South African Medical Journal

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The role of releasing hormones in the diagnosis of hypopituitarism

LA Distiller, JE Morley, S Zail


Luteinising hormone-releasing factor and thyrotrophinreleasing factor were used in conjunction with the insulin tolerance test in 9 patients with known or suspected panhypopituitarism. It appears that growth hormone and luteinising hormone fail early in panhypopituitarism. Cortisol and thyroid-stimulating hormone production fail later. On the basis of this study, it is suggested that luteinising hormone-releasing factor, alone or combined with thyrotrophin-releasing factor, may prove a suitable sensitive screening test of pituitary function in patients with panhypopituitarism due to pituitary tumour or occurring after radiation therapy. The hypothalamic type of response seen after administration of the two releasing factors in many of the patients in this series who had had radiation therapy to the pituitary gland, suggests that hypothala'mic damage may follow this form of therapy.

S. Afr. Med. J., 48, 1612 (1974).

AJOL African Journals Online