Magnetic Resonance Imaging Features of Solitary Hypothalamitis

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Abstract

Objective

The study aimed to characterize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of solitary hypothalamitis and evaluate their clinical value in diagnosis.

Methods

Magnetic resonance imaging scans, including T1-weighted imaging (T1WI), T2-weighted imaging (T2WI), and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted sequences, of 8 biopsy-proven hypothalamitis lesions were retrospectively analyzed along with MRI features including size, shape, signal intensity, enhancement pattern, correlation with adjacent tissues, and changes in infundibular stalk and sella turcica.

Results

Of 8 patients, 5 were diagnosed with lymphoplasmacytic proliferative inflammation, 2 with Langerhans cell histocytosis, and 1 with Rosai-Dorfman disease. Solitary hypothalamitis predominantly demonstrated mild hypointensity/isointensity in T1WI and mild hyperintensity in T2-weighted imaging. In contrast-enhanced T1WI, all lesions showed heterogeneous but primarily peripheral enhancement patterns. Seven cases showed the polygon sign. In T1WI, the normal high signal intensity of neurohypophysis was absent from all patients, with no infundibular stalk thickening. Seven patients presented with optic chiasma edema, and 5 with edema-like changes along the optic tract (OTE), but most showed no visual impairment (n = 7).

Conclusions

Magnetic resonance imaging, particularly postcontrast MRI, is the optimal modality for assessment of hypothalamic lesions. Peripheral enhancement with polygon sign and optic tract or chiasm edema without visual impairment are highly suggestive of hypothalamitis.

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