Plasma non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels during a standard insulin sensitivity test have been compared in hypopituitary and hospital control patients who had undergone full routine pituitary investigations. Significant impairment of the recovery of plasma NEFA levels after insulin injection was found in the hypopituitary group as a whole, but this finding was not consistent in individual cases. It is concluded that the measurement of NEFA levels is of little value in the diagnosis of mild hypopituitarism. Blood sugar levels after insulin were of no value in the diagnosis of minor degrees of hypopituitarism.
In 19 patients with mild hypopituitarism the order of frequency of deficiency of individual hormones, as judged by tests currently available, was gonadotrophins followed by growth hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and antidiuretic hormone.