Posterior pituitary bright spot

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The posterior pituitary bright spot (PPBS) is a MRI feature of the normal pituitary gland. It refers to the intrinsically high T1 signal of the posterior pituitary thought to be from the storage of vasopressin, which has a T1-shortening effect 2.

It is important to note that a posterior pituitary bright spot is not identified in all patients, but rather somewhere between 50-100% 1,2

Radiographic features

  • oval/round high T1 signal, best seen on sagittal images in the posterior aspect of pituitary fossa
  • normal measurements (decreasing size with age) 1,2
    • long axis: 1.2-8.5 mm
    • short axis: 0.4-4.4 mm

Related pathology

Absence of PPBS should prompt the consideration of the following (noting it may be absent in normal patients): 

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Article Information

rID: 38816
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Posterior pituitary bright spot (PPBS)
  • Pituitary hyperintense spot

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1: normal PPBS
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    Case 2: normal PPBS
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    Case 3: PPBS in ecoptic posterior pituitary
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    T1 sagittal image...
    Case 4: absent PPBS in diabets insipidus
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