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Dirk Alexander Wittekind, Markus Scholz, Jürgen Kratzsch, Markus Löffler, Katrin Horn, Holger Kirsten, Veronica Witte, Arno Villringer, and Michael Kluge

Objective

Ghrelin is an orexigenic peptide hormone involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis, food intake and glucose metabolism. Serum levels increase anticipating a meal and fall afterwards. Underlying genetic mechanisms of the ghrelin secretion are unknown.

Methods

Total serum ghrelin was measured in 1501 subjects selected from the population-based LIFE-ADULT-sample after an overnight fast. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed. Gene-based expression association analyses (transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS)) are statistical tests associating genetically predicted expression to a certain trait and were done using MetaXcan.

Results

In the GWAS, three loci reached genome-wide significance: the WW-domain containing the oxidoreductase-gene (WWOX; P = 1.80E-10) on chromosome 16q23.3-24.1 (SNP: rs76823993); the contactin-associated protein-like 2 gene (CNTNAP2; P = 9.0E-9) on chromosome 7q35-q36 (SNP: rs192092592) and the ghrelin And obestatin prepropeptide gene (GHRL; P = 2.72E-8) on chromosome 3p25.3 (SNP: rs143729751). In the TWAS, the three genes where the expression was strongest associated with serum ghrelin levels was the ribosomal protein L36 (RPL36; P = 1.3E-06, FDR = 0.011, positively correlated), AP1B1 (P = 1.1E-5, FDR = 0.048, negatively correlated) and the GDNF family receptor alpha like (GFRAL), receptor of the anorexigenic growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF15), (P = 1.8E-05, FDR = 0.15, also negatively correlated).

Conclusions

The three genome-wide significant genetic loci from the GWA and the genes identified in the TWA are functionally plausible and should initiate further research.

Open access

Angela K Lucas-Herald, Jillian Bryce, Andreas Kyriakou, Marie Lindhardt Ljubicic, Wiebke Arlt, Laura Audi, Antonio Balsamo, Federico Baronio, Silvano Bertelloni, Markus Bettendorf, Antonia Brooke, Hedi L Claahsen van der Grinten, Justin H Davies, Gloria Hermann, Liat de Vries, Ieuan A Hughes, Rieko Tadokoro-Cuccaro, Feyza Darendeliler, Sukran Poyrazoglu, Mona Ellaithi, Olcay Evliyaoglu, Simone Fica, Lavinia Nedelea, Aneta Gawlik, Evgenia Globa, Nataliya Zelinska, Tulay Guran, Ayla Güven, Sabine E Hannema, Olaf Hiort, Paul-Martin Holterhus, Violeta Iotova, Vilhelm Mladenov, Vandana Jain, Rajni Sharma, Farida Jennane, Colin Johnston, Gil Guerra Junior, Daniel Konrad, Odile Gaisl, Nils Krone, Ruth Krone, Katherine Lachlan, Dejun Li, Corina Lichiardopol, Lidka Lisa, Renata Markosyan, Inas Mazen, Klaus Mohnike, Marek Niedziela, Anna Nordenstrom, Rodolfo Rey, Mars Skaeil, Lloyd J W Tack, Jeremy Tomlinson, Naomi Weintrob, Martine Cools, and S Faisal Ahmed

Objectives

To determine trends in clinical practice for individuals with DSD requiring gonadectomy.

Design

Retrospective cohort study.

Methods

Information regarding age at gonadectomy according to diagnosis; reported sex; time of presentation to specialist centre; and location of centre from cases reported to the International DSD Registry and who were over 16 years old in January 2019.

Results

Data regarding gonadectomy were available in 668 (88%) individuals from 44 centres. Of these, 248 (37%) (median age (range) 24 (17, 75) years) were male and 420 (63%) (median age (range) 26 (16, 86) years) were female. Gonadectomy was reported from 36 centres in 351/668 cases (53%). Females were more likely to undergo gonadectomy (n = 311, P < 0.0001). The indication for gonadectomy was reported in 268 (76%). The most common indication was mitigation of tumour risk in 172 (64%). Variations in the practice of gonadectomy were observed; of the 351 cases from 36 centres, 17 (5%) at 9 centres had undergone gonadectomy before their first presentation to the specialist centre. Median age at gonadectomy of cases from high-income countries and low-/middle-income countries (LMIC) was 13.0 years (0.1, 68) years and 16.5 years (1, 28), respectively (P < 0.0001) with the likelihood of long-term retention of gonads being higher in LMIC countries.

Conclusions

The likelihood of gonadectomy depends on the underlying diagnosis, sex of rearing and the geographical setting. Clinical benchmarks, which can be studied across all forms of DSD will allow a better understanding of the variation in the practice of gonadectomy.

Free access

Satu Seppä, Tanja Kuiri-Hänninen, Elina Holopainen, and Raimo Voutilainen

Puberty is the period of transition from childhood to adulthood characterized by the attainment of adult height and body composition, accrual of bone strength and the acquisition of secondary sexual characteristics, psychosocial maturation and reproductive capacity. In girls, menarche is a late marker of puberty. Primary amenorrhea is defined as the absence of menarche in ≥ 15-year-old females with developed secondary sexual characteristics and normal growth or in ≥13-year-old females without signs of pubertal development. Furthermore, evaluation for primary amenorrhea should be considered in the absence of menarche 3 years after thelarche (start of breast development) or 5 years after thelarche, if that occurred before the age of 10 years. A variety of disorders in the hypothalamus–pituitary–ovarian axis can lead to primary amenorrhea with delayed, arrested or normal pubertal development. Etiologies can be categorized as hypothalamic or pituitary disorders causing hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, gonadal disorders causing hypergonadotropic hypogonadism, disorders of other endocrine glands, and congenital utero–vaginal anomalies. This article gives a comprehensive review of the etiologies, diagnostics and management of primary amenorrhea from the perspective of pediatric endocrinologists and gynecologists. The goals of treatment vary depending on both the etiology and the patient; with timely etiological diagnostics fertility may be attained even in those situations where no curable treatment exists.

Free access

Mirella Hage, Clément Janot, Sylvie Salenave, Philippe Chanson, and Peter Kamenický

To gain more insight on the pathogenesis of somatotroph pituitary adenomas, recent studies have focused on a subgroup of patients with acromegaly displaying a paradoxical growth hormone (GH) response during oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The paradoxical rise of GH after oral glucose intake occurs in about one-third of acromegaly patients and has been pathogenetically linked, by analogy to glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP)-dependent Cushing's syndrome, to the ectopic expression of GIP receptor (GIPR) in somatotroph adenoma cells. GIPR-expressing adenomas are negative for activating GNAS gene mutations and display distinct cytogenetic and DNA methylation profiles, highlighting their unique molecular pathogenesis. Acromegaly patients with a paradoxical GH response pattern seem to display higher insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentrations and harbour smaller adenomas that are more often of the densely granulated phenotype. They seem also to show a better response to somatostatin receptor ligands. In addition, persistent paradoxical GH response after surgery may be a biological marker of the residual disease postoperatively. Targeted therapy to antagonize GIP receptor on GIPR-expressing somatotroph adenomas could be a new treatment approach for acromegaly patients with a paradoxical pattern of GH response to OGTT.

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 activates 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.

Free access

Vita Birzniece and Ken K Y Ho

There is a strong biological link between the growth hormone (GH) and gonadal systems in growth, development and metabolism; however, regulatory interactions are poorly understood. Advances in estrogen biology and endocrine physiology have provided insights into mechanistic links between the two systems. Estrogens are synthesized from androgens by aromatase which is widely distributed in extragonadal tissues. Local generation of estrogens raise the possibility of paracrine control as an additional level to classical endocrine regulation of the GH system. To explore the mechanistic links, we review the pharmacology of estrogen, the effects of estrogen replacement, antagonism, and the impact of aromatase inhibition on the GH system as well as the metabolic sequelae. In men, estrogens derived from androgens drive the central secretion of GH, independent of the androgen receptor. In hypogonadal women, physiological replacement via a parenteral route evokes no effect while estrogen receptor antagonism and estrogen deprivation induce disparate effects, providing no consistent evidence that estrogens regulate the central secretion of GH via paracrine or endocrine mechanisms. However, delivery of estrogen by the oral route inhibits hepatic IGF-1 production, in turn increasing GH secretion via reduced feedback inhibition. This endocrine route-dependent effect of oral estrogen compounds on hepatic function induces detrimental metabolic effects on hypogonadal women. In conclusion, estrogens regulate the secretion and action of GH via complex paracrine and endocrine interactions and impart metabolic effects in a route- and gender-dependent manner. The metabolic sequelae of compounds mimicking, antagonizing, or depleting estrogens, should be considered in tailoring and optimizing their use.

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Amanda Leiter, Emily Carroll, Sonia De Alwis, Danielle Brooks, Jennifer Ben Shimol, Elliot Eisenberg, Juan P Wisnivesky, Matthew D Galsky, and Emily Jane Gallagher

Objective

Obese and overweight body mass index (BMI) categories have been associated with increased immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in patients with cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs); however, the impact of being overweight in conjunction with related metabolic syndrome-associated factors on irAEs have not been investigated. We aimed to evaluate the impact of overweight and obese BMI according to metabolic disease burden on the development of irAEs.

Design and methods

We conducted a retrospective observational study of patients receiving ICIs at a cancer center. Our main study outcome was development of ≥grade 2 (moderate) irAEs. Our main predictor was weight/metabolic disease risk category: (1) normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2)/low metabolic risk (<2 metabolic diseases (diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension)), (2) normal weight/high metabolic risk (≥2 metabolic diseases), (3) overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2)/low metabolic risk, and (4) overweight/high metabolic risk.

Results

Of 411 patients in our cohort, 374 were eligible for analysis. Overall, 111 (30%) patients developed ≥grade 2 irAEs. In Cox analysis, overweight/low metabolic risk was significantly associated with ≥grade 2 irAEs (hazard ratio (HR): 2.0, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.2–3.4) when compared to normal weight/low metabolic risk, while overweight/high metabolic risk (HR: 1.3, 95% CI: 0.7–2.2) and normal weight/high metabolic risk (HR: 1.5, 95% CI: 0.7–3.0) were not.

Conclusions

Overweight patients with fewer metabolic comorbidities were at increased risk for irAEs. This study provides an important insight that BMI should be evaluated in the context of associated metabolic comorbidities in assessing risk of irAE development and ICI immune response.

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Jun Park, Hyun Ae Jung, Joon Ho Shim, Woong-Yang Park, Tae Hyuk Kim, Se-Hoon Lee, Sun Wook Kim, Myung-Ju Ahn, Keunchil Park, and Jae Hoon Chung

Background

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) has dismal prognosis and there is no effective treatment. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy in real-world clinic and to suggest the most effective treatment modality according to the combination of treatments.

Methods

This retrospective study evaluated clinical outcomes and cause of death with multimodal treatments in patients with ATC at Samsung Medical Center.

Results

A total of 120 patients received anti-cancer treatment for ATC. Seventy-seven (64.2%) patients underwent surgery, 64 (53.3%) received radiotherapy, 29 (24.2%) received cytotoxic chemotherapy, and 19 (15.8%) received TKI therapy. In the TKI therapy group, eight achieved partial response (three with lenvatinib and five with dabrafenib plus trametinib), and two patients with lenvatinib showed stable disease. Median progression-free survival (PFS) of the TKI therapy group was 2.7 months (range: 0.1–12.7) and their median overall survival (OS) was 12.4 months (range: 1.7–47.7). Patients who received surgery or radiotherapy for local control showed superior OS than those who did not. In a multivariate analysis, surgery, TKI therapy, younger age, and no distant metastasis were associated with favorable OS. The combination of surgery, radiotherapy, and TKI therapy (median OS: 34.3 months, 6-month survival rates: 77.8%) was the most effective. Compared to the era without TKI therapy, distant metastasis has recently become the major cause of death in ATC over airway problems.

Conclusions

Multimodality treatment including TKI therapy demonstrated prolonged survival with dabrafenib plus trametinib as the most effective therapeutic option demonstrated for BRAF mutant ATC patients.

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Laura-Sophie Landwehr, Jochen Schreiner, Silke Appenzeller, Stefan Kircher, Sabine Herterich, Silviu Sbiera, Martin Fassnacht, Matthias Kroiss, and Isabel Weigand

Background

The response of advanced adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) to current chemotherapies is unsatisfactory and a limited rate of response to immunotherapy was observed in clinical trials. High tumour mutational burden (TMB) and the presence of a specific DNA signature are characteristic features of tumours with mutations in the gene MUTYH encoding the mutY DNA glycosylase. Both have been shown to potentially predict the response to immunotherapy. High TMB in an ACC cell line model has not been reported yet.

Design and methods

The JIL-2266 cell line was established from a primary ACC tumour, comprehensively characterised and oxidative damage, caused by a dysfunctional mutY DNA glycosylase, confirmed.

Results

Here, we characterise the novel patient-derived ACC cell line JIL-2266, which is deficient in mutY-dependent DNA repair. JIL-2266 cells have a consistent STR marker profile that confirmed congruousness with primary ACC tumour. Cells proliferate with a doubling time of 41 ± 13 h. Immunohistochemistry revealed positivity for steroidogenic factor-1. Mass spectrometry did not demonstrate significant steroid hormone synthesis. JIL-2266 have hemizygous mutations in the tumour suppressor gene TP53 (c.859G>T:p.E287X) and MUTYH (c.316C>T:p.R106W). Exome sequencing showed 683 single nucleotide variants and 4 insertions/deletions. We found increased oxidative DNA damage in the cell line and the corresponding primary tumour caused by impaired mutY DNA glycosylase function and accumulation of 8-oxoguanine.

Conclusion

This model will be valuable as a pre-clinical ACC cell model with high TMB and a tool to study oxidative DNA damage in the adrenal gland.

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Frederick Vogel, Leah Braun, German Rubinstein, Stephanie Zopp, Sarina Benedix, Holger Schneider, Katrin Ritzel, Katharina Schilbach, Ralf Schmidmaier, Felix Beuschlein, Martin Bidlingmaier, and Martin Reincke

Background

Glucocorticoid excess leads to muscle atrophy and weakness in patients with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome. Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) is known to have protective effects on muscle loss. We hypothesized that individual serum IGF-I concentrations might be predictive for long-term myopathy outcome in Cushing’s syndrome.

Patients and methods

In a prospective longitudinal study of 31 patients with florid Cushing’s syndrome, we analyzed IGF-I and IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP 3) concentrations at the time of diagnosis and following surgical remission over a period of up to 3 years. We assessed muscle strength by grip strength measurements using a hand grip dynamometer and muscle mass by bio-impedance measurements.

Findings

Individual serum IGF-I concentrations in the postoperative phase were strongly predictive of long-term grip strength outcome (rs = 0.696, P ≤ 0.001). Also, lower IGF-I concentrations were associated with a lower muscle mass after 3 years (rs = 0.404, P  = 0.033). While patients with high IGF-I s.d. scores (SDS; >1.4) showed an improvement in grip strength within the follow-up period (P  = 0.009), patients with lower IGF-I SDS (≤−0.4) had a worse outcome with persisting muscle dysfunction. In contrast, preoperative IGF-I concentrations during the florid phase of Cushing’s syndrome did not predict long-term muscle function outcome (rs = 0.285, P  = 0.127).

Conclusion

Lower individual IGF-I concentrations 6 months after curative surgery for Cushing’s syndrome are associated with adverse long-term myopathy outcome and IGF-I might be essential for muscle regeneration in the early phase after correction of hypercortisolism.