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01.12.2020 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2020 Open Access

Molecular and Cellular Pediatrics 1/2020

Evolving pituitary hormone deficits in primarily isolated GHD: a review and experts’ consensus

Molecular and Cellular Pediatrics > Ausgabe 1/2020
Gerhard Binder, Dirk Schnabel, Thomas Reinehr, Roland Pfäffle, Helmuth-Günther Dörr, Markus Bettendorf, Berthold Hauffa, Joachim Woelfle
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Isolated growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is defined by growth failure in combination with retarded bone age, low serum insulin-like growth factor-1, and insufficient GH peaks in two independent GH stimulation tests. Congenital GHD can present at any age and can be associated with significant malformations of the pituitary-hypothalamic region or the midline of the brain. In rare instances, genetic analysis reveals germline mutations of transcription factors involved in embryogenesis of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Acquired GHD is caused by radiation, inflammation, or tumor growth. In contrast to organic GHD, idiopathic forms are more frequent and remain unexplained.
There is a risk of progression from isolated GHD to combined pituitary hormone deficiency (> 5% for the total group), which is clearly increased in children with organic GHD, especially with significant malformation of the pituitary gland. Therefore, it is prudent to exclude additional pituitary hormone deficiencies in the follow-up of children with isolated GHD by clinical and radiological observations and endocrine baseline tests. In contrast to primary disorders of endocrine glands, secondary deficiency is frequently milder in its clinical manifestation. The pituitary hormone deficiencies can develop over time from mild insufficiency to severe deficiency. This review summarizes the current knowledge on diagnostics and therapy of additional pituitary hormone deficits occurring during rhGH treatment in children initially diagnosed with isolated GHD. Although risk factors are known, there are no absolute criteria enabling exclusion of children without any risk of progress to combined pituitary hormone deficiency. Lifelong monitoring of the endocrine function of the pituitary gland is recommended in humans with organic GHD. This paper is the essence of a workshop of pediatric endocrinologists who screened the literature for evidence with respect to evolving pituitary deficits in initially isolated GHD, their diagnosis and treatment.
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