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Hypothalamic?pituitary insufficiency following infectious diseases of the central nervous system

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Hypothalamic?pituitary insufficiency following infectious diseases of the central nervous system

S Schaefer, N Boegershausen, S Meyer, D Ivan, K Schepelmann1 and P H Kann

Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Philipps University Hospital, Baldingerstrasse, D-35033 Marburg, Germany and 1 Department of Neurology, Philipps University Hospital, Marburg, Germany


(Correspondence should be addressed to S Schaefer; Email: stscha@med.uni-marburg.de)


Objective: Hypothalamic?pituitary insufficiency may have diverse causes. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of hypothalamic?pituitary insufficiency in patients with previous infectious diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) of different etiologies and mild-to-moderate clinical course.


Design: Patient series. Basal and stimulated (insulin tolerance test) pituitary function testing was performed in 19 patients with previous neuroborreliosis, encephalitis, or meningitis following an interval of between 10 and 56 months (mean 26.1?13.1 months) after the acute event.


Results: Four patients (21%; two males, two females) showed an isolated corticotropic insufficiency (peak cortisol <181.25 ?g/l during the insulin tolerance test). Two patients (11%, males) showed borderline gonadotropic insufficiency (basal testosterone between 2.4 and 3.0 ?g/l). No patient had somatotropic or thyrotropic insufficiency or evidence for diabetes insipidus; all had prolactin concentrations within the reference range.


Conclusions: Hypothalamic?pituitary dysfunction and especially isolated corticotropic insufficiency may develop in a relevant proportion of patients after infectious diseases of the CNS.


Gina, I thought you especially might be interested!




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Robin, I had yearslong, may still have CNS Lyme/neuroborreliosis. I realize now how many of the symptoms I'd had, the ones that made me so much sicker and in a different way from other Lyme patients, were adrenal suppression related. When I went on high dose doxy, that has to be why my nighttime itching went away overnight, too.

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