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Open access

Miroslav Solar, Eva Malirova, Marek Ballon, Radek Pelouch and Jiri Ceral

Objective

Confirmatory testing of suspected primary aldosteronism (PA) requires an extensive medication switch that can be difficult for patients with severe complicated hypertension and/or refractory hypokalemia. For this reason, we investigated the effect of chronic antihypertensive medication on confirmatory testing results. To allow the results to be interpreted, the reproducibility of confirmatory testing was also evaluated.

Design and methods

The study enrolled 114 individuals with suspected PA who underwent two confirmatory tests. The patients were divided into two groups. In Group A, both tests were performed on the guidelines-recommended therapy, i.e. not interfering with the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. In Group B, the first test was performed on chronic therapy with the exclusion of thiazides, loop diuretics, and aldosterone antagonists; and the second test was performed on guidelines-recommended therapy. Saline infusion, preceded by oral sodium loading, was used to suppress aldosterone secretion.

Results

Agreement in the interpretation of the two confirmatory tests was observed in 84 and 66% of patients in Groups A and B respectively. For all 20 individuals in Group A who ever had end-test serum aldosterone levels ≥240 pmol/l, aldosterone was concordantly nonsuppressible during the other test. Similarly, for all 16 individuals in Group B who had end-test serum aldosterone levels ≥240 pmol/l on modified chronic therapy, aldosterone remained nonsuppressible with guidelines-recommended therapy.

Conclusion

Confirmatory testing performed while the patient is on chronic therapy without diuretics and aldosterone antagonists can confirm the diagnosis of PA, provided serum aldosterone remains markedly elevated at the end of saline infusion.

Open access

Anastasios Sofiadis, Susanne Becker, Ulf Hellman, Lina Hultin-Rosenberg, Andrii Dinets, Mykola Hulchiy, Jan Zedenius, Göran Wallin, Theodoros Foukakis, Anders Höög, Gert Auer, Janne Lehtiö and Catharina Larsson

Objective

Thyroid proteomics is a new direction in thyroid cancer research aiming at etiological understanding and biomarker identification for improved diagnosis.

Methods

Two-dimensional electrophoresis was applied to cytosolic protein extracts from frozen thyroid samples (ten follicular adenomas, nine follicular carcinomas, ten papillary carcinomas, and ten reference thyroids). Spots with differential expression were revealed by image and multivariate statistical analyses, and identified by mass spectrometry.

Results

A set of 25 protein spots significant for discriminating between the sample groups was identified. Proteins identified for nine of these spots were studied further including 14-3-3 protein beta/alpha, epsilon, and zeta/delta, peroxiredoxin 6, selenium-binding protein 1, protein disulfide-isomerase precursor, annexin A5 (ANXA5), tubulin alpha-1B chain, and α1-antitrypsin precursor. This subset of protein spots carried the same predictive power in differentiating between follicular carcinoma and adenoma or between follicular and papillary carcinoma, as compared with the larger set of 25 spots. Protein expression in the sample groups was demonstrated by western blot analyses. For ANXA5 and the 14-3-3 proteins, expression in tumor cell cytoplasm was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry both in the sample groups and an independent series of papillary thyroid carcinomas.

Conclusion

The proteins identified confirm previous findings in thyroid proteomics, and suggest additional proteins as dysregulated in thyroid tumors.

Open access

Henrik Falhammar, Helena Filipsson Nyström, Urban Ekström, Seth Granberg, Anna Wedell and Marja Thorén

Objective

Fertility in males with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is reported from normal to severely impaired. Therefore, we investigated fertility/fecundity, social/sexual situation, and pituitary–gonadal function in CAH males.

Subjects and methods

The patient cohort comprised 30 males, aged 19–67 years, with 21-hydroxylase deficiency. Their fertility was compared with age-matched national population data. For the evaluation of social/sexual factors and hormone status, age-matched controls were recruited (n=32). Subgroups of different ages (<30 years and older) and CYP21A2 genotypes (null (severe salt-wasting (SW)), I2splice (milder SW), and I172N (simple virilizing)) were also studied. Patients underwent testicular ultrasound examination (n=21) and semen analysis (n=14).

Results

Fertility was impaired in CAH males compared with national data (0.9±1.3 vs 1.8±0.5 children/father, P<0.001). There were no major differences in social and sexual factors between patients and controls apart from more fecundity problems, particularly in the I172N group. The patients had lower testosterone/estradiol (E2) ratio and inhibin B, and higher FSH. The semen samples were pathological in 43% (6/14) of patients and sperm concentration correlated with inhibin B and FSH. Testicular adrenal rest tumors (TARTs) were found in 86% (18/21). Functional testicular volume correlated positively with the testosterone/E2 ratio, sperm concentration, and inhibin B. Patients with pathological semen had increased fat mass and indications of increased cardiometabolic risk.

Conclusions

Fertility/fecundity was impaired in CAH males. The frequent occurrence of TARTs resulting in testicular insufficiency appears to be the major cause, but other factors such as elevated fat mass may contribute to a low semen quality.

Open access

Casey Jo Anne Smith, Sophie Bensing, Christine Burns, Phillip J Robinson, Anna A Kasperlik-Zaluska, Rodney J Scott, Olle Kämpe and Patricia A Crock

Background

Lymphocytic hypophysitis is an organ-specific autoimmune disease of the pituitary gland. A specific and sensitive serological test currently does not exist to aid in the diagnosis.

Objective

To identify target autoantigens in lymphocytic hypophysitis and develop a diagnostic assay for these proteins.

Design/methods

A pituitary cDNA expression library was immunoscreened using sera from four patients with lymphocytic hypophysitis. Relevant cDNA clones from screening, along with previously identified autoantigens pituitary gland-specific factor 1a and 2 (PGSF1a and PGSF2) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE) were tested in an in vitro transcription and translation immunoprecipitation assay. The corticotroph-specific transcription factor, TPIT, was investigated separately as a candidate autoantigen.

Results

Significantly positive autoantibody reactivity against TPIT was found in 9/86 hypophysitis patients vs 1/90 controls (P=0.018). The reactivity against TPIT was not specific for lymphocytic hypophysitis with autoantibodies detectable in the sera from patients with other autoimmune endocrine diseases. Autoantibodies were also detected against chromodomain-helicase-DNA binding protein 8, presynaptic cytomatrix protein (piccolo), Ca2 +-dependent secretion activator, PGSF2 and NSE in serum samples from patients with lymphocytic hypophysitis, but at a frequency that did not differ from healthy controls. Importantly, 8/86 patients with lymphocytic hypophysitis had autoantibodies against any two autoantigens in comparison with 0/90 controls (P=0.0093).

Conclusions

TPIT, a corticotroph-specific transcription factor, was identified as a target autoantigen in 10.5% of patients with lymphocytic hypophysitis. Further autoantigens related to vesicle processing were also identified as potential autoantigens with different immunoreactivity patterns in patients and controls.

Open access

Mariam Elbornsson, Galina Götherström, Celina Franco, Bengt-Åke Bengtsson, Gudmundur Johannsson and Johan Svensson

Objective

Little is known of the effects of long-term GH replacement on bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly GH-deficient (GHD) adults.

Design/patients/methods

In this prospective, single-center, open-label study, the effects of 3-year GH replacement were determined in 45 GHD patients >65 years and in 45 younger control GHD patients with a mean age of 39.5 (s.e.m. 1.1) years. All patients had adult-onset disease and both groups were comparable in terms of number of anterior pituitary hormonal deficiencies, gender, body mass index, and waist:hip ratio.

Results

The mean maintenance dose of GH was 0.24 (0.02) mg/day in the elderly patients and 0.33 (0.02) mg/day in the younger GHD patients (P<0.01). The 3 years of GH replacement induced a marginal effect on total body BMC and BMD, whereas femur neck and lumbar (L2–L4) spine BMC and BMD increased in both the elderly and the younger patients. The treatment response in femur neck BMC was less marked in the elderly patients (P<0.05 vs younger group). However, this difference disappeared after correction for the lower dose of GH in the elderly patients using an analysis of covariance. There were no between-group differences in responsiveness in BMC or BMD at other skeletal locations.

Conclusions

This study shows that GH replacement increases lumbar (L2–L4) spine and femur neck BMD and BMC in younger as well as elderly GHD patients. This supports the notion that long-term GH replacement is also useful in elderly GHD patients.

Open access

Anne K Jenum, Kjersti Mørkrid, Line Sletner, Siri Vange, Johan L Torper, Britt Nakstad, Nanna Voldner, Odd H Rognerud-Jensen, Sveinung Berntsen, Annhild Mosdøl, Torild Skrivarhaug, Mari H Vårdal, Ingar Holme, Chittaranjan S Yajnik and Kåre I Birkeland

Objective

The International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) recently proposed new criteria for diagnosing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). We compared prevalence rates, risk factors, and the effect of ethnicity using the World Health Organization (WHO) and modified IADPSG criteria.

Methods

This was a population-based cohort study of 823 (74% of eligible) healthy pregnant women, of whom 59% were from ethnic minorities. Universal screening was performed at 28±2 weeks of gestation with the 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Venous plasma glucose (PG) was measured on site. GDM was diagnosed as per the definition of WHO criteria as fasting PG (FPG) ≥7.0 or 2-h PG ≥7.8 mmol/l; and as per the modified IADPSG criteria as FPG ≥5.1 or 2-h PG ≥8.5 mmol/l.

Results

OGTT was performed in 759 women. Crude GDM prevalence was 13.0% with WHO (Western Europeans 11%, ethnic minorities 15%, P=0.14) and 31.5% with modified IADPSG criteria (Western Europeans 24%, ethnic minorities 37%, P< 0.001). Using the WHO criteria, ethnic minority origin was an independent predictor (South Asians, odds ratio (OR) 2.24 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26–3.97); Middle Easterners, OR 2.13 (1.12–4.08)) after adjustments for age, parity, and prepregnant body mass index (BMI). This increased OR was unapparent after further adjustments for body height (proxy for early life socioeconomic status), education and family history of diabetes. Using the modified IADPSG criteria, prepregnant BMI (1.09 (1.05–1.13)) and ethnic minority origin (South Asians, 2.54 (1.56–4.13)) were independent predictors, while education, body height and family history had little impact.

Conclusion

GDM prevalence was overall 2.4-times higher with the modified IADPSG criteria compared with the WHO criteria. The new criteria identified many subjects with a relatively mild increase in FPG, strongly associated with South Asian origin and prepregnant overweight.

Open access

Allan Vaag and Sørens Lund

This review addresses the apparent disconnect between international guideline recommendations, real-life clinical practice and the results of clinical trials, with regard to the initiation of insulin using basal (long-acting) or premixed insulin analogues in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). English language guidelines vary considerably with respect to recommended glycaemic targets, the selection of human vs analogue insulin, and choice of insulin regimen. Randomised trials directly comparing insulin initiation between basal and premixed analogues are scarce, and hard endpoint outcome data are inadequate. The evidence presented suggests that a major component of the HbA1c not being attained in every day clinical practice may be a result of factors that are not adequately addressed in forced titration trials of highly motivated patients, including failure to comply with complex treatment and monitoring regimens. Enforced intensification of unrealistic complex treatment regimens and glycaemic targets may theoretically worsen the psychological well-being in some patients. More simple and sustainable treatment regimens and guidelines are urgently needed. As for the use of insulin in T2D, there is limited evidence to convincingly support that initiation of insulin using basal insulin analogues is superior to initiation using premixed insulin analogues. While awaiting improved clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness data, practical guidance from national and international diabetes organisations should consider more carefully the importance of: i) being clear and consistent; and ii) the early implementation of sustainable and cost-effective insulin treatment regimens with an emphasis on optimising treatment ease of use and patient compliance.

Open access

F Jakob, H Oertel, B Langdahl, O Ljunggren, A Barrett, D Karras, J B Walsh, A Fahrleitner-Pammer, G Rajzbaum, C Barker, W F Lems and F Marin

Objectives

To describe fracture rates, back pain, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and prior bisphosphonate therapy, treated with teriparatide for up to 18 months and followed up for a further 18 months.

Design

Prospective, multinational, and observational study.

Methods

Data on prior bisphosphonate use, clinical fractures, back pain visual analog scale (VAS), and HRQoL (EQ-5D) were collected over 36 months. Fracture data were summarized in 6-month intervals and analyzed using logistic regression with repeated measures. Changes from baseline in back pain VAS and EQ-VAS were analyzed using a repeated measures model.

Results

Of the 1581 enrolled patients with follow-up data, 1161 (73.4%) had a history of prior bisphosphonate use (median duration: 36 months). Of them, 169 (14.6%) sustained ≥1 fracture during 36-month follow-up. Adjusted odds of fracture were significantly decreased at each 6-month interval compared with the first 6 months of teriparatide treatment: 37% decrease in the 12 to <18 months period during teriparatide treatment (P=0.03) and a 76% decrease in the 12- to 18-month period after teriparatide was discontinued (P<0.001). Significant reductions in back pain and improvement in HRQoL were observed.

Conclusions

Postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis previously treated with bisphosphonates had a significant reduction in the incidence of fractures compared with the first 6 months of therapy, a reduction in back pain and an improvement in HRQoL during up to 18 months of teriparatide treatment. These outcomes were still evident for at least 18 months after teriparatide was discontinued. The results should be interpreted in the context of an uncontrolled, observational study in a routine clinical setting.

Open access

V Jain, L A Metherell, A David, R Sharma, P K Sharma, A J L Clark and L F Chan

Background

Familial glucocorticoid deficiency (FGD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterised by isolated glucocorticoid deficiency. Mutations in the ACTH receptor/melanocortin 2 receptor (MC2R), the MC2R accessory protein (MRAP) or the STAR protein (STAR) cause FGD types 1, 2 and 3, respectively, accounting for ∼50% of all cases.

Patient and methods

We report a neonate of Indian origin, who was diagnosed with FGD in the first few days of life. He presented with hypoglycaemic seizures and was noted to have generalised intense hyperpigmentation and normal male genitalia. Biochemical investigations revealed hypocortisolaemia (cortisol 0.223 μg/dl; NR 1–23 μg/dl) and elevated plasma ACTH (170 pg/ml). Serum electrolytes, aldosterone and plasma renin activity were normal. Peak cortisol following a standard synacthen test was 0.018 μg/dl. He responded to hydrocortisone treatment and continues on replacement. Patient DNA was analysed by direct sequencing. The effect of the novel mutation was assessed by an in vitro splicing assay using wild type and mutant heterologous minigenes.

Results

A novel homozygous mutation c.106+2_3dupTA was found in the MRAP gene. Both parents were heterozygous for the mutation. In an in vitro splicing assay, the mutation resulted in the skipping of exon 3.

Conclusion

We have identified a novel MRAP mutation where disruption of the intron 3 splice-site results in a prematurely terminated translation product. This protein (if produced) would lack the transmembrane domain that is essential for MC2R interaction. We predict that this would cause complete lack of ACTH response thus explaining the early presentation in this case.

Open access

Farid Saad, Antonio Aversa, Andrea M Isidori, Livia Zafalon, Michael Zitzmann and Louis Gooren

Objective

Testosterone has a spectrum of effects on the male organism. This review attempts to determine, from published studies, the time-course of the effects induced by testosterone replacement therapy from their first manifestation until maximum effects are attained.

Design

Literature data on testosterone replacement.

Results

Effects on sexual interest appear after 3 weeks plateauing at 6 weeks, with no further increments expected beyond. Changes in erections/ejaculations may require up to 6 months. Effects on quality of life manifest within 3–4 weeks, but maximum benefits take longer. Effects on depressive mood become detectable after 3–6 weeks with a maximum after 18–30 weeks. Effects on erythropoiesis are evident at 3 months, peaking at 9–12 months. Prostate-specific antigen and volume rise, marginally, plateauing at 12 months; further increase should be related to aging rather than therapy. Effects on lipids appear after 4 weeks, maximal after 6–12 months. Insulin sensitivity may improve within few days, but effects on glycemic control become evident only after 3–12 months. Changes in fat mass, lean body mass, and muscle strength occur within 12–16 weeks, stabilize at 6–12 months, but can marginally continue over years. Effects on inflammation occur within 3–12 weeks. Effects on bone are detectable already after 6 months while continuing at least for 3 years.

Conclusion

The time-course of the spectrum of effects of testosterone shows considerable variation, probably related to pharmacodynamics of the testosterone preparation. Genomic and non-genomic effects, androgen receptor polymorphism and intracellular steroid metabolism further contribute to such diversity.