Markers of humoral and cell-mediated immune response in primary autoimmune hypophysitis: a pilot study

Sabrina Chiloiro, Antonella Giampietro, Flavia Angelini, Vincenzo Arena, Egidio Stigliano, Tommaso Tartaglione, Pier Paolo Mattogno, Quintino Giorgio D’Alessandris, Liverana Lauretti, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Laura De Marinis, Antonio Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Primary autoimmune hypophysitis (PAHs) is a rare inflammatory disease of the pituitary gland. Although largely investigated, the pathogenesis of PAH is not completely clarified. We aimed to investigate the immune response in PAHs. Material and methods: Serum anti-pituitary and anti-hypothalamus antibodies (respectively APAs and AHAs) were investigated though an indirect immunofluorescence on monkey hypophysis and hypothalamus slides, serum cytokines though an array membrane and cell-mediated immunity though the white blood cells count. Results: Nineteen PAH cases entered the study. APA or AHA were identified in all cases. APA were detected in 13 patients (68.4%) and AHA in 13 patients (68.4%). Ten patients (52.6%) were simultaneously positive for both APA and AHA. The prevalence of APAs and AHAs was higher as compared to those observed in 50 health controls (respectively 14% p < 0.001 and 24% p = 0.004) and in 100 not-secreting pituitary adenoma (NFPAs) (respectively 22% p = 0.002 and 8% p < 0.001). Similarly, the prevalence of simultaneous positivity for APA and AHA (52.9%) was higher as compared to the those detected in patients affected by NFPAs (0%; p < 0.001) and in health controls (16% p = 0.002). No differences were identified between PAHs and controls at qualitative and quantitative analysis of serum cytokines and white blood cells count. Conclusions: This study suggest that APA and AHA may be detected in an high percentage of PAH cases and that their simultaneous identification may be useful for the differential diagnosis between PAH and NFPAs, in an appropriate clinical context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Anti-pituitary antibody
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cell mediated immune response
  • Hypopituitarism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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