The pituitary gland

Alexis M. McKee, John E. Morley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter reviews the pertinent changes in the pituitary gland that occur with ageing and the diseases that affect this gland that are relevant to the care of the older individual. The pituitary gland is the master endocrine gland as it detects and integrates multiple sources of information to regulate physiologic functions. The blood supply to the anterior pituitary is through a rich vascular network. Hypopituitarism and hyperprolactinaemia are usually present in varying degrees. Nonfunctioning microadenomas have a benign natural history and can be followed with annual visual acuity and visual field testing and neuroimaging in the asymptomatic patient. The predominant cause of acromegaly is growth hormone (GH)-producing tumours and the effects of GH are mediated by insulin growth factor-1. Gamma-knife radiosurgery is a recent option for the management of pituitary tumours. There is no consensus on the effects of ageing on prolactin secretion. In mice, a GH-releasing hormone antagonist improved memory and increased lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPathy's Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781119484288
ISBN (Print)9781119484202
StatePublished - Feb 18 2022


  • Blood supply
  • Gamma-knife radiosurgery
  • Growth hormone producing tumours
  • Hyperprolactinaemia
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Insulin growth factor-1
  • Pituitary gland
  • Prolactin secretion


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