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Simon Hs Pearce, Earn H Gan, and Catherine Napier

Over the last ten years, evidence has accumulated that autoimmune Addison’s disease (AAD) is a heterogeneous disease. Residual adrenal function, characterised by persistent secretion of cortisol, other glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids is present in around 30% of patients with established AAD, and appears commoner in men. This persistent steroidogenesis is present in some patients with AAD for more than 20 years, but it is commoner in people with shorter disease duration. The clinical significance of residual adrenal function is not fully clear at the moment, but as it signifies an intact adrenocortical stem cell population, it opens up the possibility of regeneration of adrenal steroidogenesis and improvement in adrenal failure for some patients.

Free access

Robin Michelet, Johanna Melin, Zinnia P Parra‐Guillen, Uta Neumann, Martin J Whitaker, Viktoria Stachanow, Wilhelm Huisinga, John Porter, Oliver Blankenstein, Richard J Ross, and Charlotte Kloft

Free access

Hanneke M van Santen

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Olaf M Dekkers and Rolf H H Groenwold

The name of the study should properly reflect the actual conduct and analysis of the study. This short paper provides guidance on how to properly name the study design. The first distinction is between a trial (intervention given to patients to study its effect) and an observational study. For observational studies, it should further be decided whether it is cross-sectional or whether follow-up time is taken into account (cohort or case–control study). The distinction prospective-retrospective has two disadvantages: prospective is often seen as marker of higher quality, which is not necessarily true; there is no unifying definition that makes a proper distinction between retrospective and prospective possible.

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Robin P Peeters and Juan P Brito

There is controversy on the treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH). While a number of guidelines from professional societies recommend treatment of SCH based on TSH levels, age, and presence of comorbidities, a recent guideline issued a recommendation against thyroid hormone treatment in adults with SCH. In this debate article, we explore this controversy by presenting two points of view about SCH and its treatment. Treatment of patients who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant will not be discussed.

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Juho Kärkinen, Päivi J Miettinen, Taneli Raivio, and Matti Hero

Objective:

To describe the etiology of severe short stature in the Helsinki University Hospital district covering a population of 1.2 million that is subject to frequent growth monitoring and screening rules during childhood.

Design:

Retrospective cohort study.

Methods:

We identified all subjects born 1990 or later with a height SD score <−3, after the age of 3 years, from the Helsinki University Hospital district growth database. A total of 785 subjects (376 females and 409 males) fulfilled our inclusion criteria; we reviewed their medical records and growth data and report their underlying diagnoses.

Results:

A pathological cause for short stature was diagnosed in 76% of the girls and 71% of the boys (P = NS). Syndromes were the most numerous pathological cause (n = 160; 20%), followed by organ disorders (n = 127; 16%), growth hormone deficiency (GHD, n = 94; 12%), SGA without catch-up growth (n = 73; 9%), and skeletal dysplasias (n = 57; 7%). Idiopathic short stature (ISS) was diagnosed in 210 (27%) subjects. The probability of growth-related pathology, particularly of a syndrome or skeletal dysplasia, increased with the shorter height SD score and the greater deviation from the target height. Sitting height to height SDS was increased in subjects with ISS, GHD, and SGA (all P < 0.01).

Conclusions:

Height <−3 SDS after 3 years of age usually results from a pathological cause and should be thoroughly investigated in specialized health care. The chance of finding a specific etiology increased with the severity of short stature, and the mismatch with target height.

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Athanasia Stoupa, Ghada Al Hage Chehade, Dulanjalee Kariyawasam, Celine Tohier, Christine Bole-Feysot, Patrick Nitschke, Helene Thibault, Marie-Laure Jullie, Michel Polak, and Aurore Carré

Background:

Among patients with congenital hypothyroidism, 35% have dyshormonogenesis (DH) with thyroid gland in situ with or without goiter. The majority of DH cases are due to mutations in genes involved in thyroid hormone production as TG, TPO, SLC5A5/NIS, SLC26A4/PDS, IYD/DEHAL1, DUOX2, and DUOXA2, and are usually inherited on an autosomal recessive basis. Most previously reported cases of fetal hypothyroidism and goiter were related to TG or TPO mutations and recently DUOXA2.

Patient:

In a male patient with antenatal goiter treated with intraamniotic levothyroxine injections, whose long-term follow-up is described in detail, two novel NIS mutations were detected. Mutations of NIS were located in exon 1 (c.52G>A, p.G18R) and exon 13 (c.1546C>T, p.R516X), each mutation was inherited from parents, who are healthy carriers. The p.G18R mutation affecting the first transmembrane domain of the protein can be responsible for deficient iodide uptake. However, the second is a nonsense mutation leading probably to mRNA degradation. In addition, the patient has undergone a thyroidectomy and we have studied the thyroid tissue. The thyroid histology showed heterogeneity with large follicles, epithelial hyperplasia and many areas of fibrosis. Immunohistochemistry with NIS specific antibody showed NIS staining at the basolateral plasma membrane of the thyrocytes.

Conclusions:

We report the first case of fetal goitrous hypothyroidism due to two novel NIS mutations with access to thyroid tissue of the patient, specific histology studies and long-term follow-up. This case expands our knowledge and provides further insights on molecular causes of fetal goiter in humans.

Free access

C Berg, T E Wessendorf, F Mortsch, M Forsting, H Teschler, T Weischer, K Mann, B Saller, and B L Herrmann

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M Deandrea, P Trimboli, A Creanza, F Garino, A Mormile, S Bertolino, R Garberoglio, P P Limone, and M Zingrillo

Background and aim:

Cystic thyroid nodules (CNs), although generally benign, can cause compressive or aesthetic problems. Percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) can represent an alternative to surgery. The present retrospective study evaluates: (i) the long-term outcome of CNs after PEI; (ii) the differences between two different PEI protocols; (iii) the CNs response according to the liquid component.

Materials and methods:

The study comprises 358 nodules post-PEI followed for at least 2 years. PEI was performed according to two different treatment protocols with a single (Foggia) or double (Turin) alcohol injection. CNs were divided according to their composition: cystic (CYS) >90%, mainly cystic (M-CYS) 75–90%, mixed (MIX) 50–75%, solid-mixed (S-MIX) 35-50%. The volume reduction rate (VRR) was defined as nodule volume (mL) after PEI/nodule volume (mL) before PEI x 100.

Results:

The 1-year VRR was significantly higher than that at 6 months (89.5% vs 72.9%, P = 0.0005), no differences were observed after 1 year. A significant difference between Turin and Foggia was observed only in VRR at early visit (79% vs 86%, respectively, P = 0.002) and recurrence rate (14% vs 24%, respectively, P = 0.001). Minor side-effects were infrequent. In 192 nodules with a 10-year follow-up CYS showed higher VRR than MIX and S-MIX nodules (P < 0.001).

Conclusion:

Our study reported that the long-term outcome of CNs treated with PEI is excellent regardless of the PEI technique utilized; the larger the cystic amount, the higher the VRR. Based on present results, PEI can be considered as the first-line choice for treating thyroid CNs.