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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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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.

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H. Krawczynska, M. Zachmann, and A. Prader

ABSTRACT

Urinary testosterone glucuronide and sulphate was determined separately by gas chromatography in 39 newborns and young infants (34 males and 5 females). In all cases, testosterone sulphate was higher than glucuronide. Boys excreted more of both conjugates (sulphate 6.7, glucuronide 2.2 μg/24 h) than girls (1.1 and 0.7 μg/24 h, respectively). Boys older than 3 weeks had higher values than boys younger than 2 weeks. The levels correlated positively with chronological age, negatively with the gestational age and not at all with the bilirubin levels. It is concluded that testosterone is excreted preferentially as the sulphate in the newborn period and that the high sulphokinase activity in foetal and neonatal testes is more likely responsible for this phenomenon than an impaired glucuronizing capacity of the liver.

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M Peter, K Bunger, SL Drop, and WG Sippell

We performed a molecular genetic study in two patients with congenital hypoaldosteronism. An original study of these patients was published in this Journal in 1982. Both index cases, a girl (patient 1) and a boy (patient 2). presented with salt-wasting and failure to thrive in the neonatal period. Parents of patient 1 were not related, whereas the parents of patient 2 were cousins. Endocrine studies had shown a defect in 18-oxidation of 18-OH-corticosterone in patient 1 and a defect in the 18-hydroxylation of corticosterone in patient 2. Plasma aldosterone was decreased in both patients, whereas 18-OH-corticosterone was elevated in patient 1 and decreased in patient 2. Plasma corticosterone and 11-deoxycorticosterone were elevated in both patients, whereas cortisol and its precursors were in the normal range. According to the nomenclature proposed by Ulick, the defects are termed corticosterone methyl oxidase (CMO) deficiency type II in patient 1, and type I in patient 2 respectively. Genetic defects in the gene CYP11B2 encoding aldosterone synthase have been described in a few cases. In patient 1, we identified only one heterozygous amino acid substitution (V386A) in exon 7, which has no deleterious effect on the enzyme activity. In patient 2 and his older brother, we identified a homozygous single base exchange (G to T) in codon 255 (GAG), causing a premature stop codon E255X (TAG). The mutant enzyme has lost the five terminal exons containing the haem binding site, and is thus a loss of function enzyme. This is only the second report of a patient with CMO deficiency type II without a mutation in the exons and exon-intron boundaries, whereas the biochemical phenotype of the two brothers with CMO deficiency type I can be explained by the patient's genotype.

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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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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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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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George W. Clayton

Abstract

Patterns of growth of 30 children with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia of the 21-hydroxylase type were studied from infancy to maturity. These children were compliant as to therapy. Intramuscular (I.M.) Cortisone (40mg/M2) given every three days resulted in growth failure after the first year of life. A marked increase in height velocity occurred when oral Cortisone (20-25mg/M2) was given at approximate] 3 years. Growth was relatively normal during childhood in both boys and girls but there was a marked increase in mean weight in both sexes.

Pubertal growth spurt occurred normally in males but was delayed in females. Weight decreased in both sexes at puberty but not to normal. Better methods of monitoring this condition should result in therapeutic regimes which allow normal growth patterns as well as normal mature height.

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David B. Dunger, Janet A. Perkins, Terence P. Jowett, Philip R. Edwards, Leslie A. Cox, Michael A. Preece, and Roger P. Ekins

Abstract.

Thyroid hormones are essential for normal pubertal growth, yet the changes in total and, especially, free thyroid hormones and thyroxine-binding globulin during puberty have not been adequately defined. Serum from 39 normal children (20 girls, 19 boys) between the ages of 10 and 15 years were assayed for total T4, free T4, free T3 and thyroxine-binding globulin at 6-monthly intervals; the free hormone assays were valid, non-analogue methodologies. In the girls, free T4 levels fell from 15.7±0.6 pmol/l at 10 years to 13.0±0.6 (p<0.001) at 12.5 years before rising to 15.9±0.7 at 15 years; this nadir occurred at puberty stages 3-4. Changes in total T4 followed a similar pattern with a slight delay in the nadir (13 years, puberty stage 4). In the boys, free T4 fell from 16.3±0.6 pmol/l at 10 years to 14.3±0.3 at 13.5 years, then rising to 15.4±0.5 at 15 years; the nadir again occurred at puberty stages 3-4. The corresponding nadir in total T4 which occurred at puberty stages 4-5 was not apparent by age analysis. Thyroxine-binding globulin concentrations remained unchanged in the girls, but fell slightly in the boys during later puberty. Free T3 concentrations in the girls showed a progressive fall after 12.5 years which was significant by the age of 14 when most had been in puberty stage 5 for more than 1 year. The boys showed no change of free T3 concentration throughout the study. These data demonstrate important differences in the levels of free thyroid hormones in males and females during puberty. Normal ranges for girls and boys between the ages of 9.5 and 15.5 years are presented.

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Gerhard Ulrich Exner, Andrea Prader, Urs Elsasser, and Max Anliker

Abstract.

125I Computed Tomography (CT) allows for the selective determination of trabecular and compact bone mineral parameters in the radius. Using this technique the effects of high dose oestrogen treatment in 11 tall girls, and of high dose testosterone treatment in 5 tall boys were monitored. In both groups trabecular bone density (TBD) increased steadily during treatment at a rate of about 1% per month. Also in both groups the compact bone mineral increased steadily. These results are compared with those from a cross sectional study on 49 normal children and 36 normal adults, in whom TBD was found to be independent of age and sex, so that the increases in TBD in both treatment groups can be attributed directly to the influence of the sex hormones. Since the compact bone mineral is higher in adults than in children it cannot yet be decided whether the increases seen in the treated patients are related to the sex hormone treatment, or reflect only the normal development of the bone during adolescence.