Neurology India
menu-bar5 Open access journal indexed with Index Medicus
  Users online: 2908  
 Home | Login 
About Editorial board Articlesmenu-bullet NSI Publicationsmenu-bullet Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe Videos Etcetera Contact
  Navigate Here 
 Resource Links
  »  Similar in PUBMED
 »  Search Pubmed for
 »  Search in Google Scholar for
 »Related articles
  »  Article in PDF (1,615 KB)
  »  Citation Manager
  »  Access Statistics
  »  Reader Comments
  »  Email Alert *
  »  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this Article
 »  Abstract
 » Introduction
 » Patients and Methods
 » Results
 » Discussion
 » Acknowledgements
 »  References
 »  Article Figures
 »  Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded87    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 6    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents    
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 280-284

Dynamic pituitary hormones change after traumatic brain injury

Department of Neurosurgery, Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Hospital, Shanghai, China

Date of Submission16-Jan-2014
Date of Decision07-Apr-2014
Date of Acceptance30-May-2014
Date of Web Publication18-Jul-2014

Correspondence Address:
Ping Zheng
Department of Neurosurgery, Shanghai Pudong New area People's Hospital, Shanghai
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: This study was supported by a Grant for the Promotion of Science, the Ministry of Health, Pudong New area, Shanghai China (grant PW2011A-13), Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.136922

Rights and Permissions

 » Abstract 

Objective: To study the dynamic changes of pituitary hormones in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to correlate the severity and neurological outcome. Patients and Methods: Dynamic changes in the pituitary hormones were evaluated in 164 patients with TBI on day-1, day-7, day-14, day-21, and day-28 post injury. Admission TBI severity and long-term outcome were assessed with Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score. The pituitary hormonal changes were correlated with TBI severity and outcome. Results: Of the 164 patients included in the study, pituitary dysfunction was found in 84 patients and in the remaining 80 patients pituitary function was normal. Most of the pituitary hormone deficiencies observed resolved over time; however, a significant proportion of patients had pituitary dysfunction at one month post injury. The hormones associated with poor outcome included growth hormone, thyrotropic hormone, and gonadotropic hormone. Conclusion: Dynamic changes of pituitary hormones in patients with TBI may reflect the severity of injury and also determine the outcome. Deficiency of growth hormone, gonadotropic hormone, and thyrotropic hormone can adversely affect neurological outcome.

Keywords: Hypopituitarism, pituitary, pituitary dysfunction, traumatic brain injury

How to cite this article:
Zheng P, He B, Tong W. Dynamic pituitary hormones change after traumatic brain injury. Neurol India 2014;62:280-4

How to cite this URL:
Zheng P, He B, Tong W. Dynamic pituitary hormones change after traumatic brain injury. Neurol India [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Nov 29];62:280-4. Available from:

 » Introduction Top

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with lasting functional disability. [1] Some of the functional disability was attributed to post TBI hypopituitarism (HPT), [2],[3] The reported incidence of post TBI hypopituitarism varied between 21% and 54%. [4] However, few studies have addressed the dynamic changes of pituitary hormones in the acute and subacute stages with initial severity and neurological outcomes. In this study, we dynamically evaluated the pituitary hormones within one month post TBI and also examined its correlation with the initial severity of injury and neurological outcome.

 » Patients and Methods Top

The study prospectively enrolled 164 patients with TBI patients (94 males and 70 females; age range, 23-73 years; mean age 48 years) between July 2011 and April 2013. The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board. Written patient consent was obtained from patient or family relatives before inclusion in the study.

All patients had hormone testing at post injury day-1, day-7, day-14, day-21, and day-28. Clinical data collected included age, gender, initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at 6 months. GCS score of 13-15 was considered mild TBI, 9-12 as moderate TBI, and ≤ 8 as severe TBI. TBI patients with hormone replacement before and after brain insults and those with diabetes mellitus and other endocrine diseases were excluded from the study. None of the patients had history of any known pituitary disorders, and none were taking medications that would affect hypothalamopituitary function.

Blood samples were primarily collected at 7 am in all the enrolled subjects. Upon collection, each sample was centrifuged, aliquoted in polypropylene cryovials, and stored at −80° Celsius until the time of hormonal assay. Hypopituitarism (HPT) was defined with single or multiple pituitary axis deficiency in accordance with our previous report. [5] All hormone levels were measured using radioimmunoassay.

The neurological outcome was evaluated using GOS at 6 months post injury. GOS: 5 = good recovery, 4 = moderate disability, 3 = severe disability, 2 = persistent vegetative status, and 1 = death.

For statistical analysis, we used SPSS 20.0 (Chicago, IL). We compared demographic data such as age and GOS scores using the one-way ANOVA among the groups, and Chi-square test for categorical data. All hormone profiles were compared between groups (according to the severity of TBI) with repetitive ANOVA. In addition, we tried to define the correlation between pituitary dysfunction and initial injury severity and neurological outcome. Value P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

 » Results Top

Demographic data are summarized in [Table 1]. There were no significant differences in regard to age and gender distribution among these groups. The incidence of HPT in patients with GCS 3-8, 9-12, and 13-15 scores was 63.5%, 58.3%, and 30.2%, respectively (P < 0.01).
Table 1: Basic characteristics of TBI patients

Click here to view

Hormone profiles in subgroup patients with different brain severity

The incidence of post TBI hypopituitarism in the total cohort was 51.2% at day-28. The different hormone profiles are listed in [Figure 1],[Figure 2],[Figure 3],[Figure 4],[Figure 5],[Figure 6],[Figure 7] and [Figure 8]. For luteinizing hormone (LH) [Figure 1], there was no significant difference on day-28 post injury. However, the LH level was much higher in patients with GCS score 3-8 as compared to other two groups at day-14 post injury.
Figure 1: Mean LH levels over the time course

Click here to view
Figure 2: Mean FSH levels

Click here to view
Figure 3: Mean cortisol levels

Click here to view
Figure 4: Mean Testosterone levels

Click here to view
Figure 5: Mean growth hormone levels

Click here to view
Figure 6: Mean PRL levels

Click here to view
Figure 7: Mean FT3 levels

Click here to view
Figure 8: Mean FT4 levels

Click here to view

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) increased dramatically in patients with severe TBI as compared to other two groups on day-1 post injury [Figure 2]. There was progressive decline in FSH over a period of time in patients with severe TBI. However, in patients with mild and moderate TBI, FSH level recovered to different degrees [Figure 2]. The cortisol level showed a similar trend [Figure 3]. Testosterone [Figure 4] and growth hormone (GH) levels [Figure 5] declined in patients with moderate and severe TBI. Furthermore, these two hormones recovered to normal level in only patients with mild TBI at one month post injury. Prolactin (PRL) levels [Figure 6] increased in the acute stage in patients with severe TBI, and there was a significant difference on day-28 post injury among the three groups. However, there was no significant difference in PRL levels between the GCS 3-8 and GCS 9-12 group. Tri-iodothyronine (FT3) and free thyroxine (FT4) were much less in patients with moderate and severe TBI groups compared to patients with mild TBI. There was also significant difference among the three groups on the day-28 [Figure 7] and [Figure 8].

We found a correlation between FSH, T, GH, FT3 and FT4 levels and the neurological outcome (P < 0.05). The GH level was also associated with the initial GCS score (P < 0.05). However, we did not find any correlation between the other hormones studied and age, gender and the GOS score [Table 2].
Table 2: Correlational analysis between clinical data

Click here to view

 » Discussion Top

The results of this study replicate and further extend previous work by demonstrating the dynamic change of pituitary hormones in TBI patients in both acute and subacute stages. Importantly, our data delineate TBI subpopulations with unique hormone profiles as risk factors for poor neurological outcome. Specifically, patients with decreased FSH, testosterone, GH, FT3, and FT4 are at high risk for poor neurological outcome, and this finding represents a potential biomarker for early interventions.

In our study, the cortisol level remained relatively constant over time in patients with mild and moderate TBI. However, in patients with severe TBI, the cortisol level increased initially and declined gradually but continued to remain abnormal at one month post injury. This may suggest that cortisol might be a contributing factor to pituitary dysfunction, particularly in severe TBI patients; this observation was similar to that in a previous study. [6] The observation, decline in FSH, LH, and testosterone levels in TBI patients is similar to a previous work. [7] Our analyses extend beyond the concept of generalized hypogonadism to shed light on their role in predicting outcome after TBI. To differentiate the effect of gender on sex hormones in TBI patients, we assessed the testosterone level in only male patients and FSH and LH levels only in female patients, because previous studies found significant differences regarding FSH, LH, and testosterone levels in male and female patients. [8]

The findings in regard to thyroid functions post TBI are uncertain. Helmy et al., reported the decreased T3 and normal T4 after brain injury, and the increased TSH was related to poor outcome. [9] In our study, both FT3 and FT4 were decreased in patients with TBI with a different degree of recovery within one month post injury. The progressive decline of serum GH levels provides a rationale for why TBI patients may benefit from acute GH replacement after TBI. However, GH replacement resulted in significant elevation in GH level, higher than circulating level, [10] making it necessary to reassess the relation between hormone levels and neurological outcomes.

In this study, we also found that the deficiency of GH, sex hormone, and thyrotropin were associated with poor neurological outcomes. Previous studies reported that GH replacement therapy could partially improve neurological outcome in TBI patients. [11] This unsatisfactory result might be related to deficiencies in other types of pituitary hormones. Therefore, we suggested that personalized hormone profiles be validated before the hormone replacement in order to obtain better neurological outcomes. [12]

In conclusion, although most of the pituitary hormone deficiencies recover over time following TBI, there are substantial percentages of pituitary hormone deficiencies at one month post injury. Therefore, screening the pituitary function after TBI is important, especially in patients with severe TBI. Moreover, strong associations between presence of deficiencies in growth hormone, gonadotropic, and thyrotropic functions were correlated with long-term neurological outcomes.

 » Acknowledgements Top

This study was supported by a Grant for the Promotion of Science, the Ministry of Health, Pudong New area, Shanghai China (grant PW2011A-13).

 » References Top

1.Wada T, Asano Y, Shinoda J. Decreased fractional anisotropy evaluated using tract-based spatial statistics and correlated with cognitive dysfunction in patients with mild traumatic brain injury in the chronic stage. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2012;33:2117-22.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Moreau OK, Yollin E, Merlen E, Daveluy W, Rousseaux M. Lasting pituitary hormone deficiency after traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma 2011;29:81-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Mirzaie B, Mohajeri-Tehrani MR, Annabestani Z, Shahrzad MK, Mohseni S, Heshmat R, et al. Traumatic brain injury and adrenal insufficiency: Morning cortisol and cosyntropin stimulation tests. Arch Med Sci 2013;9:68-73.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Krahulik D, Zapletalova J, Frysak Z, Vaverka M. Dysfunction of hypothalamic-hypophysial axis after traumatic brain injury in adults. J Neurosurg 2010;113:581-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Zheng P, He B, Tong WS. Decrease in pituitary apparent diffusion coefficient in normal appearing brain correlates with hypopituitatism following traumatic brain injury. J Endocrinol Invest 2014;37:309-12.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Li ZM, Wang LX, Jiang LC, Zhu JX, Geng FY, Qiang F. Relationship between plasma cortisol levels and stress ulcer following acute and severe head injury. Med Princ Pract 2009;19:17-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Su DH, Chang YC, Chang CC. Post-traumatic anterior and posterior pituitary dysfunction. J Formos Med Assoc 2005;104:463-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Wagner AK, McCullough EH, Niyonkuru C, Ozawa H, Loucks TL, Dobos JA, et al. Acute serum hormone levels: Characterization and prognosis after severe traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma 2011;28:871-88.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Helmy A, Vizcaychipi M, Gupta AK. Traumatic brain injury: Intensive care management. Br J Anaesth 2007;99:32-42.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.High WM Jr, Briones-Galang M, Clark JA, Gillkison C, Mossberg KA, Zgaliardic DJ, et al. Effect of growth hormone replacement therapy on cognition after traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma 2010;27:1565-75.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Moreau OK, Cortet-Rudelli C, Yollin E, Merlen E, Daveluy W, Rousseaux M. Growth hormone replacement therapy in patients with traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma 2013;30:998-1006.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Gut P, Matysiak-Grze? M, Fischbach J, Klimowicz A, Gryczyñska M, Rucha³a M. Lack of TSH stimulation in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer-possible causes. Contemp Oncol (Pozn) 2012;16:273-5.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

This article has been cited by
1 The Association Between Brain Reserve, Cognitive Reserve, and Neuropsychological and Functional Outcomes in Males With Chronic Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Eva Pettemeridou, Fofi Constantinidou
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 2021; 30(2S): 883
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Neuroinflammation and Hypothalamo-Pituitary Dysfunction: Focus of Traumatic Brain Injury
Chiara Mele, Valeria Pingue, Marina Caputo, Marco Zavattaro, Loredana Pagano, Flavia Prodam, Antonio Nardone, Gianluca Aimaretti, Paolo Marzullo
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(5): 2686
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Traumatic brain injuries- How can Endocrinologists help?
JubbinJ Jacob
Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2021; 25(2): 73
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Effectiveness of Pharmacological Agents and Validation of Diagnostic Scales for the Management of Paroxysmal Sympathetic Hyperactivity in Hispanics
Alaa K. Abdelhakiem, Annelyn Torres-Reveron, Juan M. Padilla
Frontiers in Neurology. 2020; 11
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Acoustically-driven thread-based tuneable gradient generators
Shwathy Ramesan,Amgad R. Rezk,Kai Wei Cheng,Peggy P. Y. Chan,Leslie Y. Yeo
Lab on a Chip. 2016; 16(15): 2820
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 A biopsychosocial analysis of sexuality in adult males and their partners after severe traumatic brain injury
Umberto Bivona,Gabriella Antonucci,Marianna Contrada,Federica Rizza,Federica Leoni,Nathan D. Zasler,Rita Formisano
Brain Injury. 2016; 30(9): 1082
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow