A case of isolated hypothalamitis with a literature review and a comparison with autoimmune hypophysitis

Tetsuro Niri, Ichiro Horie, Hiromi Kawahara, Takao Ando, Noriaki Fukuhara, Hiroshi Nishioka, Naoko Inoshita, Haruki Fujisawa, Atsushi Suzuki, Yoshihisa Sugimura, Norio Abiru, Atsushi Kawakami

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Idiopathic hypothalamitis is a rare condition that can cause anterior pituitary dysfunction and central diabetes insipidus (CDI), occasionally accompanied by a disturbance of autonomic regulation known as hypothalamic syndrome. This condition has been described as a subtype of autoimmune (lymphocytic) hypophysitis; however, some cases of isolated hypothalamic involvement with no inflammatory lesions in either the pituitary gland or infundibulum have been reported. The detailed epidemiology and pathophysiology of isolated hypothalamitis have not been clarified. We herein report a case of a solitary hypothalamic lesion in a young woman who showed spontaneous development of CDI and panhypopituitarism accompanied by hyperphagia. The hypothalamic lesion increased from 11 × 7 to 17 × 7 mm over 16 months based on the sagittal slices of magnetic resonance imaging examinations. The negative results for anti-pituitary antibodies and anti-Rabphilin-3A antibodies suggested that upward extension of lymphocytic adenohypophysitis or infundibulo-neurohypophysitis was unlikely. Infectious disease, granulomatosis, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, vasculitis, and systemic neoplastic diseases were excluded by the findings of a laboratory investigation, cerebrospinal fluid examination, and imaging studies. To make a definitive diagnosis, we performed a ventriculoscopic biopsy of the hypothalamic lesion. Histology revealed an infiltration of nonspecific lymphoplasmacytes with no evidence of neoplasm, which was consistent with a diagnosis of idiopathic hypothalamitis. Subsequently, the patient was treated with methylprednisolone pulse therapy followed by oral prednisolone. The hypothalamic lesion improved and remained undetectable after withdrawal of the prednisolone, suggesting that the glucocorticoid treatment was effective for isolated hypothalamitis while the patient remains dependent on the replacement of multiple hormones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
Journalendocrine journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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