Background/Aims: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to investigate the etiology of growth hormone deficiency (GHD). This study examined relationships between MRI findings and clinical/hormonal phenotypes in children with GHD in the observational Genetics and Neuroendocrinology of Short Stature International Study, GeNeSIS. Methods: Clinical presentation, hormonal status and first-year GH response were compared between patients with pituitary imaging abnormalities (n = 1,071), patients with mutations in genes involved in pituitary development/GH secretion (n = 120) and patients with idiopathic GHD (n = 7,039). Results: Patients with hypothalamic-pituitary abnormalities had more severe phenotypes than patients with idiopathic GHD. Additional hormonal deficiencies were found in 35% of patients with structural abnormalities (thyroid-stimulating hormone > adrenocorticotropic hormone > luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone > antidiuretic hormone), most frequently in patients with septo-optic dysplasia (SOD). Patients with the triad [ectopic posterior pituitary (EPP), pituitary aplasia/hypoplasia and stalk defects] had a more severe phenotype and better response to GH treatment than patients with isolated abnormalities. The sex ratio was approximately equal for patients with SOD, but there was a significantly higher proportion of males (approximately 70%) in the EPP, pituitary hypoplasia, stalk defects, and triad categories. Conclusion: This large, international database demonstrates the value of classification of GH-deficient patients by the presence and type of hypothalamic-pituitary imaging abnormalities. This information may assist family counseling and patient management.

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