Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Case Report

A case of optic neuritis associated with lymphocytic hypophysitis revealed by pattern-reversal VEP

Satoshi Saito, M.D., Chiaki Mori, M.D., Keiichiro Toma, M.D., Tamotsu Kubori, M.D., Kazuto Nishinaka, M.D. and Fukashi Udaka, M.D.

Department of Neurology, Sumitomo Hospital

Lymphocytic hypophysitis (LYH) is a rare neuroendocrine disorder characterized by autoimmune inflammation of the pituitary gland. Visual disturbance is one of the most common and serious symptoms of LYH. Most of the visual symptoms in LYH are secondary to compression of the optic chiasm and some reports have described direct inflammatory involvement of the optic pathways. We describe a 30-year-old man with a 9-day history of bilateral blurred vision. Ophthalmic examination demonstrated severely impaired vision without temporal hemianopsia. Hypothyroidism, hypocortisolism, and hypogonadism were detected in laboratory tests. Central diabetes insipidus was diagnosed by a hypertonic saline infusion test. MRI revealed thickening of the pituitary stalk and enlargement of the hypophysis, which was enhanced with gadolinium. High intensity of the posterior lobe was not recognized on T1-weighted images. These findings established a clinical diagnosis of lymphocytic panhypophysitis. Methylprednisolone pulse therapy was introduced and his visual acuity gradually recovered. The anterior pituitary function improved, but desmopressin was still required. Pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials (VEP) have been widely used to detect optic nerve lesions caused by multiple sclerosis and brain tumors. However, there have been no previous reports of their usefulness for LYH. The P100 latency in our case was slightly prolonged and the amplitude was markedly reduced. These findings are similar to ischemic optic neuropathy and other conditions in which axonal damage is prominent. The prolonged latency and low amplitude on VEP examination in this case showed rapid improvement in parallel with the recovery of visual acuity. Taken together, our case implies the usefulness of pattern-reversal VEP for the diagnosis of optic neuritis in LYH, especially for the evaluation of its pathogenic mechanisms.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (532K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 51: 27|31, 2011)
key words: VEP, P100, latency, lymphocytic hypophysitis, optic neuritis

(Received: 15-May-10)