BACKGROUND: Disturbances in the GH/IGF-I axis are reported in 25-60% of short children born small for gestational age (SGA). We hypothesized that these abnormalities might be related to abnormalities in the pituitary region. Therefore, the results of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of short SGA children were compared to MRI results of other groups of short children and to normal controls. PATIENTS AND METHODS: MRI was performed in four groups of short children: SGA children without GH deficiency (SGA group; n = 17), SGA children with isolated GH deficiency (SGA + IGHD group; n = 10), non-SGA children with isolated GH deficiency (IGHD group; n = 24) and non-SGA children with multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies (MPHD group; n = 15). MRI was also performed in children with normal stature (control group; n = 13). Pituitary height (PH) and thickness of the pituitary stalk (PS) were measured and their relationship with the maximum GH peak during a GH stimulation test, serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels was evaluated. RESULTS: Short SGA children either with or without IGHD did not show major anatomical abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary region in contrast to 58% of the non-SGA IGHD children and 87% of the MPHD children who had anatomical abnormalities. PH in SGA children without GHD was normal whereas it was significantly lower in SGA children with IGHD. The lowest PHs were measured in non-SGA children with MPHD. A moderate decrease in PH was associated with significantly lower maximum serum GH peaks and lower serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels. CONCLUSION: Measuring PHs in children with less severe GHD, who underwent MRI as part of the diagnostic process, might support the diagnosis of GHD even in the absence of anatomical abnormalities. Our study demonstrates that there is no indication to perform MRI of the pituitary region in short children born SGA without GHD.,
Clinical Endocrinology
Department of Pediatrics

Arends, N., Lip, W. V. D., Robben, S., & Hokken-Koelega, A. (2002). MRI findings of the pituitary gland in short children born small for gestational age (SGA) in comparison with growth hormone-deficient (GHD) children and children with normal stature. Clinical Endocrinology, 57(6), 719–724. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2265.2002.01605.x