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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Interactions between hypothalamic pituitary thyroid axis and other pituitary dysfunctions

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Central hypothyroidism is defined as low circulating free thyroxine (free T4) with inappropriately low circulating thyrotropin (TSH), in context of a hypothalamic pituitary pathology. Rare cases of idiopathic central hypothyroidism caused by a functional defect may occur, and the condition is often overlooked due to difficulty in achieving the correct diagnosis, sparse symptomatology of the condition and a high risk of misinterpretion of the biochemical changes in central hypothyroidism. Central hypothyroidism is mainly seen in patients with hypothalamic-pituitary pathology due to one of many possible aetiologies, where other hormone deficiencies often co-exist, and both the presence of other deficiencies and their replacement have a strong influence on the measurement of the thyroid-related hormones and thereby interpretation of the thyroid function variables in relation to the clinical impact of thyroid hormone substitution therapy. Conversely, lack of thyroid hormone has a similar strong influence on the interpretation of other pituitary hormone axes, as well as their replacement. Undertreating patients with central hypothyroidism may have serious metabolic consequences with a potentially increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity. The present review thus aims at describing central hypothyroidism, by an overview of interactions of hypothyroidism with other pituitary hormones, diagnosing/testing for central hypothyroidism, and focusing on consequences of undertreatment. Finally, it is mentioned how to deal with new diagnostic settings with lower a priori likelihood of hypopituitarism, particularly in view of the importance of stringent diagnostic testing in order to avoid overdiagnosing central hypothyroidism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrine
Volume62
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)519-27
ISSN1355-008X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2018

ID: 55349682