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Open access

Vikram V Shanbhogue, René Klinkby Støving, Katrine Hartmund Frederiksen, Stine Hanson, Kim Brixen, Jeppe Gram, Niklas Rye Jørgensen and Stinus Hansen

Objective, design and methods

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) has proved successful in attaining sustained weight loss but may lead to metabolic bone disease. To assess impact on bone mass and structure, we measured a real bone mineral density at the hip and spine by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and volumetric BMD (vBMD) and bone microarchitecture at the distal radius and tibia by high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT in 25 morbidly obese subjects (15 females, 10 males) at 0, 12 and 24 months after RYGB. Bone turnover markers (BTMs), calciotropic and gut hormones and adipokines were measured at the same time points.

Results

After a 24.1% mean weight loss from baseline to month 12 (P < 0.001), body weight plateaued from month 12 to 24 (−0.9%, P = 0.50). However, cortical and trabecular vBMD and microarchitecture deteriorated through the 24 months, such that there was a 5 and 7% reduction in estimated bone strength at the radius and tibia respectively (both P < 0.001). The declines observed in the first 12 months were matched or exceeded by declines in the 12- to 24-month period. While a significant increase in BTMs and decrease in leptin and insulin were seen at 24 months, these changes were maximal at month 12 and stabilized from month 12 to 24.

Conclusions

Despite weight stabilization and maintenance of metabolic parameters, bone loss and deterioration in bone strength continued and were substantial in the second year. The clinical importance of these changes in terms of increased risk of developing osteoporosis and fragility fractures remain an important concern.

Open access

Anna G Nilsson, Ragnhildur Bergthorsdottir, Pia Burman, Per Dahlqvist, Bertil Ekman, Britt Edén Engström, Oskar Ragnarsson, Stanko Skrtic, Jeanette Wahlberg, Heinrich Achenbach, Sharif Uddin, Claudio Marelli and Gudmundur Johannsson

Objective

To investigate the long-term safety and tolerability of a once-daily, dual-release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) tablet as oral glucocorticoid replacement therapy in patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (AI).

Design

Prospective, open-label, multicenter, 5-year extension study of DR-HC conducted at five university clinics in Sweden.

Methods

Seventy-one adult patients diagnosed with primary AI who were receiving stable glucocorticoid replacement therapy were recruited. Safety and tolerability outcomes included adverse events (AEs), intercurrent illness episodes, laboratory parameters and vital signs. Quality of life (QoL) was evaluated using generic questionnaires.

Results

Total DR-HC exposure was 328 patient-treatment years. Seventy patients reported 1060 AEs (323 per 100 patient-years); 85% were considered unrelated to DR-HC by the investigator. The most common AEs were nasopharyngitis (70%), fatigue (52%) and gastroenteritis (48%). Of 65 serious AEs reported by 32 patients (20 per 100 patient-years), four were considered to be possibly related to DR-HC: acute AI (n = 2), gastritis (n = 1) and syncope (n = 1). Two deaths were reported (fall from height and subarachnoid hemorrhage), both considered to be unrelated to DR-HC. From baseline to 5 years, intercurrent illness episodes remained relatively stable (mean 2.6–5.4 episodes per patient per year), fasting plasma glucose (0.7 mmol/L; P < 0.0001) and HDL cholesterol (0.2 mmol/L; P < 0.0001) increased and patient-/investigator-assessed tolerability improved. QoL total scores were unchanged but worsening physical functioning was recorded (P = 0.008).

Conclusions

In the first prospective study evaluating the long-term safety of glucocorticoid replacement therapy in patients with primary AI, DR-HC was well tolerated with no safety concerns observed during 5-year treatment.

Open access

Miguel López

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a cellular gauge that is activated under conditions, such as low energy, increasing energy production and reducing energy waste. Centrally, the AMPK pathway is a canonical route regulating energy homeostasis, by integrating peripheral signals, such as hormones and metabolites, with neuronal networks. Current evidence links hypothalamic AMPK with feeding, brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis and browning of white adipose tissue (WAT), as well as muscle metabolism, hepatic function and glucose homeostasis. The relevance of these data is interesting from a therapeutic point of view as several agents with potential anti-obesity and/or antidiabetic effects, some currently in clinical use, such as nicotine, metformin and liraglutide are known to act through AMPK, either peripherally or centrally. Furthermore, the orexigenic and weight-gaining effects of the worldwide use of antipsychotic drugs (APDs), such as olanzapine, are also mediated by hypothalamic AMPK. Overall, this evidence makes hypothalamic AMPK signaling an interesting target for the drug development, with its potential for controlling both sides of the energy balance equation, namely feeding and energy expenditure through defined metabolic pathways.

Open access

A Kulle, N Krone, P M Holterhus, G Schuler, R F Greaves, A Juul, Y B de Rijke, M F Hartmann, A Saba, O Hiort, S A Wudy and on behalf of the EU COST Action

Disorders or differences in sex development (DSD) comprise a heterogeneous group of conditions with an atypical sex development. For optimal diagnosis, highly specialised laboratory analyses are required across European countries. Working group 3 of EU COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action BM 1303 ‘DSDnet’ ‘Harmonisation of Laboratory Assessment’ has developed recommendations on laboratory assessment for DSD regarding the use of technologies and analytes to be investigated. This position paper on steroid hormone analysis in diagnosis and treatment of DSD was compiled by a group of specialists in DSD and/or hormonal analysis, either from participating European countries or international partner countries. The topics discussed comprised analytical methods (immunoassay/mass spectrometry-based methods), matrices (urine/serum/saliva) and harmonisation of laboratory tests. The following positions were agreed upon: support of the appropriate use of immunoassay- and mass spectrometry-based methods for diagnosis and monitoring of DSD. Serum/plasma and urine are established matrices for analysis. Laboratories performing analyses for DSD need to operate within a quality framework and actively engage in harmonisation processes so that results and their interpretation are the same irrespective of the laboratory they are performed in. Participation in activities of peer comparison such as sample exchange or when available subscribing to a relevant external quality assurance program should be achieved. The ultimate aim of the guidelines is the implementation of clinical standards for diagnosis and appropriate treatment of DSD to achieve the best outcome for patients, no matter where patients are investigated or managed.

Open access

Nayananjani Karunasena, Daniel N Margetson, Greg Neal, Martin J Whitaker and Richard JM Ross

Background

We developed a modified-release hydrocortisone, Chronocort, to replace the cortisol rhythm in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Food, alcohol and pH affect drug absorption, and it is important to assess their impact when replicating a physiological rhythm.

Subjects and methods

In vitro dissolution to study impact of alcohol and pH on Chronocort. A phase 1, three-period, cross over study in 18 volunteers to assess the impact of food on Chronocort and to compare bioavailability to immediate-release hydrocortisone.

Results

In vitro dissolution of Chronocort was not affected by gastrointestinal pH up to 6.0 nor by an alcohol content up to 20% v/v. Food delayed and reduced the rate of absorption of Chronocort as reflected by a longer Tmax (fed vs fasted: 6.75 h vs 4.5 h, P = 0005) and lower Cmax (549.49 nmol/L vs 708.46 nmol/L, ratio 77% with CI 71–85). Cortisol exposure was similar in fed and fasted state: Geo LSmean ratio (CI) AUC0t for fed/fasted was 108.33% (102.30–114.72%). Cortisol exposure was higher for Chronocort compared to immediate-release hydrocortisone: Geo LSmean ratios (CI) 118.83% (111.58–126.54%); however, derived free cortisol showed cortisol exposure CIs were within 80.0–125.0%: Geo LSmean ratio (CI) for AUC0t 112.73% (105.33–120.65%).

Conclusions

Gastric pH ≤6.0 and alcohol do not affect hydrocortisone release from Chronocort. Food delays Chronocort absorption, but cortisol exposure is similar in the fasted and fed state and exposure as assessed by free cortisol is similar between Chronocort and immediate-release hydrocortisone.

Open access

Irina Bancos, Jon Hazeldine, Vasileios Chortis, Peter Hampson, Angela E Taylor, Janet M Lord and Wiebke Arlt

Objective

Mortality in patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) is significantly increased, with respiratory infections as a major cause of death. Moreover, patients with PAI report an increased rate of non-fatal infections. Neutrophils and natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune cells that provide frontline protection against invading pathogens. Thus, we compared the function and phenotype of NK cells and neutrophils isolated from PAI patients and healthy controls to ascertain whether altered innate immune responses could be a contributory factor for the increased susceptibility of PAI patients to infection.

Design and methods

We undertook a cross-sectional study of 42 patients with PAI due to autoimmune adrenalitis (n = 37) or bilateral adrenalectomy (n = 5) and 58 sex- and age-matched controls. A comprehensive screen of innate immune function, consisting of measurements of neutrophil phagocytosis, reactive oxygen species production, NK cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) and NK cell surface receptor expression, was performed on all subjects.

Results

Neutrophil function did not differ between PAI and controls. However, NKCC was significantly reduced in PAI (12.0 ± 1.5% vs 21.1 ± 2.6%, P < 0.0001). Phenotypically, the percentage of NK cells expressing the activating receptors NKG2D and NKp46 was significantly lower in PAI, as was the surface density of NKG2D (all P < 0.0001). Intracellular granzyme B expression was significantly increased in NK cells from PAI patients (P < 0.01).

Conclusions

Adrenal insufficiency is associated with significantly decreased NKCC, thereby potentially compromising early recognition and elimination of virally infected cells. This potential impairment in anti-viral immune defense may contribute to the increased rate of respiratory infections and ultimately mortality in PAI.

Open access

Martin Wabitsch, Lutz Pridzun, Michael Ranke, Julia von Schnurbein, Anja Moss, Stephanie Brandt, Katja Kohlsdorf, Barbara Moepps, Michael Schaab, Jan-Bernd Funcke, Peter Gierschik, Pamela Fischer-Posovszky, Bertram Flehmig and Jürgen Kratzsch

Context and aims

Functional leptin deficiency is characterized by high levels of circulating immunoreactive leptin (irLep), but a reduced bioactivity of the hormone due to defective receptor binding. As a result of the fact that affected patients can be successfully treated with metreleptin, it was aimed to develop and validate a diagnostic tool to detect functional leptin deficiency.

Methods

An immunoassay capable of recognizing the functionally relevant receptor-binding complex with leptin was developed (bioLep). The analytical quality of bioLep was validated and compared to a conventional assay for immune-reactive leptin (irLep). Its clinical relevance was evaluated in a cohort of lean and obese children and adults as well as in children diagnosed with functional leptin deficiency and their parents.

Results

In the clinical cohort, a bioLep/irLep ratio of 1.07 (range: 0.80–1.41) was observed. Serum of patients with non-functional leptin due to homozygous amino acid exchanges (D100Y or N103K) revealed high irLep but non-detectable bioLep levels. Upon treatment of these patients with metreleptin, irLep levels decreased, whereas levels of bioLep increased continuously. In patient relatives with heterozygous amino acid exchanges, a bioLep/irLep ratio of 0.52 (range: 0.48–0.55) being distinct from normal was observed.

Conclusions

The new bioLep assay is able to diagnose impaired leptin bioactivity in severely obese patients with a homozygous gene defect and in heterozygous carriers of such mutations. The assay serves as a diagnostic tool to monitor leptin bioactivity during treatment of these patients.

Open access

Christian J Strasburger, Peter Vanuga, Juraj Payer, Marija Pfeifer, Vera Popovic, László Bajnok, Miklós Góth, Veˇra Olšovská, L‘udmila Trejbalová, Janos Vadasz, Eyal Fima, Ronit Koren, Leanne Amitzi, Martin Bidlingmaier, Oren Hershkovitz, Gili Hart and Beverly M K Biller

Objective

Growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy currently requires daily injections, which may cause distress and low compliance. C-terminal peptide (CTP)-modified growth hormone (MOD-4023) is being developed as a once-weekly dosing regimen in patients with GH deficiency (GHD). This study’s objective is to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics (PD) and efficacy of MOD-4023 administered once-weekly in GHD adults.

Design

54 adults with GHD currently treated with daily GH were normalized and randomized into 4 weekly dosing cohorts of MOD-4023 at 18.5%, 37%, 55.5% or 123.4% of individual cumulative weekly molar hGH dose. The study included 2 stages: Stage A assessed the effectiveness and PK/PD profiles of the 4 dosing regimens of MOD-4023. Stage B was an extension period of once-weekly MOD-4023 administration (61.7% molar hGH content) to collect further safety data and confirm the results from Stage A.

Results

Dose-dependent response was observed for both PK and PD data of weekly MOD-4023 treatment. Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) SDS levels were maintained within normal range. The 18.5% cohort was discontinued due to low efficacy. MOD-4023 was well tolerated and exhibited favorable safety profile in all dose cohorts. The reported adverse events were consistent with known GH-related side effects.

Conclusions

Once-weekly MOD-4023 administration in GHD adults was found to be clinically effective while maintaining a favorable safety profile and may obviate the need for daily injections. Weekly GH injections may improve compliance and overall outcome. The promising results achieved in this Phase 2 study led to a pivotal Phase 3 trial, which is currently ongoing.

Open access

Susanne Thiele, Giovanna Mantovani, Anne Barlier, Valentina Boldrin, Paolo Bordogna, Luisa De Sanctis, Francesca M Elli, Kathleen Freson, Intza Garin, Virginie Grybek, Patrick Hanna, Benedetta Izzi, Olaf Hiort, Beatriz Lecumberri, Arrate Pereda, Vrinda Saraff, Caroline Silve, Serap Turan, Alessia Usardi, Ralf Werner, Guiomar Perez de Nanclares and Agnès Linglart

Objective

Disorders caused by impairments in the parathyroid hormone (PTH) signalling pathway are historically classified under the term pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP), which encompasses rare, related and highly heterogeneous diseases with demonstrated (epi)genetic causes. The actual classification is based on the presence or absence of specific clinical and biochemical signs together with an in vivo response to exogenous PTH and the results of an in vitro assay to measure Gsa protein activity. However, this classification disregards other related diseases such as acrodysostosis (ACRDYS) or progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH), as well as recent findings of clinical and genetic/epigenetic background of the different subtypes. Therefore, the EuroPHP network decided to develop a new classification that encompasses all disorders with impairments in PTH and/or PTHrP cAMP-mediated pathway.

Design and methods

Extensive review of the literature was performed. Several meetings were organised to discuss about a new, more effective and accurate way to describe disorders caused by abnormalities of the PTH/PTHrP signalling pathway.

Results and conclusions

After determining the major and minor criteria to be considered for the diagnosis of these disorders, we proposed to group them under the term ‘inactivating PTH/PTHrP signalling disorder’ (iPPSD). This terminology: (i) defines the common mechanism responsible for all diseases; (ii) does not require a confirmed genetic defect; (iii) avoids ambiguous terms like ‘pseudo’ and (iv) eliminates the clinical or molecular overlap between diseases. We believe that the use of this nomenclature and classification will facilitate the development of rationale and comprehensive international guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of iPPSDs.

Open access

Adam Stevens, Philip Murray, Jerome Wojcik, John Raelson, Ekaterina Koledova, Pierre Chatelain, Peter Clayton and The PREDICT Investigator Group

Objective

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the response to recombinant human growth hormone (r-hGH) have previously been identified in growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and Turner syndrome (TS) children in the PREDICT long-term follow-up (LTFU) study (Nbib699855). Here, we describe the PREDICT validation (VAL) study (Nbib1419249), which aimed to confirm these genetic associations.

Design and methods

Children with GHD (n = 293) or TS (n = 132) were recruited retrospectively from 29 sites in nine countries. All children had completed 1 year of r-hGH therapy. 48 SNPs previously identified as associated with first year growth response to r-hGH were genotyped. Regression analysis was used to assess the association between genotype and growth response using clinical/auxological variables as covariates. Further analysis was undertaken using random forest classification.

Results

The children were younger, and the growth response was higher in VAL study. Direct genotype analysis did not replicate what was found in the LTFU study. However, using exploratory regression models with covariates, a consistent relationship with growth response in both VAL and LTFU was shown for four genes – SOS1 and INPPL1 in GHD and ESR1 and PTPN1 in TS. The random forest analysis demonstrated that only clinical covariates were important in the prediction of growth response in mild GHD (>4 to <10 μg/L on GH stimulation test), however, in severe GHD (≤4 μg/L) several SNPs contributed (in IGF2, GRB10, FOS, IGFBP3 and GHRHR).

Conclusions

The PREDICT validation study supports, in an independent cohort, the association of four of 48 genetic markers with growth response to r-hGH treatment in both pre-pubertal GHD and TS children after controlling for clinical/auxological covariates. However, the contribution of these SNPs in a prediction model of first-year response is not sufficient for routine clinical use.