Acromegaly is characterized by GH and IGF-1 hypersecretion and GH and IGF-1 play important roles in regulating body composition and glucose homeostasis.

Pierre Marie coined the term 'acromegaly' in 1886 and linked this to a distinct clinical disease with a characteristic clinical picture. However, Pierre Marie was not the first physician to give a full record of the clinical picture of acromegaly, but others had preceded him, like the Dutch physician Johannes Wier.

After Marie, pituitary enlargement was noted in almost all patients with acromegaly. Subsequently it was discovered that pituitary hyperfunction caused by a pituitary tumour was indeed the cause of acromegaly.

An increased rate of acromegaly was reported in industrialized areas, suggesting an involvement of environmental pollutants in the pathogenesis and behavior of GH secreting pituitary neuroendocrine tumors 1).

MRI of the Pituitary Gland By Jean-François Bonneville, Fabrice Bonneville, Françoise Cattin, Sonia Nagi

This clinically oriented book will familiarize the reader with all aspects of the diagnosis of tumors and other disorders of the pituitary gland by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The coverage includes acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, Rathke cleft cysts, prolactinomas, incidentalomas, Clinically Non-Functioning Pituitary Neuroendocrine Tumors, other lesions of the sellar region, hypophysitis, and central diabetes insipidus. Normal radiologic anatomy and the numerous normal variants are described, and guidance is also provided on difficulties, artifacts, and other pitfalls. The book combines concise text and high-quality images with a question and answer format geared toward the needs of the practitioner. MRI is today considered the cornerstone in the diagnosis of diseases of the hypophyseal-hypothalamic region but the relatively small size of the pituitary gland, its deep location, the many normal anatomic variants, and the often tiny size of lesions can hinder precise evaluation of the anatomic structures and particularly the pituitary gland itself. Radiologists and endocrinologists will find MRI of the Pituitary Gland to be full of helpful information on this essential examination, and the book will also be of interest to internists and neurosurgeons.

Acromegaly is typically caused by a growth hormone-secreting pituitary neuroendocrine tumor, driving excess secretion of insulin-like growth factor 1. Acromegaly may result in a variety of cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, metabolic, musculoskeletal, and neoplastic comorbidities. Early diagnosis and adequate treatment are essential to mitigate excess mortality associated with acromegaly. PubMed searches were conducted using the keywords growth hormone, acromegaly, pituitary neuroendocrine tumor, diagnosis, treatment, pituitary surgery, medical therapy, and radiation therapy (between 1981 and 2021). The diagnosis of acromegaly is confirmed on biochemical grounds, including elevated serum insulin-like growth factor 1 and lack of growth hormone suppression after glucose administration. Pituitary magnetic resonance imaging is advised in patients with acromegaly to identify an underlying pituitary neuroendocrine tumor. Transsphenoidal pituitary surgery is generally first-line therapy for patients with acromegaly. However, patients with larger and invasive tumors (macroadenomas) are often not in remission postoperatively. Medical therapies, including somatostatin receptor ligands, cabergoline, and pegvisomant, can be recommended to patients with persistent disease after surgery. Select patients may also be candidates for preoperative medical therapy. In addition, primary medical therapy has a role for patients without mass effect on the optic chiasm who are unlikely to be cured by surgery. Clinical, endocrine, imaging, histologic, and molecular markers may help predict the response to medical therapy; however, confirmation in prospective studies is needed. Radiation therapy is usually a third-line option and is increasingly administered by a variety of stereotactic techniques. An improved understanding of the pathogenesis of acromegaly may ultimately lead to the design of novel, efficacious therapies for this serious condition 2)

Fortunati N, Guaraldi F, Zunino V, Penner F, D'Angelo V, Zenga F, Pecori Giraldi F, Catalano MG, Arvat E. Effects of environmental pollutants on signaling pathways in rat pituitary GH3 adenoma cells. Environ Res. 2017 Jul 18;158:660-668. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.07.015. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28732322.
Ershadinia N, Tritos NA. Diagnosis and Treatment of Acromegaly: An Update. Mayo Clin Proc. 2022 Feb;97(2):333-346. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2021.11.007. PMID: 35120696.
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