Glossary

TermDefinition
AcromegalyA disease caused when a tumour on the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.
ACTHAdrenocorticotrophic Hormone
AdenohypophysisAn alternative name for the anterior pituitary gland.
AdenomaA benign tumour, a growth which is not cancerous.
ADHAnti-diuretic Hormone or Vasopressin
Adrenocorticotropic HormoneThis hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and tells the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
AIPAryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein
Aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting proteinA protein important for pituitary cell function, as lack of it predisposes to the development of pituitary adenomas. Abbreviation: AIP
AmenorrhoeaAbsence of menstrual periods
AndrogensThe group of male sex hormones, which includes testosterone.
Anti-diuretic HormoneA hormone that the pituitary gland sends to your kidneys to limit the volume of urine produced. It is also known as vasopressin.Abbreviation: ADH or AVP
ApoplexyPituitary apoplexy is a rare condition that usually results from problems with the blood supply to, or within, a pituitary tumour. If this occurs, part or the entire tumour may be damaged through lack of oxygen (pituitary infarction) and there may be associated bleeding into the gland
Benign tumourA growth which is not cancerous
BromocriptineA drug used to reduce the levels of both growth hormone and prolactin.
Carney complexA rare disease with abnormalities in several organs such as the skin, adrenal cortex, heart, the pituitary gland and others
Carpal Tunnel SyndromeTingling and sometimes weakness of the hands due to compression of the nerve at the wrist. This is often worse at night. This symptom disappears once treatment has lowered your level of growth hormone.
Cerebrospinal fluidThe watery fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord and also circulates within the ventricles of the brain and the central canal of the cord.
Circadian rhythmAlso called diurnal rhythm - a regular pattern following a 24 hour cycle. The body\'s natural release of some hormones, including testosterone, follows such a pattern
Corticotrophin-releasing hormoneA hypothalamic hormone releasing ACTH from the pituitary gland
CortisolOne of the main hormones produced by the adrenal glands Cortisol controls a number of functions and is particularly important in times of illness and stress
CraniopharyngiomaA benign tumour of the pituitary gland often affecting the hypothalamus and the posterior pituitary as well The tumour is usually filled with a thick fluid, calcium and cysts. Incidence is 1% of adult tumours and 9% of those occurring in children
CRHCorticotrophin-releasing hormone
Cushing\'s diseaseExcess cortisol (adrenal gland hormone) secretion due to a pituitary adenoma releasing ACTH (Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone)
Cushing\'s syndromeA group of symptoms due to excess glucocorticoids as a result of CRH, ACTH or cortisol-secreting tumour or due to drug treatment with glucocorticoids
Deoxyribonucleic acidDeoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a chemical molecule which is the coding mechanism that allows human cells to replicate and function
DesmopressinThis is the generic name for the medication used to treat Diabetes Insipidus and replaces the hormone vasopressin/ADH. Brand name of the drug can be Desmospray and DDAVP
Diabetes InsipidusA condition characterised by great thirst and the constant need to pass urine
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid
Endocrine systemThe body-wide system of hormone-producing glands, and the hormones they make, which control many aspects of life, including growth and reproduction
EndocrinologistA doctor who specialises in treatment of diseases of the endocrine system
Familial isolated pituitary adenomaFamilial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA) occurs if two or more members of a family develop pituitary adenoma with no features of MEN1 or Carney complex. The term was first used by Prof Albert Beckers in 2000. It incorporates other terms such as isolated familial somatotrophinoma, familial acromegaly and pituitary adenoma predisposition.
Familial diseaseA disease which is running in the family due to a change in the genetic material DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) Several family members have abnormal DNA and some or all of these can be suffering from the particular disease
Folliculostellate cellsThese cells provide a framework structure to the pituitary gland, they do not secrete any typical pituitary hormones
Follicle-stimulating hormoneThis sex hormone (gonadotrophin) contributes to sexual development of children. In women, together with LH, it controls ovulation and is thus essential for a normal menstrual cycle and for fertility. In men, with LH, it stimulates the testes to produce sperm. Abbreviation: FSH
FSHFollicle-stimulating hormone
GalactorrhoeaAbnormal milk secretion from the breasts
GastrinGastrin is a hormone made in the stomach, duodenum, and the pancreas. It stimulates secretion of gastric acid (HCl) by the parietal cells of the stomach and aids in gastric motility
GeneticistA doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and counselling of patients with hereditary or familial diseases
GHRHGrowth hormone-releasing hormone
GigantismA condition caused by production of too much growth hormone released by a pituitary adenoma during childhood, before growth is complete. It causes people to grow much taller than they would otherwise have done
GlucagonGlucagon is a hormone, secreted by the pancreas that raises blood glucose levels
Gonadotrophin-releasing hormoneThe hormone that controls production of luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone in the pituitary gland
GonadotrophinsThis is a collective term for the sex hormones FSH and LH, which are hormones produced by the pituitary gland. They stimulate the ovaries or testicles
GonadsThe reproductive organs - ovaries in a woman, testes (testicles) in a man
Growth hormoneA hormone produced by the pituitary gland which controls rate of growth. It is mainly produced while you are asleep. Even after growth has ceased, growth hormone has important effects during adult life
Growth hormone-releasing hormoneA hypothalamic hormone which stimulates growth hormone release from the pituitary gland. Abbreviation: GHRH
GynaecomastiaEnlargement of breast tissue in the male.
Hereditary diseaseA disease which is caused by alteration of the genetic material
HormoneA chemical messenger, which is released at some parts of the body which reaches another part of the body to have its effects
HydrocortisoneA drug which replaces the natural hormone cortisol
HyperprolactinaemiaOverproduction of the hormone prolactin
HypogonadismDeficiency of sex hormone secretion. This can either be primary, due to a disorder of the testes or ovaries, or secondary when due to disease of the pituitary or hypothalamus.
HyponatraemiaThis occurs when the blood becomes too dilute. It can lead to headaches and feeling generally unwell. With DI it is likely to mean your desmopressin dose is not correct. You should see your doctor if this occurs
HypophysisAn alternative name for the pituitary gland.
HypophysitisA condition resulting in inflammation of the pituitary gland (hypophysis). Variations include Granulomatous Hypophysitis, Lymphocytic Hypophysitis and Tuberculosis Hypophysitis
HypothalamusThe part of the brain which controls the pituitary gland
HypothyroidismUnderactivity of the thyroid gland. This condition is sometimes caused by a pituitary problem
IGF-1Insulin-like Growth Factor-1
InfundibulumAn alternative name for the pituitary stalk, which connects the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus
InsulinHormone of the pancreas which reduces blood sugar levels via increasing the uptake of sugar by the cells
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 The levels of IGF-I in the blood are controlled by GH, and IGF-1 can be used to measure how active your acromegaly is. Abbreviation: IGF-1
Intramuscular injectionAn injection deep into the muscle, as opposed to under the skin
LanreotideA somatostatin analogue used to reduce levels of growth hormone
LanreotideA somatostatin analogue drug
Leydig cellsCells in the testicles that produce most of a man\'s testosterone
LHLuteinising hormone
Luteinising hormoneThis sex hormone contributes to sexual development of children. In women, together with FSH, it controls ovulation and is thus essential for a normal menstrual cycle and for fertility. In men, with FSH, it stimulates the testes to produce sperm
MacroprolactinomaA prolactin-secreting pituitary tumour which is more than 10mm in diameter
MEN1Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1, this is a rare inherited condition in which affected individuals tend to develop tumours of the pituitary gland, parathyroid glands and the pancreas
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1This is a rare inherited condition in which affected individuals tend to develop tumours of the pituitary gland, parathyroid glands and the pancreas. Abbreviation: MEN1
NeurohypophysisAn alternative name for the posterior pituitary gland
Non-functioning tumourA tumour which does not produce any of the pituitary hormones
OctreotideA somatostatin analogue used to reduce levels of growth hormone
OestrogenFemale sex hormone, which is produced by the ovaries.
OligomenorrhoeaAbnormally infrequent menstrual periods. Often the interval between periods exceeds 40 days
Optic Nerve HypoplasiaRare congenital underdevelopment of the midline of the brain affecting sight, and sometimes producing hypopituitarism, diabetes insipidus, and possible failure of the adrenal and thyroid glands
ParlodelThe brand name of bromocriptine
PenetrancePenetrance of a disease-causing mutation is the proportion of individuals with the mutation who exhibit clinical symptoms. If the penetrance is full (100%) all subjects with the mutation will develop the disease at some point in their life. If the penetrance is incomplete then some mutation-carrier subjects can live a long life with no development of the disease
PegvisomantA novel drug for the treatment of acromegaly. It inhibits the action of growth hormone, it is a growth hormone receptor antagonist. It has been successfully used in patients who do not respond well to somatostatin analogue therapy. It is usually injected once a day or once or twice in a week.
Pituitary adenoma predispositionPersons who carry a mutation in the AIP gene have pituitary adenoma predisposition (PAP). This term was first mentioned in the seminal Science paper of Vierimaa and colleagues in 2006.
Pituitary fossaThe bony pocket in the skull where the pituitary gland is located
Pituitary glandA gland, as small as a pea, located at the base of the brain. It produces hormones, which in turn control the hormone production of many other glands in the body. It has an anterior and posterior part
Pituitary tumourA tumour, almost always non-cancerous, of the pituitary gland.
ProgesteroneFemale sex hormone, which is produced by the ovaries.
ProlactinA hormone often called the \'milk hormone\' because its main function is to stimulate the breasts after childbirth. However, men also have prolactin, although the function of this hormone in males is not clear
ProlactinomaA pituitary tumour which produces prolactin. This can be a microprolactinoma or macroprolactinoma
RadiotherapyTreatment with X-rays
Recombinant human GHSynthetically produced growth hormone, which has the same structure as natural human growth hormone.
SandostatinThe brand name of octreotide
Septo-Optic DysplasiaRare congenital underdevelopment of the midline of the brain affecting sight, and sometimes producing hypopituitarism, diabetes insipidus, and possible failure of the adrenal and thyroid glands
Sex hormonesLuteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are produced by the pituitary gland and stimulate the ovaries to produce oestrogen (in women) and testosterone (in men)
Short statureOften due to underproduction of growth hormone.
Sleep apnoeaA condition in which you stop breathing for a few moments while asleep. This causes poor quality sleep such that you wake in the morning with a headache and still feeling tired, and can result in you falling asleep during the day. The partners of sufferers typically complain they are bad snorers. Sleep apnoea is a common disorder in patients with acromegaly
SomatostatinA naturally occurring hormone that reduces GH release from the pituitary gland. Man-made modified versions of somatostatin are known as somatostatin analogues
SomatotrophinGrowth hormone
SomatotrophinomaA pituitary tumour secreting growth hormone.
Somatuline LAThe brand name of lanreotide
Subcutaneous injectionAn injection under the skin, as opposed to deeper into the muscle
Tall statureA term to use for subjects who are taller than the average for their age and sex in a given ethnic background. It can be a normal variant but it can be caused by a disease such as acromegaly, Marfan syndrome or hypogonadism as well as many others
TestosteroneThe main sex hormone in men, produced by the testes.
Thyroid stimulating hormoneA hormone which your pituitary sends to your thyroid gland to stimulate the production of thyroxine. Abbreviation: TSH
ThyrotrophinThyroid stimulating hormone, TSH
ThyroxineA hormone produced by the thyroid gland
Transsphenoidal surgeryA method of operating on the pituitary gland by making an incision in front of the upper teeth and behind the upper lip, or sometimes through the nose
TSHThyroid stimulating hormone
TSHomaA pituitary tumour secreting TSH
Vasointestinal peptideA hormone secreted by the gut or pancreas. It increases gut motility and secretion of water into the gut. A tumour secreting VIP is called a VIPoma