ABSTRACT: The occurrence of antipituitary antibodies (APA) in patients with idiopathic hyperprolactinaemia (IH) and the effects of dopamine agonists on these antibodies and long-term pituitary function outcome have been so far not evaluated. This longitudinal study was aimed at investigating, in patients with IH the occurrence of APA and the effect of cabergoline on the pituitary function and behaviour of APA.
Sixty-six patients with IH were studied. APA (by indirect immunofluorescence) and pituitary function were investigated every year for 3 years.
Seventeen patients resulted APA positive (Group 1) and 49 APA negative (Group 2). Eight patients of Group 1 (Group 1a) and 24 of Group 2 (Group 2a) were asymptomatic and then not treated; instead, nine patients in Group 1 (Group 1b) and 25 in Group 2 (Group 2b), showing symptoms of hyperprolactinaemia, were treated with cabergoline for 2 years. Among the untreated patients, during the follow-up, those with APA positive (Group 1a) showed an increase of APA titres and PRL levels with partial pituitary impairment in some of them; instead those with APA negative (Group 2a) persisted negative with normal pituitary function despite persistent hyperprolactinaemia. Among the treated patients, those with APA positive (Group 1b) showed normalization of PRL levels, APA disappearance and recovery of pituitary function (when initially impaired) during cabergoline treatment, persisting also at last observation (off-therapy). Instead all patients of Group 2b persisted with APA negative during the follow-up with normalization of PRL levels and stable normal pituitary function during cabergoline therapy but showing a further increase of PRL at the last observation.
The presence of APA in some patients with IH suggests a possible occurrence of autoimmune hypophysitis at potential/subclinical stage; an early and prolonged cabergoline therapy could interrupt the progression to an overt clinical stage of the disease. However, the small amount of patients investigated suggests caution against generalization of our assumption and prompts to further controlled studies on a more numerous population to verify these conclusions.
Clinical Endocrinology 02/2008; 69(2):285-91. · 3.17 Impact Factor