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Stefano Cianfarani, Daniela Germani, Paola Rossi, Anna Spagnoli, and Delio Mercanti

Cianfarani S, Germani D, Rossi P, Spagnoli A, Mercanti D. Do insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) modulate the IGF-I growth promoting and differentiating effects in human neuroblastoma cells? Eur J Endocrinol 1996;135:716–23. ISSN 0804–4643

The insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are known to stimulate both the proliferation and differentiation of neuroblastoma cells, but the role of the IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) has not yet been established. In this study, human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells have been treated with IGF-I and its potent analogue des (1–3) IGF-I alone or following preincubation with a differentiating agent such as 12-o-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Cell proliferation and differentiation were evaluated. Conditioned medium was tested for the presence of IGFBPs by ligand blotting. The SH-SY5Y cell proliferation was maximally stimulated by des (1–3) IGF-I. The TPA-induced differentiation of SH-SY5Y, evaluated by assessment of cell morphology and GAP-43 expression as a biochemical marker of differentiation, was potentiated by nanomolar concentrations of des (1–3) IGF-I and, to a smaller extent, IGF-I. Conditioned medium showed the presence of a major IGFBP band with an approximate molecular weight of 32.5 kD and a very faint band of approximately 24 kD. The IGFBP immunoblotting results suggest that the predominant band might represent IGFBP-2. Our data represent a first demonstration of the presence of IGFBPs in conditioned medium of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. The finding that the potent IGF-I analogue des (1–3) IGF-I with reduced affinity for IGFBPs induce major effects on cell growth and differentiation suggests that the IGFBPs may play an active role in the neuronal response to the proliferative and differentiative effects of IGF-I.

Stefano Cianfarani, Laboratory of Paediatric Endocrinology, Department of Paediatrics, "Tor Vergata" University, via di Tor Vergata 135, 00133 Rome, Italy

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Lucy Shapiro, Sumana Chatterjee, Dina G Ramadan, Kate M Davies, Martin O Savage, Louise A Metherell, and Helen L Storr

Background

GH insensitivity (GHI) is characterised by short stature, IGF-1 deficiency and normal/elevated serum GH. IGF-1 insensitivity results in pre- and post-natal growth failure with normal/high IGF-1 levels. The prevalence of genetic defects is unknown.

Objective

To identify the underlying genetic diagnoses in a paediatric cohort with GH or IGF-1 insensitivity using candidate gene (CGS) and whole-exome sequencing (WES) and assess factors associated with the discovery of a genetic defect.

Methods

We undertook a prospective study of 132 patients with short stature and suspected GH or IGF-1 insensitivity referred to our centre for genetic analysis. 107 (96 GHI, 88 probands; 11 IGF-1 insensitivity, 9 probands) underwent CGS. WES was performed in those with no defined genetic aetiology following CGS.

Results

A genetic diagnosis was discovered 38/107 (36%) patients (32% probands) by CGS. WES revealed 11 patients with genetic variants in genes known to cause short stature. A further 2 patients had hypomethylation in the H19/IGF2 region or mUPD7 consistent with Silver–Russell Syndrome (total with genetic diagnosis 51/107, 48% or 41/97, 42% probands). WES also identified homozygous putative variants in FANCA and PHKB in 2 patients. Low height SDS and consanguinity were highly predictive for identifying a genetic defect.

Conclusions

Comprehensive genetic testing confirms the genetic heterogeneity of GH/IGF-1 insensitivity and successfully identified the genetic aetiology in a significant proportion of cases. WES is rapid and may isolate genetic variants that have been missed by traditional clinically driven genetic testing. This emphasises the benefits of specialist diagnostic centres.

Free access

Krystallenia I Alexandraki, Gregory A Kaltsas, Andrea M Isidori, Scott A Akker, William M Drake, Shern L Chew, John P Monson, G Michael Besser, and Ashley B Grossman

Objective

Cyclical Cushing's syndrome may render the diagnosis and management of Cushing's disease difficult. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of cyclicity and variability in patients with Cushing's disease, and to identify putative distinctive features.

Design

Retrospective case-note study.

Methods

We analysed the case records of 201 patients with Cushing's disease in a retrospective case-note study. Cyclicity was considered as the presence of at least one cycle, defined as a clinical and/or biochemical hypercortisolaemic peak followed by clinical and biochemical remission, followed by a new clinical and/or biochemical hypercortisolaemic peak. The fluctuations of mean serum cortisol levels, as assessed by a 5-point cortisol day curve, defined the variability.

Results

Thirty (14.9%; 26 females) patients had evidence of cyclicity/variability. ‘Cycling’ patients were older but no difference in sex or paediatric distribution was revealed between ‘cycling’ and ‘non-cycling’ patients. The median number of cycles was two for each patient, and 4 years was the median intercyclic period. A trend to lower cure rate post-neurosurgery and lower adenoma identification was observed in ‘cycling’ compared with ‘non-cycling’ patients. In multivariate analysis, older patients, longer follow-up, female sex and no histological identification of the adenoma were associated with an increased risk of cyclic disease.

Conclusions

This large population study reveals that cyclicity/variability is not an infrequent phenomenon in patients with Cushing's disease, with a minimum prevalence of 15%. Physicians should be alert since it can lead to frequent problems in diagnosis and management, and no specific features can be used as markers.

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Milo Zachman

In recent years, it became evident that the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis is functioning in boys already between the neonatal period and the onset of puberty. With sensitive techniques, testosterone and gonadotropines have been detected in the plasma and urine of prepubertal boys. It is now believed that, during this period of life, the axis is active, but that either the feedback mechanisms are adjusted to a different level, the hypothalamic centers being more sensitive to androgens and keeping the testicular androgen production low, or that the gonads are more refractory to the effect of gonadotropins.

The androgen levels in biological fluids from normal prepubertal boys are extremely low. It is therefore impossible to distinguish the basal values of children with defective steroid production from those of normal children. Recently, several investigators have, however, shown that stimulation of the testicular interstitial cells is possible, if human chorionic gonadotropin is administered for several

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Muneo Yoshibayashi, Tetsuro Kamiya, Yoshihiko Saito, Kazuwa Nakao, Kenya Nishioka, Shinji Temma, Hiroaki Itoh, Gotaro Shirakami, and Hisayuki Matsuo

Yoshibayashi M, Kamiya T. Saito Y. Nakao K, Nishioka K, Temma S, Itoh H, Shirakami G, Matsuo H. Plasma brain natriuretic peptide concentrations in healthy children from birth to adolescence: marked and rapid increase after birth. Eur J Endocrinol 1995;133:207–9. ISSN 0804–4643

The aim of the present study is to establish the normal range and to determine the developmental changes of plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations in children. We measured plasma BNP concentrations as well as atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) concentrations in 58 healthy children from birth to adolescence and in the umbilical vein of 20 healthy neonates using highly sensitive immunoradiometric assays. The plasma BNP concentration was the highest at 0 days of age and descended through maturation to be almost constant and to be at the adult level at 3 months of age. The plasma BNP concentration at 0 days of age (56.7 ± 49.6 fmol/ml; mean±sd) was 25 to 30 times higher than the adult level and 21 times higher than that in the umbilical vein (2.7 ± 1.4fmol/ml), The plasma ANP concentration at 0 days of age was not significantly different from that in the umbilical vein. The ratio of BNP to ANP was also the highest at 0 days of age (1.39 ± 0.72) and decreased through maturation to be at the adult level at 3 months of age. Thus, the plasma BNP concentration in healthy subjects showed a marked, rapid and preferential increase immediately after birth, suggesting that BNP has a physiological role distinct from that of ANP in the perinatal circulatory changes from fetus to neonate.

Muneo Yoshibayashi, Department of Pediatrics, National Cardiovascular Center, 5-7-1 Fujishirodai, Suita, Osaka 565, Japan

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M Salerno, M Micillo, S Di Maio, D Capalbo, P Ferri, T Lettiero, and A Tenore

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate longitudinal growth, pubertal development and final height in patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) detected by a neonatal screening programme, and to identify factors potentially affecting growth outcome. PATIENTS: Fifty-five patients (41 females) detected by neonatal screening and followed longitudinally from the time of diagnosis and treatment (25+/-5 days) up to the age of 17+/-0.5 years were evaluated retrospectively. RESULTS: Pubertal development began and progressed normally in both males and females. In boys, a testicular volume of 4 ml was reached at 11.3+/-1.0 years. In girls breast enlargement (B2) occurred at a mean age of 10.3+/-1.2 years and the mean age of menarche was 12.5+/-1.2 years. The onset and the progression of puberty were independent of the aetiology, the severity of CH and the timing of the beginning of treatment. Girls treated with an initial amount of L-thyroxine (L-T4) greater than 8 microg/kg per day showed an earlier onset of puberty (B2 9.4+/-0.9 years; menarche 11.5+/-0.8 years) compared with girls treated with a lower initial dose of L-T4 (B2 10.5+/-1.2 years; menarche 12.6+/-1.2 years; P<0.02). However, both groups attained a similar final height (-0.1+/-1.0 SDS and 0.4+/-1.0 SDS, respectively), which in both cases was above the target height (P=0.03). All the patients in the study attained a mean final height (0.1+/-1.1 SDS) within the normal range for the reference population and above the target height (-0.9+/-0.9 SDS, P<0.0001). No significant relationship was found between final height and severity of CH at diagnosis, initial L-T4 dosage or aetiology of the defect. Patients with ectopic gland, thyroid aplasia or in situ gland attained a similar mean final height (0.1+/-1.1 SDS, 0.5+/-1.0 SDS and -0.5+/-1.0 SDS, respectively), which was in all cases greater than target height (-1.0+/-0.9, -0.6+/-0.8, -0.9+/-0.8 respectively; P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that conventional management of children with CH detected by neonatal screening leads to normal sexual development and normal adult height, and that the major factor determining height in these children is familial genetic growth potential.

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E. Artavia-Loria, J.L. Chaussain, P.F. Bougnères, and J.C. Job

Abstract

The frequency of hypoglycemia in 165 children with primary adrenal insufficiency, 118 of whom had Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and 47 Addison's Disease, was 18 %. Half of the hypoglycemic episodes occurred in the neonatal period. Hypoglycemia was isolated in 13 children, revealing the disease in 4 newborns with Congenital Adrenal Hypoplasia and in a boy with 11 B Hydroxylase deficiency.

Basal plasma cortisol levels were significantly lower in those of subjects who experienced hypoglycemia ( 47.1 ± 28.6 ng/ml vs. 106.0 ± 86.6 ng/ml, p< 0.001). A significant correlation ( p < 0.001) was found between the plasma concentration of glucose and cortisol at time of hypoglycemia.

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M Cools, P Hoebeke, K P Wolffenbuttel, H Stoop, R Hersmus, M Barbaro, A Wedell, H Brüggenwirth, L H J Looijenga, and S L S Drop

Objective

Most patients with NR5A1 (SF-1) mutations and poor virilization at birth are sex-assigned female and receive early gonadectomy. Although studies in pituitary-specific Sf-1 knockout mice suggest hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, little is known about endocrine function at puberty and on germ cell tumor risk in patients with SF-1 mutations. This study reports on the natural course during puberty and on gonadal histology in two adolescents with SF-1 mutations and predominantly female phenotype at birth.

Design and methods

Clinical and hormonal data and histopathological studies are reported in one male and one female adolescent with, respectively, a nonsense mutation (c.9T>A, p.Tyr3X) and a deletion of the first two coding exons (NCBI36/hg18 Chr9:g.(126306276-126307705)_(126303229-126302828)del) of NR5A1, both predicted to fully disrupt gene function.

Results

LH and testosterone concentrations were in the normal male range, virilization was disproportionate to the neonatal phenotype. In the girl, gonadectomy at 13 years revealed incomplete spermatogenesis and bilateral precursor lesions of testicular carcinoma in situ. In the boy, at the age of 12, numerous germ cells without signs of malignancy were present in bilateral testicular biopsy specimen.

Conclusions

In SF-1 mutations, the neonatal phenotype poorly predicts virilization at puberty. Even in poorly virilized cases at birth, male gender assignment may allow spontaneous puberty without signs of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and possibly fertility. Patients with SF-1 mutations are at increased risk for malignant germ cell tumors. In case of preserved gonads, early orchidopexy and germ cell tumor screening is warranted. The finding of premalignant and/or malignant changes should prompt gonadectomy or possibly irradiation.

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J. L. C. Ch'ng, A. Kaiser, J. Lynn, and G. F. Joplin

Abstract. Total parathyroidectomy is required to cure neonatal primary hyperparathyroidism (NPH) as any parathyroid remnant quickly becomes hyperplastic, causing recurrent hypercalcaemia. We present a patient with NPH who had total removal of his eutopic parathyroid glands but continued to have parathyroid hormone secretion from presumed ectopic parathyroid tissue. Hypercalcaemia initially recurred but normal calcium homeostasis was established as the child grew older. We postulate that the underlying defect in NPH is decreased sensitivity to the serum ionic calcium feedback inhibition at the parathyroid receptor level and that this sensitivity can improve with age.

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D. B. GRANT, D. B. DUNGER, and E. C. BURNS

Abstract

This paper reviews the outcome in 12 children with hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia who first developed symptoms between the ages of 2 and 8 months and who were treated with diazoxide (5 - 20 mg/kg/day) for 2-13 years. Two cases required subtotal pancreatectomy at the ages of 5 and 10 years because of recurrent hypoglycaemia and one girl with severe retardation died at the age of 6 years while still on diazoxide therapy. Two patients aged 3.5 and 9 years are still on treatment and in 7 cases diazoxide was discontinued between the ages of 2.5 and 14 years, indicating that spontaneous remission can be expected in a high proportion of children with post-neonatal hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. Of the 9 children who started diazoxide within 3 months of the onset of symptoms, 5 are of normal intelligence and 4 are moderately retarded (IQs 63-71). In 3 children diazoxide was started 8 months to 3 years after the onset of symptoms; two are retarded (IQs 60-70) and the third was severely retarded and died aged 6 years.