At present it is not established whether lateral-ization of pituitary venous drainage occurs in humans. To explore this possibility, we performed bilateral simultaneous inferior petrosal sinus sampling for ACTH in three patients with surgically proven ACTH-secreting pituitary microadenomas laterally located in the pituitary gland. In each patient, a gradient for ACTH correctly identified the location of the tumor. This finding suggests that pituitary venous drainage in humans is lateralized. These data also demonstrate that inferior petrosal sinus sampling needs to be bilateral before the pituitary origin of ACTH hypersecretion can be safely excluded in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. In at least one and possibly two patients, the pituitary origin of ACTH excess would have been missed had we only sampled one inferior petrosal sinus. Finally, the demonstration of a left to right central gradient for PRL in addition to ACTH in one patient suggests that this technique may be useful in lateralizing functioning pituitary tumors other than ACTH-secreting tumors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical