Diabetes insipidus is an unfavorable prognostic factor for response to glucocorticoids in patients with autoimmune hypophysitis

Isabella Lupi, Mirco Cosottini, Patrizio P Caturegli, Luca Manetti, Claudio Urbani, Daniele Cappellani, Ilaria Scattina, Enio Martino, Claudio Marcocci, Fausto Bogazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Autoimmune hypophysitis (AH) has a variable clinical presentation and natural history; likewise, its response to glucocorticoid therapy is often unpredictable. Objective: To identify clinical and radiological findings associated with response to glucocorticoids. Design and methods: 12 consecutive patients with AH, evaluated from 2008 to 2016. AH was the exclusion diagnosis after ruling out other pituitary masses and secondary causes of hypophysitis. Mean follow-up time was 30 ± 27 months (range 12-96 months). Results: MRI identified two main patterns of presentation: global enlargement of the pituitary gland or panhypophysitis (n = 4, PH), and pituitary stalk abnormality only, or infundibulo-neuro-hypophysitis (n = 8, INH). Multiple tropin defects were more common in PH (100%) than those in INH (28% P = 0.014), whereas diabetes insipidus was more common in INH (100%) than that in PH (50%; P = 0.028). All 4 PH and 4 out of 8 INH were treated with glucocorticoids. Pituitary volume significantly reduced in all PH patients (P = 0.012), defective anterior pituitary function recovered only in the two patients without diabetes insipidus (50%) and panhypopituitarism persisted, along with diabetes insipidus, in the remaining 2 (50%). In all INH patients, either treated or untreated, pituitary stalk diameter reduced (P = 0.008) but diabetes insipidus persisted in all. Conclusions: Glucocorticoid therapy may improve anterior pituitary function in a subset of patients but has no effect on restoring posterior pituitary function. Diabetes insipidus appears as a negative prognostic factor for response to glucocorticoids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Cite this

Lupi, I., Cosottini, M., Caturegli, P. P., Manetti, L., Urbani, C., Cappellani, D., Scattina, I., Martino, E., Marcocci, C., & Bogazzi, F. (2017). Diabetes insipidus is an unfavorable prognostic factor for response to glucocorticoids in patients with autoimmune hypophysitis. European Journal of Endocrinology, 177(2), 127-135. https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-17-0123