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P R Ebeling, R A Adler, G Jones, U A Liberman, G Mazziotti, S Minisola, C F Munns, N Napoli, A G Pittas, A Giustina, J P Bilezikian and R Rizzoli

Objective

The central role of vitamin D in bone health is well recognized. However, controversies regarding its clinical application remain. We therefore aimed to review the definition of hypovitaminosis D, the skeletal and extra-skeletal effects of vitamin D and the available therapeutic modalities.

Design

Narrative and systematic literature review.

Methods

An international working group that reviewed the current evidence linking bone and extra-skeletal health and vitamin D therapy to identify knowledge gaps for future research.

Results

Findings from observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in vitamin D deficiency are discordant, with findings of RCTs being largely negative. This may be due to reverse causality with the illness itself contributing to low vitamin D levels. The results of many RCTs have also been inconsistent. However, overall evidence from RCTs shows vitamin D reduces fractures (when administered with calcium) in the institutionalized elderly. Although controversial, vitamin D reduces acute respiratory tract infections (if not given as bolus monthly or annual doses) and may reduce falls in those with the lowest serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels. However, despite large ongoing RCTs with 21 000–26 000 participants not recruiting based on baseline 25OHD levels, they will contain a large subset of participants with vitamin D deficiency and are adequately powered to meet their primary end-points.

Conclusions

The effects of long-term vitamin D supplementation on non-skeletal outcomes, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the optimal dose and serum 25OHD level that balances extra-skeletal benefits (T2DM) vs risks (e.g. CVD), may soon be determined by data from large RCTs.

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A German, M Shmoish, J Belsky and Z Hochberg

Background

The relationship between pubertal onset and tempo and pubertal growth is controversial. We hypothesized that the age at onset of girls’ puberty predicts pubertal tempo and the rate of pubertal progression.

Methods

We analyzed the data of 380 girls from the prospective Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) who were recruited in the USA from 1991 to 2006 and followed from birth to age 15.5 years. We used the following indicators: thelarche age (Tanner stage B2), pubarche age (P2), menarche age (M), the age when breast (B5) and pubic hair (P5) became fully mature, pubertal growth, pubertal duration (time from B2 to B5) and pubertal progression (time from B2 to M). We clustered the girls according to B2 age into early onset (EO; <9.4 years), intermediate (IO; 9.4–10.5 years), late onset (LO; >10.5 years).

Results

All indicators of pubertal onset and conclusion occurred earlier in the EOs than in the LOs; yet, the differences in the age at main pubertal milestones lessened as puberty progressed: 2 years for B2; −1.4 years for M; −1 year for B5. In EOs, puberty was 1 year (average) longer than in LOs. Although EOs grew 7 cm (average) more than LOs, their heights at B5 were comparable. There was a significant relationship between the thelarche age and puberty tempo (r = 0.23, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

The study highlights the predictive nature of variation in the onset age of puberty on its progression and duration. These results are reassuring in this context and will add to clinicians’ and parental understanding of the expected milestones of puberty.

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Michelle Henry, Ian Louis Ross and Kevin Garth Flusk Thomas

Objectives

Cortisol plays a key role in initiating and maintaining different sleep stages. Patients with Addison’s disease (AD) frequently report disrupted sleep, and their hydrocortisone medication regimes do not restore the natural diurnal rhythm of cortisol. However, few studies have investigated relations between sleep quality, especially as measured by polysomnographic equipment, and night-time cortisol concentrations in patients with AD.

Methods

We used sleep-adapted EEG to monitor a full night of sleep in seven patients with AD and seven healthy controls. We sampled salivary cortisol before bedtime, at midnight, upon awakening and at 30 min post waking.

Results

Controls had lower cortisol concentrations than patients before bedtime and at midnight. During the second half of the night, patient cortisol concentrations declined steeply, while control concentrations increased steadily. Whereas most controls experienced a positive cortisol awakening response, all patients experienced a decrease in cortisol concentrations from waking to 30 min post waking (P = 0.003). Patients experienced significantly lower proportions of slow-wave sleep (SWS; P = 0.001), which was associated with elevated night-time cortisol concentrations.

Conclusion

Overall, these results suggest that patients with AD demonstrate different patterns of night-time cortisol concentrations to healthy controls and that relatively elevated concentrations are associated with a reduction of SWS. These hormonal and sleep architectural aberrations may disrupt the routine sleep-dependent processes of memory consolidation, and hence, may explain, at least partially, the memory impairments often experienced by patients with AD.

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Marine Ollivier, Magalie Haissaguerre, Amandine Ferriere and Antoine Tabarin

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Liset E M Elstgeest, Elisa J de Koning, Ingeborg A Brouwer, Natasja M van Schoor, Brenda W J H Penninx and Marjolein Visser

Objective

Previous prospective studies on the association between vitamin D status and depression used a single 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) measurement. We investigated the association between change in serum 25(OH)D and parallel change in depressive symptoms over time in Dutch older adults.

Design

A population-based, prospective study in two cohorts of older men and women from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

Methods

Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were determined at two time points: in 1995/1996 and 13 years later in the older cohort (aged 65–88y, n = 173) and in 2002/2003 and 6 years later in the younger cohort (55–65 years, n = 450). At these time points, depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D). Associations were tested by multiple linear regression analyses.

Results

During follow-up, serum 25(OH)D concentrations increased in 32.4% of the older cohort and in 69.8% of the younger cohort. In the older cohort, change in 25(OH)D was not associated with change in CES-D score. In the younger cohort, no associations were observed in participants with higher baseline 25(OH)D concentrations (>58.6 nmol/L), but in those with lower baseline 25(OH)D concentrations, an increase in 25(OH)D was associated with a decrease in CES-D score (adjusted B per 10 nmol/L 25(OH)D increase: −0.62 (95% CI: −1.17, −0.07)).

Conclusions

Our study suggests that over 6 years, an increase in serum 25(OH)D is associated with a small decrease in depressive symptoms in young older adults with lower baseline 25(OH)D. Well-designed intervention trials are required to determine causality.

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Casper Hammarstrand, Oskar Ragnarsson, Olivia Bengtsson, Ing-Liss Bryngelsson, Gudmundur Johannsson and Daniel S Olsson

Background

Patients with hypopituitarism have an increased mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate comorbidities including cerebral infarction, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and malignant tumors in patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) with and without growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT).

Methods

Observational cohort study in patients with NFPA within the western region of Sweden. Subjects were identified through the National Patient Registry and followed between 1987 and 2014. Patient records were reviewed and standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% CIs for comorbidities were calculated.

Results

In total, 426 patients were included, 206 with GHRT and 219 without. Median (range) follow-up time for patients with and without GHRT was 12.2 (0–24) and 8.2 (0–27) years, respectively. Mean ± s.d. BMI was 28.5 ± 4.5 and 26.5 ± 4.4 for patients with and without GHRT, respectively (P < 0.001). Incidence of cerebral infarction was increased (SIR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.03–1.84; P = 0.032), with no difference between patients with and without GHRT. SIR for T2DM in patients not receiving GHRT was increased (1.65; 1.06–2.46; P = 0.018), whereas the incidence in patients receiving GHRT was not (0.99; 0.55–1.63; P = 0.99). The incidence of malignant tumors was not increased, either in patients with or without GHRT.

Conclusion

The incidence of cerebral infarction is increased in patients with NFPA irrespective of GHRT. Patients without GHRT had an increased risk of T2DM, whereas patients with GHRT had a normal incidence of T2DM, despite having higher BMI. Incidence of malignant tumors was not increased. Thus, long-term GHRT seems to be safe regarding risk of comorbidities.

Free access

Martin Fassnacht, Olaf M Dekkers, Tobias Else, Eric Baudin, Alfredo Berruti, Ronald R de Krijger, Harm R Haak, Radu Mihai, Guillaume Assie and Massimo Terzolo

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and in most cases steroid hormone-producing tumor with variable prognosis. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide clinicians with best possible evidence-based recommendations for clinical management of patients with ACC based on the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system. We predefined four main clinical questions, which we judged as particularly important for the management of ACC patients and performed systematic literature searches: (A) What is needed to diagnose an ACC by histopathology? (B) Which are the best prognostic markers in ACC? (C) Is adjuvant therapy able to prevent recurrent disease or reduce mortality after radical resection? (D) What is the best treatment option for macroscopically incompletely resected, recurrent or metastatic disease? Other relevant questions were discussed within the group. Selected Recommendations: (i) We recommend that all patients with suspected and proven ACC are discussed in a multidisciplinary expert team meeting. (ii) We recommend that every patient with (suspected) ACC should undergo careful clinical assessment, detailed endocrine work-up to identify autonomous hormone excess and adrenal-focused imaging. (iii) We recommend that adrenal surgery for (suspected) ACC should be performed only by surgeons experienced in adrenal and oncological surgery aiming at a complete en bloc resection (including resection of oligo-metastatic disease). (iv) We suggest that all suspected ACC should be reviewed by an expert adrenal pathologist using the Weiss score and providing Ki67 index. (v) We suggest adjuvant mitotane treatment in patients after radical surgery that have a perceived high risk of recurrence (ENSAT stage III, or R1 resection, or Ki67 >10%). (vi) For advanced ACC not amenable to complete surgical resection, local therapeutic measures (e.g. radiation therapy, radiofrequency ablation, chemoembolization) are of particular value. However, we suggest against the routine use of adrenal surgery in case of widespread metastatic disease. In these patients, we recommend either mitotane monotherapy or mitotane, etoposide, doxorubicin and cisplatin depending on prognostic parameters. In selected patients with a good response, surgery may be subsequently considered. (vii) In patients with recurrent disease and a disease-free interval of at least 12 months, in whom a complete resection/ablation seems feasible, we recommend surgery or alternatively other local therapies. Furthermore, we offer detailed recommendations about the management of mitotane treatment and other supportive therapies. Finally, we suggest directions for future research.

Open access

L Audí, S F Ahmed, N Krone, M Cools, K McElreavey, P M Holterhus, A Greenfield, A Bashamboo, O Hiort, S A Wudy, R McGowan and the EU COST Action

The differential diagnosis of differences or disorders of sex development (DSD) belongs to the most complex fields in medicine. It requires a multidisciplinary team conducting a synoptic and complementary approach consisting of thorough clinical, hormonal and genetic workups. This position paper of EU COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action BM1303 ‘DSDnet’ was written by leading experts in the field and focuses on current best practice in genetic diagnosis in DSD patients. Ascertainment of the karyotpye defines one of the three major diagnostic DSD subclasses and is therefore the mandatory initial step. Subsequently, further analyses comprise molecular studies of monogenic DSD causes or analysis of copy number variations (CNV) or both. Panels of candidate genes provide rapid and reliable results. Whole exome and genome sequencing (WES and WGS) represent valuable methodological developments that are currently in the transition from basic science to clinical routine service in the field of DSD. However, in addition to covering known DSD candidate genes, WES and WGS help to identify novel genetic causes for DSD. Diagnostic interpretation must be performed with utmost caution and needs careful scientific validation in each DSD case.

Free access

Anjana Radhakutty and Morton G Burt

Glucocorticoids are frequently prescribed to patients with a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The semi-synthetic glucocorticoid prednisolone is most commonly prescribed and in two main patterns. Prednisolone is prescribed short term at medium-high doses to treat an acute inflammatory illness or long term at lower doses to attenuate chronic inflammatory disease progression. In hospitalized patients with acute prednisolone-induced hyperglycaemia, there is a distinct circadian pattern of glucose elevation, which occurs predominantly in the afternoon and evening. As a morning dose of isophane insulin has a pharmacokinetic pattern that matches this pattern of glucose elevation, treatment comprising a basal dose of morning isophane insulin in combination with short-acting insulin boluses is generally recommended. However, evidence is lacking that isophane-based basal bolus insulin is more efficacious than other insulin regimens. In outpatients, low-dose prednisolone causes a small increase in post glucose-load glucose concentration but no change in overall glycaemic control as measured by glycosylated haemoglobin. If treatment is indicated, metformin has been shown to be effective and may attenuate other adverse effects of long-term prednisolone therapy. Further studies are necessary in order to identify factors underlying the variability in response to insulin therapy and clinical benefits of treatment in hospitalized patients with prednisolone-induced hyperglycaemia. In outpatients prescribed low-dose prednisolone, the cardiovascular risk associated with postprandial hyperglycaemia and efficacy of hypoglycaemic therapies should be evaluated in future randomized clinical trials.

Free access

Tareck Rharass and Stéphanie Lucas

Bone marrow adipocytes (BMA-) constitute an original and heterogeneous fat depot whose development appears interlinked with bone status throughout life. The gradual replacement of the haematopoietic tissue by BMA arises in a well-ordered way during childhood and adolescence concomitantly to bone growth and continues at a slower rate throughout the adult life. Importantly, BM adiposity quantity is found well associated with bone mineral density (BMD) loss at different skeletal sites in primary osteoporosis such as in ageing or menopause but also in secondary osteoporosis consecutive to anorexia nervosa. Since BMA and osteoblasts originate from a common mesenchymal stem cell, adipogenesis is considered as a competitive process that disrupts osteoblastogenesis. Besides, most factors secreted by bone and bone marrow cells (ligands and antagonists of the WNT/β-catenin pathway, BMP and others) reciprocally regulate the two processes. Hormones such as oestrogens, glucocorticoids, parathyroid and growth hormones that control bone remodelling also modulate the differentiation and the activity of BMA. Actually, BMA could also contribute to bone loss through the release of paracrine factors altering osteoblast and/or osteoclast formation and function. Based on clinical and fundamental studies, this review aims at presenting and discussing these current arguments that support but also challenge the involvement of BMA in the bone mass integrity.