Pituitary autoimmunity is associated with hypopituitarism in patients with primary empty sella

I. Lupi, L. Manetti, V. Raffaelli, L. Grasso, C. Sardella, M. Cosottini, A. Iannelli, M. Gasperi, F. Bogazzi, P. Caturegli, E. Martino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: Some evidence suggests that late stage autoimmune hypophysitis (AH) may result in empty sella (ES). Aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of serum pituitary antibodies (PitAb) and their correlation with pituitary function in patients with ES. Design: In this case-control study 85 patients with primary ES, 16 patients with ES secondary to head trauma, 214 healthy controls, and 16 AH were enrolled in a tertiary referral center. Methods: PitAb were assessed in all cases and controls. Endocrine function was assessed by basal hormone measurement and dynamic testing in all ES cases. Results: PitAb prevalence was higher in primary ES (6%) than in healthy subjects (0.5% p=0.003) and lower than in AH patients (50%, p<0.0001). PitAb were not found in patients with secondary ES. Hypopituitarism was found in 49% of primary ES and in 62% of secondary ES (p=0.34). A positive correlation between the presence of PitAb and hypopituitarism was found in primary ES (p=0.02). Conclusions: The significant association between pituitary autoimmunity and hypopituitarism suggests that ES, in selected cases, could be the final result of AH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e240-e244
JournalJournal of endocrinological investigation
Issue number8 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Empty sella
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Pituitary antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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