Pickardt, C. R. and Scriba, Peter Christian
TRH: Pathophysiologic and clinical implications.
In: Acta Neurochirurgica, Vol. 75: pp. 43-48
Thyrotropin releasing hormone is thought to be a tonic stimulator of the pituitary TSH secretion regulating the setpoint of the thyrotrophs to the suppressive effect of thyroid hormones. The peptide stimulates the release of normal and elevated prolactin. ACTH and GH may increase in response to exogenous TRH in pituitary ACTH and GH hypersecretion syndromes and in some extrapituitary diseases.
The pathophysiological implications of extrahypothalamic TRH in humans are essentially unknown.
The TSH response to TRH is nowadays widely used as a diganostic amplifier in thyroid diseases being suppressed in borderline and overt hyperthyroid states and increased in primary thyroid failure. In hypothyroid states of hypothalamic origin, TSH increases in response to exogenous TRH often with a delayed and/or exaggerated time course.
But in patients with pituitary tumors and suprasellar extension TSH may also respond to TRH despite secondary hypothyroidism. This TSH increase may indicate a suprasellar cause for the secondary hypothyroidism, probably due to portal vessel occlusion. The TSH released in these cases is shown to be biologically inactive.