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COVID-19 and the pituitary

Authors
  • Frara, Stefano
  • Allora, Agnese
  • Castellino, Laura
  • di Filippo, Luigi
  • Loli, Paola
  • Giustina, Andrea
Type
Published Article
Journal
Pituitary
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 03, 2021
Pages
1–17
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11102-021-01148-1
PMID: 33939057
PMCID: PMC8089131
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

Background Despite COVID-19 being identified as severe respiratory viral infection, progressively many relevant endocrine manifestations have been reported greatly contributing to the severity of the clinical presentation. Systemic involvement in COVID-19 is due to the ubiquitous expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, responsible for the entry in the cells of SARS-CoV-2, Several reports in humans and animal models showed a significant ACE2 mRNA expression in hypothalamus and pituitary cells. Moreover, higher mortality and poorer outcomes have been widely described in COVID-19 patients with obesity, diabetes and vertebral fractures, which are all highly prevalent in subjects with pituitary dysfunctions. Aim To review the main endocrine manifestations of COVID-19 with their possible implications for pituitary diseases, the possible direct and indirect involvement of the pituitary gland in COVID-19, the impact of COVID-19 on the management of established pituitary diseases which can be already at increased risk for worse outcomes and on neurosurgical activities as well as vaccination. Conclusions Our review underlines that there could be a specific involvement of the pituitary gland which fits into a progressively shaping endocrine phenotype of COVID-19. Moreover, the care for pituitary diseases need to continue despite the restrictions due to the emergency. Several pituitary diseases, such as hypopituitarism and Cushing disease, or due to frequent comorbidities such as diabetes may be a risk factor for severe COVID-19 in affected patients. There is the urgent need to collect in international multicentric efforts data on all these aspects of the pituitary involvement in the pandemic in order to issue evidence driven recommendations for the management of pituitary patients in the persistent COVID-19 emergency.

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