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Ian R. Lee, Linda E. Lawder, David C. Townend, John D. Wetherall, and Roland Hähnel

Abstract. The steroid binding capacity and concentration of plasma sex hormone binding globulin have been compared in 116 children aged between 2 and 14 years. Concentration was measured by electroimmunodiffusion standardised with reference to the mass of the pure protein and binding capacity by quantitating the binding of radiolabelled 5α-dihydrotestosterone. Binding capacity correlated highly with concentration in all subjects and neither differed significantly between the sexes before or during puberty. However, both were significantly lower in pubertal than in pre-pubertal children. These findings suggest the metabolism of the protein is similar in boys and girls and that the fall in its steroid binding capacity at puberty in fact is due to a fall in its concentration rather than to changes in its physicochemical properties.

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G.J. BRUINING, A.N BOSSCHAART, R.S.R. AARSEN, S.W.J. LAMBERTS, P.J.J. SAUER, and E. DEL POZO

ABSTRACT

A female child was admitted to the hospital few days after birth with severe hypoglycemia and convulsive episodes. Plasma insulin levels were elevated and oral and intravenous administration of glucose were unable to keep blood glucose above 2 mmol/l limit. Intravenous infusion of a long acting somatostatin analog, SMS 201-995, at a dosage gradually increasing from 2 to 50 μg/24 hr, was accompanied by a dramatic fall in circulating insulin levels. Normality of glucose homeostasis was restored and convulsive spells ceased. Fasting blood glucose levels stabilized between 3.4 and 4.7 mmol/l. No rebound phenomenon was observed during short term interruptions of the SMS 201-995 infusion. A subtotal pancreatectomy was performed during SMS treatment, and the diagnosis of nesidioblastosis was confirmed by immunocytologic and electron-microscopic studies. It is concluded that this new potent and long acting somatostatin derivative may be useful in the management of hyperinsulinism in the neonate.

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E. M. de Wijn and R. Steendijk

Abstract.

In 4 girls and 1 boy with pseudo-hypoparathyroidism growth and physical maturation were followed longitudinally for 7 – 13 years until adult height had been reached. As a result of early puberty and cessation of growth all patients were relatively shorter as adults than in their childhood years. The difference between average height at the age of 8.0 years and average adult height was 2.25 sd. This observation offers an explanation for the finding in the literature that short stature is more common in adults with this disease than in children. Skeletal age was advanced in all cases and the development of the tubular bones of the hand was more advanced than the development of the round bones. It is possible that this difference resulted from inappropriately early closure of the epiphyseal discs of disproportionally short metacarpals and phalanges. On the other hand it may be an aspecific phenomenon of advanced skeletal maturation.

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Paul van Trotsenburg, Thomas Vulsma, André M. Bloot, Reindert D. Van der Gaag, Jan Willem Lens, Hemmo A. Drexhage, and JanJ. de Vijlder

Abstract.

Antibodies against the so called 'second colloid antigen' (CA2 antibodies) occurred in 51% of the mothers of hypothyroid children detected by screening for neonatal congenital hypothyroidism in Quebec (N = 49) and in The Netherlands (N = 26). In The Netherlands where corresponding neonatal serum was available, 31% (8 of 26) of the infants with congenital hypothyroidism were positive for antibodies against the second colloid antigen. When during follow-up, 3 to 5 years after diagnosis, the mothers and their children were investigated, 46% (7 of 15) of the mothers were positive for antibodies against the second colloid antigen, whereas 29% (4 of 14) of the hypothyroid children were also positive. Various control groups did not show more than a 12% positivity. This presence of thyroid-reactive antibodies in a proportion of the hypothyroid children 3 to 5 years after diagnosis is not compatible with a mere transplacental passage; it indicates that the antibodies must be produced by the mothers and by the children themselves. We conclude that a thyroid autoimmune response occurs in a considerable part of infants with congenital hypothyroidism and their mothers and that this immune response seems to persist in both of them for years.

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Olav Trygstad

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out in order to determine whether children with a transitory type of growth hormone deficiency showed an accelerated growth in height velocity on treatment with human growth hormone (HGH).

Following careful diagnostic routine procedures 13 extremely short children were diagnosed as having isolated growth hormone deficiency, and were successfully treated with HGH. A true isolated growth hormone deficiency was present in 5 of the children, whereas 8 showed a normal increase in serum growth hormone on repeated growth hormone stimulation tests after their development of puberty and termination of HGH treatment. Three boys with bone ages of 5.5, 8.0 and 9.5 years showed an undisputable effect following HGH administration. They showed an initial growth at the start of treatment, and a second growth spurt during development of puberty. Two of the boys reached final statures of 14 cm taller than the predicted heights. The other patients, including the children with true isolated growth hormone deficiency showed an initial spurt of growth at the start of the HGH treatment immediately followed by a pubertal growth spurt. The mean acceleration of height velocity for the children with true isolated growth hormone deficiency was from 3.4 cm during the year before treatment to 7.0 cm during the first year on treatment, as compared to 2.8 and 7.4 cm, respectively, for the children with transitory growth hormone deficiency. A girl with severe anorexia nervosa who had a transitory growth hormone deficiency, showed an accelerated high velocity from 1.1 cm to 7.6 cm during the first year following treatment with HGH.

The question whether HGH treatment should be made available to all short children with no known syndrome, and presenting a height less than −3.5 sds, a bone age/chronological age ratio of less than ⅔, and a height velocity less than −2 sds is discussed. The only way to know if a child will respond to HGH treatment is to give it for a trial period of at least six months. At least a physiological stimulus to growth hormone secretion should be decisive in the selection of growth retarded children for HGH treatment. Different mechanisms seem to be responsible for physiological growth hormone secretion to sleep or exercise, and the secretion obtained with pharmacological stimuli.

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S. Wirth, W. Schönberger, A. Roth, and W. Grimm

Abstract.

Serum somatomedin B levels were determined by radioimmunoassay in 209 healthy boys and girls from one month to 16 years of age.

Low values were found up to the second year life. In the first year the mean level was 13.8 mg/l in girls and 11.5 mg/l in boys. In older children the values increased to levels between 13 and 22 mg/l in boys and between 13 and 18.5 mg/l in girls. They were independent of the stage of pubertal development.

Somatomedin B levels were normal in 71 children with constitutional growth delay, primordial dwarfism, familial dwarfism and other forms of growth disturbance. The mean levels were between 12.1 and 14.4 mg/l.

Values below 6 mg/l were present only in children with hGH deficiency. In these patients we could find an increase of the mean level from 4.3 mg/l without therapy to 9.4 mg/l under treatment.

Thus the determination of somatomedin B seems to be useful for the diagnosis of hGH deficiency.

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D. Gupta and W. A. Marshall

ABSTRACT

A longitudinal study was made of the daily urinary excretion, on or near each birthday, of a number of C19 and C21 steroids in 9 healthy girls and 5 healthy boys aged 3 to 7 years. The amount of androsterone excreted by each individual increased slowly during the period of study but the absolute amounts varied greatly between individuals. The excretion of aetiocholanolone was greater than that of androsterone, contrary to reported findings in older children. Small amounts of DHA were found. Testosterone was found in only about 40% of samples; epitestosterone in 70 % and 11β-OH-androsterone in only 62 %. Cortisol metabolites were excreted in amounts which increased with age and all three metabolites of corticosterone were present in most specimens. 11-Deoxycortisol was found in about 50 % of the samples and THS in 63 %. The mean trend in the ratio of glucuronides to sulphates of the 11-deoxy-17-oxosteroids decreased with increasing age, but the 11-deoxy-11-oxy ratio of 17-oxosteroids increased as did the 5α/5β ratio of the C19 and C21 steroids.

No sex differences were observed. The excretion of cortisol metabolites showed a positive correlation with height and weight. 11-Deoxy-17-oxosteroids were positively correlated with the weight. No significant relationships between steroid excretion and skeletal maturity were found.

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J Bellone, G Aimaretti, MR Valetto, S Bellone, C Baffoni, E Arvat, S Seminara, F Camanni, and E Ghigo

Bellone J. Aimaretti G, Valetto MR, Bellone S, Baffoni C, Arvat E, Seminara S, Camanni F, Ghigo E, Acute administration of recombinant human growth hormone inhibits the somatotrope responsiveness to growth hormone-releasing hormone in childhood. Eur J Endocrinol 1996:135: 421–4. ISSN 0804–4643

In adulthood the growth hormone (GH) response to growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is inhibited by previous acute administration of either GH or GHRH and it is restored by substances that inhibit hypothalamic somatostatin release. Because in children the GH response to GHRH is not affected by previous neurohormone administration, it has been suggested that in childhood a GH increase is not able to trigger the somatostatin-mediated negative GH autofeedback mechanism. To verify this hypothesis, in 25 children (8 girls and 17 boys; 15 prepubertal and 10 in pubertal stages II–IV) with familial short stature (normal height velocity and insulin-like growth factor I levels) we studied the effect of acute iv administration of different recombinant human GH doses (group 1, N = 5, 0.06U/kg; group 2, N = 6, 0.01 U/kg; group 3, N = 7, 0.005 U/kg at −150 min or saline on the GH response to GHRH (1 μg/kg iv at 0 min). In another group (N = 7), we studied the effect of 0.005 U/kg iv recombinant human GH or saline on the GH response to GHRH combined with arginine (0.5 g/kg iv over 30 min), which likely inhibits hypothalamic somatostatin release. Serum GH increases after recombinant human GH were dose-dependent (GH peak, mean±sem, 171.7 ± 24.4, 33.3 ± 3.9 and 21.8 ± 5.1 μg/l, respectively). The administration of recombinant human GH strongly inhibited the GHRH-induced GH rise in all groups (group 1, 7.1 ± 1.7 vs 23.1 ± 7.6 μg/l, p < 0.05; group 2, 9.5 ±2.8 vs 26.9±8.5 μg/l, p < 0.05; group 3, 9.1 ±2.7 vs 34.8 ± 7.2 μg/l, p< 0.02). The GH response to arginine + GHRH (56.9 ± 13.3 μg/l) was higher than that to GHRH alone recorded in group 1 (p < 0.005), group 2 (p < 0.01) and group 3 (p < 0.01), while exogenous recombinant human GH failed to inhibit it (45.0 ± 9.4 μg/l). Our results demonstrate that in childhood, as well as in adulthood, recombinant human GH administration inhibits the somatotrope responsiveness to GHRH. This inhibitory effect is likely to be mediated by hypothalamic somatostatin release.

Ezio Ghigo, Divisione di Endocrinologia, Ospedale Molinette, C.so Dogliotti 14, 10126 Torino, Italy

Open access

A Nordenström, S F Ahmed, E van den Akker, J Blair, M Bonomi, C Brachet, L H A Broersen, H L Claahsen-van der Grinten, A B Dessens, A Gawlik, C H Gravholt, A Juul, C Krausz, T Raivio, A Smyth, P Touraine, D Vitali, and O M Dekkers

An Endo-European Reference Network guideline initiative was launched including 16 clinicians experienced in endocrinology, pediatric and adult and 2 patient representatives. The guideline was endorsed by the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology, the European Society for Endocrinology and the European Academy of Andrology. The aim was to create practice guidelines for clinical assessment and puberty induction in individuals with congenital pituitary or gonadal hormone deficiency. A systematic literature search was conducted, and the evidence was graded according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system. If the evidence was insufficient or lacking, then the conclusions were based on expert opinion. The guideline includes recommendations for puberty induction with oestrogen or testosterone. Publications on the induction of puberty with follicle-stimulation hormone and human chorionic gonadotrophin in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism are reviewed. Specific issues in individuals with Klinefelter syndrome or androgen insensitivity syndrome are considered. The expert panel recommends that pubertal induction or sex hormone replacement to sustain puberty should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team. Children with a known condition should be followed from the age of 8 years for girls and 9 years for boys. Puberty induction should be individualised but considered at 11 years in girls and 12 years in boys. Psychological aspects of puberty and fertility issues are especially important to address in individuals with sex development disorders or congenital pituitary deficiencies. The transition of these young adults highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, to discuss both medical issues and social and psychological issues that arise in the context of these chronic conditions.

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Claes Rudberg, Henry Johansson, Göran Åkerström, Torsten Tuvemo, and F Anders Karlsson

Rudberg C, Johansson H, Å&#x212B; G, Tuvemo T, Karlsson FA. Graves' disease in children and adolescents. Late results of surgical treatment. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;134:710–5. ISSN0804–4643

All children and adolescents with Graves' disease in the county of Uppsala (catchment area population 250000) treated between 1970 and 1994 were evaluated in a retrospective study. The material comprised 31 patients with a mean age of 11 years (range 4–16), 29 (94%) of whom were girls, and four (13%) of the patients had Down's syndrome. Treatment was primarily conservative and surgery was considered if prolonged medical treatment failed. Lasting remission after antithyroid drug therapy (median 6.5 years; range 4.5–8 years) was noted in 6/31 patients (19%), three (10%) of whom subsequently developed hypothyroidism. Twenty-four of the remaining patients (77%) ultimately underwent subtotal (N=20) or total thyroidectomy (N=4) after experiencing one or more episodes of recurrent hyperthyroidism during medical treatment (median 6 years; range 0.5–11 years). After surgery one patient developed permanent hypocalcemia requiring low-dose vitamin D supplementation. During a postoperative follow-up period of 12.2 years (median: range 1–17 years), there were two cases of recurrent thyrotoxicosis, 1 and 10 years after surgery. The results underline that gender and Down's syndrome are risk factors of juvenile Graves' disease and that the disorder often is difficult to control by long-term medical therapy. In such cases thyroid surgery offers a safe and prompt reversal of the thyrotoxicosis. A proportion of the patients may ultimately develop hypothyroidism, substantiating a need for long-term follow-up of persons afflicted with Graves' disease early in life.

F Anders Karlsson, Department of Medicine, University Hospital, S-751 85 Uppsala. Sweden