Author(s): Oliver J Oatman, Donald R McClellan, Micah L Olson, Pamela GarciaFilion
Background: Endocrinologic abnormalities are a common co-morbidity in patients with optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), however the impact on puberty is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine rates of endocrine dysfunction and pubertal disturbances in a pediatric population of ONH. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on a cohort of children with ONH between January 2005 and March 2013. Endocrine dysfunction was determined based on laboratory evidence of hormone deficiency or hormone replacement. Pubertal disturbances were characterized based on presence of micropenis, tanner staging, menarche and hormone replacement. Pituitary abnormalities were classified using MRI findings. Descriptive statistics were used, and comparisons between groups were performed using the chi-square test. Results: During the study period, 101 patients underwent an endocrine evaluation (median age: 2.3 years [0.76 – 6.5]). Hypopituitarism was present in 73% of patients with growth hormone deficiency (56%) and hypothyroidism (54%) being the most common. Pubertal disturbances (n = 19) were common; micropenis in 31% (13/42) of males and 2% with precocious puberty. Half of adolescents (n = 4/8) were diagnosed with gonadotropin deficiency. Patients with MRI pituitary abnormalities were more likely to have endocrine dysfunction than those without (p = 0.004). The sensitivity and specificity of MRI pituitary abnormalities for hypopituitarism was 54% and 92%, respectively. Conclusions: A significant proportion of children with ONH have endocrine dysfunction. The high frequency of pubertal disturbances in this study emphasizes the need for long-term monitoring of developing endocrinopathy. While pituitary gland abnormalities are a good predictor of endocrine dysfunction, a normal pituitary gland does not rule out endocrinopathy.