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Pietro Ameri, Andrea Giusti, Mara Boschetti, Marta Bovio, Claudia Teti, Giovanna Leoncini, Diego Ferone, Giovanni Murialdo, and Francesco Minuto


Previous studies suggested that vitamin D modulates circulating IGF1. We investigated this effect in adults and its clinical relevance in the management of GH deficiency (GHD).

Design and methods

IGF1 levels were prospectively measured before and after 12 weeks of treatment with oral vitamin D3 (5000 or 7000 IU/week) vs no intervention in 39 subjects 61.9±7.9 years old. The frequency of IGF1 values ≥50th age- and sex-specific percentile in relation to vitamin D status, as determined by the concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), was retrospectively assessed in 69 GHD patients (57.4±16.6 years) on stable hormone replacement and with 25(OH)D and IGF1 concurrently measured.


Treatment with 5000 and 7000 IU vitamin D3/week significantly raised 25(OH)D by 12.7±8.4 and 13.1±6.5 ng/ml respectively (both P<0.001 vs baseline). In the 7000 IU group, IGF1 levels also significantly increased by 31.3±36.7 ng/ml (P=0.01). Neither 25(OH)D nor IGF1 significantly varied in controls. IGF1 was ≥50th percentile more frequently in GHD patients with 25(OH)D levels ≥15 than <15 ng/ml (65.9 vs 40.0%, P<0.05). Logistic regression with adjustment for recombinant human GH (rhGH) dose, vitamin D supplements, gender, use of thyroid hormones, corticosteroids or estrogen/testosterone, and season revealed a significant positive association between ≥15 ng/ml 25(OH)D and IGF1 ≥50th percentile (OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.0–18.8, P<0.05). A significant negative correlation between 25(OH)D concentrations and rhGH dose was found after correcting for age and IGF1 (β −0.042, P<0.01), but not after further adjusting for sex, thyroid, adrenal or gonadal replacement, and season (β −0.037, P=0.06).


Vitamin D increases circulating IGF1 in adults. As a result, a better vitamin D status may ease the achievement of normal IGF1 values in GHD.

Open access

Diego Ferone, Rosario Pivonello, Eugenia Resmini, Mara Boschetti, Alberto Rebora, Manuela Albertelli, Valeria Albanese, Annamaria Colao, Michael D Culler, and Francesco Minuto

Pituitary tumors can cause symptoms of mass effect and hormonal hypersecretion that can be reversed with surgical resection or debulking of the adenoma, radiotherapy, or medical treatment. Medical treatment is the primary choice for prolactinomas because dopamine agonists are very effective in the treatment of these tumors, with rates of control (tumor size reduction and hormone suppression) as high as 80–90% for microprolactinomas and 60–75% for macroprolactinomas. The function of dopamine receptors in other histotypes of pituitary adenoma is still debated. However, new insights into receptor physiology and the introduction of new clinically available, as well as experimental, compounds have reopened a potential role of dopaminergic drugs in the medical treatment of pituitary tumors. The differences between the effectiveness and the resistance to different dopaminergic agents, the new challenging results from clinical and experimental studies, as well as the future of dopamine agonists in the therapy of pituitary tumors are discussed.

Free access

Mara Boschetti, Massimo De Lucchi, Massimo Giusti, Claudio Spena, Guido Corallo, Umberto Goglia, Enrica Ceresola, Eugenia Resmini, Lara Vera, Francesco Minuto, and Diego Ferone

Here we describe the case of a 41-year-old woman with a history of Cushing disease who had previously undergone unsuccessful neurosurgery, followed by stereotactic radiosurgery. More than 4 years after this treatment, she presented severe visual impairment, which started in the left eye and was documented by neuro-ophthalmic evaluation. Radiological assessment by contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging initially suggested the diagnosis of glioma of the optic nerve and the patient started corticosteroid treatment (first with prednisone, 80 mg/day, followed by dexamethasone, 8 mg/day). Despite the therapy, vision in the left eye rapidly worsened until light was no longer perceptible; similar symptoms and signs also developed in the right eye, evolving to complete temporal hemianopsia. The clinical evidence was confirmed by the rapid progression of the MR picture, which showed homogeneous enhancement of the chiasm and optic nerves. On the basis of these findings, the original diagnosis of glioma was excluded, and radiation-induced optic neuropathy was diagnosed. As corticosteroids had proved inefficacious, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy was promptly instituted and vision steadily started to improve. This improvement was documented and confirmed by the progressive recovery of the visual field in the right eye and the changes in the sequential follow-up MR scanning. Optic neuropathy is an infrequent but dramatic complication of radiation therapy. Symptoms develop, on average, 12 months after treatment, and the onset may be acute and characterized by the progressive loss of vision in one or both eyes. HBO has already been used to treat this complication, but its efficacy is still controversial. Here, in addition to describing this particular case, which presented a significantly delayed radiation injury of the optic pathways, we provide a brief literature review and discuss some important points.