Pituitary-hormone secretion by thyrotropinomas

Ferdinand Roelfsema, Simon Kok, Petra Kok, Alberto M. Pereira, Nienke R. Biermasz, Jan W. Smit, Marijke Frolich, Daniel M. Keenan, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Johannes A. Romijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Hormone secretion by somatotropinomas, corticotropinomas and prolactinomas exhibits increased pulse frequency, basal and pulsatile secretion, accompanied by greater disorderliness. Increased concentrations of growth hormone (GH) or prolactin (PRL) are observed in about 30% of thyrotropinomas leading to acromegaly or disturbed sexual functions beyond thyrotropin (TSH)-induced hyperthyroidism. Regulation of non-TSH pituitary hormones in this context is not well understood. We there therefore evaluated TSH, GH and PRL secretion in 6 patients with up-to-date analytical and mathematical tools by 24-h blood sampling at 10-min intervals in a clinical research laboratory. The profiles were analyzed with a new deconvolution method, approximate entropy, cross-approximate entropy, cross-correlation and cosinor regression. TSH burst frequency and basal and pulsatile secretion were increased in patients compared with controls. TSH secretion patterns in patients were more irregular, but the diurnal rhythm was preserved at a higher mean with a 2.5 h phase delay. Although only one patient had clinical acromegaly, GH secretion and IGF-I levels were increased in two other patients and all three had a significant cross-correlation between the GH and TSH. PRL secretion was increased in one patient, but all patients had a significant cross-correlation with TSH and showed decreased PRL regularity. Cross-ApEn synchrony between TSH and GH did not differ between patients and controls, but TSH and PRL synchrony was reduced in patients. We conclude that TSH secretion by thyrotropinomas shares many characteristics of other pituitary hormone-secreting adenomas. In addition, abnormalities in GH and PRL secretion exist ranging from decreased (joint) regularity to overt hypersecretion, although not always clinically obvious, suggesting tumoral transformation of thyrotrope lineage cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-210
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Approximate entropy
  • Deconvolution
  • Diurnal rhythm
  • Growth hormone
  • Hormone secretion
  • Phase shift
  • Prolactin
  • TSH
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyrotropinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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