU/ml in group I, and 3.9 muU/ml in group II; in both groups there was a brisk rise in plasma TSH to peak levels of 12-45 muU/ml at 30-45 min, and a fall toward base line levels at 120 min. All children in group III had basal TSH levels of < 1.5 muU/ml; one failed to respond to TRF; eight exhibited a rise in plasma TSH with peak values comparable with those in groups I and II. In four of eight children in group III who responded to TRF, the TSH response was delayed and the initial rise in plasma TSH was not detectable until 10-60 min. In these four patients, plasma TSH levels continued to rise at 120 min. The mean fasting concentration of plasma thyroxine iodide (T(4)) in subjects with normal thyroid function (groups I and II) was 5.6 mug/100 ml, and the mean plasma T(4) level at 120 min was 6.6 mug/100 ml. This difference between fasting and postTRF plasma T(4) was significant (P < 0.001) by paired analysis. Mean fasting plasma T(4) concentration in group III patients was 1.3 mug/100 ml; after TRF a significant rise in T(4) concentration was not detected in this group. The results indicate that TRF test is useful in distinguishing between primary hypothalamic and pituitary forms of TSH deficiency. In light of the evidence of TRF deficiency in eight of nine patients with idiopathic hypopituitary dwarfism, it seems likely that in these patients, other pituitary hormone deficiencies may be attributable to deficiency of their respective releasing factors.