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Open access

Anuradhaa Subramanian, Astha Anand, Nicola J Adderley, Kelvin Okoth, Konstantinos A Toulis, Krishna Gokhale, Christopher Sainsbury, Michael W O’Reilly, Wiebke Arlt, and Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar

Objective

Several recent observational studies have linked metabolic comorbidities to an increased risk from COVID-19. Here we investigated whether women with PCOS are at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

Design

Population-based closed cohort study between 31 January 2020 and 22 July 2020 in the setting of a UK primary care database (The Health Improvement Network, THIN).

Methods

The main outcome was the incidence of COVID-19 coded as suspected or confirmed by the primary care provider. We used Cox proportional hazards regression model with stepwise inclusion of explanatory variables (age, BMI, impaired glucose regulation, androgen excess, anovulation, vitamin D deficiency, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease) to provide unadjusted and adjusted hazard risks (HR) of COVID-19 infection among women with PCOS compared to women without PCOS.

Results

We identified 21 292 women with a coded diagnosis of PCO/PCOS and randomly selected 78 310 aged and general practice matched control women. The crude COVID-19 incidence was 18.1 and 11.9 per 1000 person-years among women with and without PCOS, respectively. Age-adjusted Cox regression analysis suggested a 51% higher risk of COVID-19 among women with PCOS compared to women without PCOS (HR: 1.51 (95% CI: 1.27–1.80), P < 0.001). After adjusting for age and BMI, HR reduced to 1.36 (1.14–1.63)], P = 0.001. In the fully adjusted model, women with PCOS had a 28% increased risk of COVID-19 (aHR: 1.28 (1.05–1.56), P = 0.015).

Conclusion

Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and should be specifically encouraged to adhere to infection control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Significance statement

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have an increased risk of cardio-metabolic disease, which have been identified as a risk factor for COVID-19. To investigate whether the increased metabolic risk in PCOS translates into an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, we carried out a population-based closed cohort study in the UK during its first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (January to July 2020), including 21 292 women with PCOS and 78 310 controls matched for sex, age and general practice location. Results revealed a 52% increased risk of COVID-19 infection in women with PCOS, which remained increased at 28% above controls after adjustment for age, BMI, impaired glucose regulation and other explanatory variables.

Open access

Radu Mihai and Rajesh V Thakker

Background

Permanent postsurgical hypoparathyroidism (POSH) is a major complication of anterior neck surgery in general and of thyroid surgery in particular. Depending on diagnostic criteria, up to 10% of patients undergoing bilateral thyroid surgery develop POSH. This leads to a multitude of symptoms that decrease the quality of life and burden the healthcare provision through complex needs for medication and treatment of specific complications, such as seizures and laryngospasm.

Methods

Narrative review of current medical treatments for POSH and of the experience accumulated with parathyroid allotransplantation.

Results

In most patients, POSH is controlled with regular use of calcium supplements and active vitamin D analogues but a significant proportion of patients continue to experience severe symptoms requiring repeated emergency admissions. Replacement therapy with synthetic PTH compounds (PTH1-34, Natpara® and PTH1-84, teriparatide, Forsteo®) has been assessed in multicentre trials, but the use of this medication is restricted by costs and concerns related to the risk of development of osteosarcoma. Based on recent case reports of successful allotransplantation of parathyroid tissue between siblings, there is renewed interest in this technique. Data on selection of donors, parathyroid cell preparation before allotransplantation, site and timing of transplantation, need for immunosuppression and long-term outcomes are reviewed.

Conclusion

A prospective trial to assess the efficacy of parathyroid allotransplantation in patients with severely symptomatic protracted post-surgical hypoparathyroidism is warranted.

Open access

Irina Chifu, Amelie Gerstl, Björn Lengenfelder, Dominik Schmitt, Nils Nagler, Martin Fassnacht, and Dirk Weismann

Objective

Treatment of symptomatic hyponatremia is not well established. The European guidelines recommend bolus-wise administration of 150 mL of 3% hypertonic saline. This recommendation is, however, based on low level of evidence.

Design

Observational study.

Methods

Sixty-two consecutive hyponatremic patients admitted to the emergency department or intensive care unit of the University Hospital Wuerzburg were divided in subgroups according to treatment (150 mL bolus of 3% hypertonic saline or conventional treatment) and symptom severity. Treatment target was defined as an increase in serum sodium by 5–10 mEq/L within first 24 h and maximum 8 mEq/L during subsequent 24 h.

Results

Thirty-three out of sixty-two patients (53%) were presented with moderate symptoms and 29/62 (47%) with severe symptoms. Thirty-six were treated with hypertonic saline and 26 conventionally. In the hypertonic saline group, serum sodium increased from 116 ± 7 to 123 ± 6 (24 h) and 127 ± 6 mEq/L (48 h) and from 121 ± 6 to 126 ± 5 and 129 ± 4 mEq/L in the conventional group, respectively. Overcorrection at 24 h occurred more frequent in patients with severe symptoms than with moderate symptoms (38% vs 6%, P < 0.05). Diuresis correlated positively with the degree of sodium overcorrection at 24 h (r = 0.6, P < 0.01). Conventional therapies exposed patients to higher degrees of sodium fluctuations and an increased risk for insufficient sodium correction at 24 h compared to hypertonic saline (RR: 2.8, 95% CI: 1.4–5.5).

Conclusion

Sodium increase was more constant with hypertonic saline, but overcorrection rate was high, especially in severely symptomatic patients. Reducing bolus-volume and reevaluation before repeating bolus infusion might prevent overcorrection. Symptoms caused by hypovolemia can be misinterpreted as severely symptomatic hyponatremia and diuresis should be monitored.

Open access

Irina Bacila, Nicole Freeman, Eleni Daniel, Marija Sandrk, Jillian Bryce, Salma Rashid Ali, Zehra Yavas Abali, Navoda Atapattu, Tania A Bachega, Antonio Balsamo, Niels Birkebæk, Oliver Blankenstein, Walter Bonfig, Martine Cools, Eduardo Correa Costa, Feyza Darendeliler, Silvia Einaudi, Heba Hassan Elsedfy, Martijn Finken, Evelien Gevers, Hedi L Claahsen-van der Grinten, Tulay Guran, Ayla Güven, Sabine E Hannema, Claire E Higham, Violeta Iotova, Hetty J van der Kamp, Marta Korbonits, Ruth E Krone, Corina Lichiardopol, Andrea Luczay, Berenice Bilharinho Mendonca, Tatjana Milenkovic, Mirela C Miranda, Klaus Mohnike, Uta Neumann, Rita Ortolano, Sukran Poyrazoglu, Ajay Thankamony, Jeremy W Tomlinson, Ana Vieites, Liat de Vries, S Faisal Ahmed, Richard J Ross, and Nils P Krone

Objective

Despite published guidelines no unified approach to hormone replacement in congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) exists. We aimed to explore geographical and temporal variations in the treatment with glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids in CAH.

Design

This retrospective multi-center study, including 31 centers (16 countries), analyzed data from the International-CAH Registry.

Methods

Data were collected from 461 patients aged 0–18 years with classic 21-hydroxylase deficiency (54.9% females) under follow-up between 1982 and 2018. Type, dose and timing of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement were analyzed from 4174 patient visits.

Results

The most frequently used glucocorticoid was hydrocortisone (87.6%). Overall, there were significant differences between age groups with regards to daily hydrocortisone-equivalent dose for body surface, with the lowest dose (median with interquartile range) of 12.0 (10.0–14.5) mg/m2/day at age 1–8 years and the highest dose of 14.0 (11.6–17.4) mg/m2/day at age 12–18 years. Glucocorticoid doses decreased after 2010 in patients 0–8 years (P < 0.001) and remained unchanged in patients aged 8–18 years. Fludrocortisone was used in 92% of patients, with relative doses decreasing with age. A wide variation was observed among countries with regards to all aspects of steroid hormone replacement.

Conclusions

Data from the I-CAH Registry suggests international variations in hormone replacement therapy, with a tendency to treatment with high doses in children.

Open access

Anette Boe Wolff, Lars Breivik, Karl Ove Hufthammer, Marianne Aardal Grytaas, Eirik Bratland, Eystein Sverre Husebye, and Bergithe Eikeland Oftedal

Background

The most common cause of primary adrenal failure (Addison’s disease) in the Western world is autoimmunity characterized by autoantibodies against the steroidogenic enzyme 21-hydroxylase (CYP21A2, 21OH). Detection of 21OH-autoantibodies is currently used for aetiological diagnosis, but how levels of 21OH-autoantibodies vary over time is not known.

Setting

Samples from the national Norwegian Addison’s Registry and Biobank established in 1996 (n = 711). Multi-parameter modelling of the course of 21OH-autoantibody indices over time.

Results

21OH-autoantibody positivity is remarkably stable, and >90% of the patients are still positive 30 years after diagnosis. Even though the antibody levels decline with disease duration, it is only rarely that this downturn reaches negativity. 21OH-autoantibody indices are affected by age at diagnosis, sex, type of Addison’s disease (isolated vs autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type I or II) and HLA genotype.

Conclusion

21OH-autoantibodies are reliable and robust markers for autoimmune Addison’s disease, linked to HLA risk genotype. However, a negative test in patients with long disease duration does not exclude autoimmune aetiology.

Open access

Marcus Quinkler, Robert D Murray, Pinggao Zhang, Claudio Marelli, Robert Petermann, Andrea M. Isidori, and Bertil Ekman

Objective: This study aimed to characterize the clinical and biochemical features of patients with primary (PAI) and secondary (SAI) adrenal insufficiency who developed adrenal crises (ACs) and estimate the incidence of ACs in these patients.

Design: Retrospective case-control analysis of the European Adrenal Insufficiency Registry (EU-AIR; NCT01661387).

Methods: 2694 patients with AI (1054 PAI; 1640 SAI) enrolled in EU-AIR. Patients who developed ≥1 AC were matched 1:3 with patients without ACs for age, sex and AI type. Data were collected at baseline and follow-up (mean±SD: PAI 3.2±1.7 years; SAI 2.9±1.7 years).

Results: 148/2694 patients (5.5%; n=84 PAI; n=64 SAI) had an AC during the study: 6.53 (PAI) and 3.17 (SAI) ACs/100 patient-years. Of patients who experienced an AC, 16% (PAI) and 9.4% (SAI) experienced ≥1 AC/year. The incidence of adverse events, infectious intercurrent illnesses and infectious serious adverse events were higher in patients with ACs than without ACs.

No differences were observed in BMI, HbA1c, blood pressure and frequencies of diabetes mellitus or hypertension between subgroups (PAI and SAI, with and without ACs). At baseline, PAI patients with AC had higher serum potassium (4.3±0.5 vs 4.2±0.4mmol/L; P=0.03) and lower sodium (138.5±3.4 vs 139.7±2.9mmol/L; P=0.004) than patients without AC. At last observation, SAI patients with AC had higher hydrocortisone doses than patients without AC (11.9±5.1 vs 10.1±2.9mg/m2; P<0.001).

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that concomitant diseases and cardiovascular risk factors do not feature in the risk profile of AC; however, patients with AC had a higher incidence of infectious events.

Open access

Ben T McNeill, Karla J Suchacki, and Roland H. Stimson

Excessive accumulation of white adipose tissue leads to obesity and its associated metabolic health consequences such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Several approaches to treat or prevent obesity including public health interventions, surgical weight loss, and pharmacological approaches to reduce caloric intake have failed to substantially modify the increasing prevalence of obesity. The (re-)discovery of active brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans approximately 15 years ago led to a resurgence in research into whether BAT activation could be a novel therapy for the treatment of obesity. Upon cold stimulus, BAT is activated and generates heat to maintain body temperature, thus increasing energy expenditure. Activation of BAT may provide a unique opportunity to increase energy expenditure without the need for exercise. However, much of the underlying mechanisms surrounding BAT activation are still being elucidated and the effectiveness of BAT as a therapeutic target has not been realised. Research is ongoing to determine how best to expand BAT mass and activate existing BAT; approaches include cold exposure, pharmacological stimulation using sympathomimetics, browning agents that induce formation of thermogenic beige adipocytes in white adipose depots, and the identification of factors secreted by BAT with therapeutic potential. In this review, we discuss the caloric capacity and other metabolic benefits from BAT activation in humans and the role of metabolic tissues such as skeletal muscle in increasing energy expenditure. We discuss the potential of current approaches and the challenges of BAT activation as a novel strategy to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.

Open access

Lina Schiffer, Alicia Bossey, Punith Kempegowda, Angela E Taylor, Ildem Akerman, Dagmar Scheel-Toellner, Karl-Heinz Storbeck, and Wiebke Arlt

Objective

Androgens are important modulators of immune cell function. The local generation of active androgens from circulating precursors is an important mediator of androgen action in peripheral target cells or tissues. We aimed to characterize the activation of classic and 11-oxygenated androgens in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).

Methods

PBMCs were isolated from healthy male donors and incubated ex vivo with precursors and active androgens of the classic and 11-oxygenated androgen pathways. Steroids were quantified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The expression of genes encoding steroid-metabolizing enzymes was assessed by quantitative PCR.

Results

PBMCs generated eight-fold higher amounts of the active 11-oxygenated androgen 11-ketotestosterone than the classic androgen testosterone from their respective precursors. We identified the enzyme AKR1C3 as the major reductive 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in PBMCs responsible for both conversions and found that within the PBMC compartment natural killer cells are the major site of AKRC13 expression and activity. Steroid 5α-reductase type 1 catalyzed the 5α-reduction of classic but not 11-oxygenated androgens in PBMCs. Lag time prior to the separation of cellular components from whole blood increased serum 11-ketotestosterone concentrations in a time-dependent fashion, with significant increases detected from two hours after blood collection.

Conclusions

11-Oxygenated androgens are the preferred substrates for androgen activation by AKR1C3 in PBMCs, primarily conveyed by natural killer cell AKR1C3 activity, yielding 11-ketotestosterone the major active androgen in PBMCs. Androgen metabolism by PBMCs can affect the results of serum 11-ketotestosterone measurements, if samples are not separated in a timely fashion.

Significance statement

We show that human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) preferentially activate 11-ketotestosterone rather than testosterone when incubated with precursors of both the classic and the adrenal-derived 11-oxygenated androgen biosynthesis pathways. We demonstrate that this activity is catalyzed by the enzyme AKR1C3, which we found to primarily reside in natural killer cells, major contributors to the anti-viral immune defense. This potentially links intracrine 11-oxygenated androgen generation to the previously observed decreased NK cell cytotoxicity and increased infection risk in primary adrenal insufficiency. In addition, we show that PBMCs continue to generate 11-ketotestosterone if the cellular component of whole blood samples is not removed in a timely fashion, which could affect measurements of this active androgen in routine clinical biochemistry.

Open access

Dina B Stensen, Lars Småbrekke, Karina Olsen, Guri Grimnes, Christopher Sivert Nielsen, Johanna U E Sollid, Gunnar Skov Simonsen, Bjørg Almås, and Anne-Sofie Furberg

Objective

Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen, and nasal carriers have an increased risk for infection and disease. The exploration of host determinants for nasal carriage is relevant to decrease infection burden. Former studies demonstrate lower carriage prevalence in women and among users of progestin-only contraceptives. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible associations between circulating sex-steroid hormones and nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus in a general population.

Methods

In the population-based sixth Tromsø study (2007–2008) nurses collected nasal swab samples from 724 women aged 30–87 not using any exogenous hormones, and 700 of the women had a repeated nasal swab taken (median interval 28 days). We analysed a panel of serum sex-steroids by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, and collected information about lifestyle, health and anthropometric measures. Multivariable logistic regression was used to study the association between circulating sex-steroids and Staphylococcus aureus carriage (one swab) and persistent carriage (two swabs), while adjusting for potential confounding factors. Women in luteal phase were excluded in the analysis of androgens.

Results

Staphylococcus aureus persistent nasal carriage prevalence was 22%. One standard deviation increase in testosterone and bioavailable testosterone was associated with lower odds of persistent nasal carriage, (OR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.35–0.92 and OR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.30–0.92) respectively. Analysis stratified by menopause gave similar findings. Persistent carriers had lower average levels of androstenedione and DHEA, however, not statistically significant.

Conclusion

This large population-based study supports that women with lower levels of circulating testosterone may have increased probability of Staphylococcus aureus persistent carriage.