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DR Mann, MA Akinbami, KG Gould, and VD Castracane

OBJECTIVE: Neonatal treatment of male monkeys with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist (Ant) increased the incidence of delayed puberty. Using blood samples that had been collected from monkeys with normal or delayed puberty, we assessed the potential involvement of leptin and thyroxine (T4) in sexual development. DESIGN AND METHODS: Monkeys were treated from birth until 4 months of age with vehicle, Ant or Ant/androgen and blood samples were drawn from 10 to 62 months of age. RESULTS: Serum leptin and total T4 concentrations declined in parallel throughout adolescence in all treatment groups. There was no transient rise in leptin before or in association with the onset of puberty. Also, leptin did not differ during the peripubertal period between animals experiencing puberty at that time versus those in which puberty was being delayed. Neonates treated with Ant either alone or with androgen replacement had higher leptin levels than controls throughout development. While leptin exhibited no significant changes during the peripubertal period, T4 values increased and declined in parallel with the peripubertal changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular activity. CONCLUSIONS: These data do not support the concept that a transient rise in leptin triggers the onset of puberty in male monkeys. However, the disruption of neonatal activity of the pituitary-testicular axis alters the developmental pattern of leptin. The changes in T4 levels during the peripubertal period suggest that thyroid status may be a significant contributor to the process of sexual development in the male monkey and that peripubertal changes in secretion of this hormone may serve as an effective physiological response during a critical period of elevated energy expenditure.

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M Salerno, R Militerni, S Di Maio, C Bravaccio, N Gasparini, and A Tenore

BACKGROUND: The intellectual outcome in children with congenital hypothyroidism detected by neonatal screening is generally good; however, subtle neurological dysfunctions, subnormal IQ, or both, have been reported. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the intellectual outcome in 12-year-old patients with congenital hypothyroidism, detected by neonatal screening, in an attempt to identify factors that may affect intellectual development. METHODS: The intelligence quotient (IQ) of 40 children with congenital hypothyroidism was evaluated at 12 years of age, using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children -- Revised, and compared with the IQ of 40 healthy siblings (control group). RESULTS: The mean IQ score (88.4+/-13.1) was not significantly different from that of the control group (93.4+/-10.7). Thirteen patients showed subnormal IQ score (72.4+/-4.9) compared with their siblings (86.7+/-9.6; P<0.0001) and with the other patients (96.1+/-9.6; P<0.0001). The low IQ score was associated with lower serum concentrations of thyroxine at diagnosis, poor treatment compliance during follow-up and lower familial IQ. Interviews with parents of children with congenital hypothyroidism revealed that a refusal to acknowledge the disease was linked to poor attention to the child's emotional life and to poor treatment compliance in some cases (11%). CONCLUSION: Even though the mean IQ score in patients with congenital hypothyroidism falls within normal for the control population, low IQ scores may be present in patients with severe hypothyroidism, inadequate compliance to replacement therapy during follow-up and poor parental pedagogic attitude.

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M Salerno, T Lettiero, A Esposito-Del Puente, V Esposito, D Capalbo, A Carpinelli, S Padula, and A Del Puente

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether long-term l-thyroxine therapy in young adults with congenital hypothyroidism may affect bone mineral density (BMD). DESIGN: Thirty-seven subjects with congenital hypothyroidism, detected by neonatal screening and longitudinally followed from the time of diagnosis and treatment (26+/-4 days) up to the age of 17.8+/-1.0 years, were studied. METHODS: Spinal (L2-L4) BMD, measured by dual-energy X-ray densitometry, and bone quality, measured as amplitude-dependent speed of sound (Ad-SoS) by quantitative ultrasound, were evaluated. RESULTS: Z-score mean values (+/-s.d.) of BMD (-0.3+/-0.7) and Ad-SoS (-0.7+/-1. 1) were slightly below the average but within the normal range. Ad-SoS resulted in a z-score below -1 in 38% of patients as compared with BMD which resulted in a z-score below -1 in only 13.5% of subject. No significant differences were observed between males (BMD, -0.3+/-0.7; Ad-SoS, -0.9+/-1.0) and females (BMD, -0.3+/-0.7; Ad-SoS, -0.5+/-1.2) or when dividing patients on the basis of aetiological defects; ectopic gland (BMD, -0.3+/-0.6; Ad-SoS, -0.8+/-0.9), athyreosis (BMD, -0.3+/-0.9; Ad-SoS, -0.8+/-1.0) and eutopic gland (BMD, -0.3+/-0.8; Ad-SoS, -0.4+/-1.3). No significant relationships were observed between BMD or Ad-SoS z-score and hormonal status or l-thyroxine dosages at the time of the study or during the pubertal period. CONCLUSIONS: The careful monitoring of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone and adjustment of l-thyroxine dosage avoided the significant deleterious effects of prolonged l-thyroxine replacement therapy on bone tissue in adolescents and young adults with congenital hypothyroidism treated from the neonatal period.

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ML Hartoft-Nielsen, AK Rasmussen, A Kaas, U Feldt-Rasmussen, and K Buschard

OBJECTIVE: Changes in the functional state of beta cells by neonatal stimulation or adolescent suppression have reduced the incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus in animal models. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of manipulation of the activity of the thyroid gland by neonatal stimulation or by adolescent suppression on the prevalence of spontaneous autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) in rats. METHODS: Bio-Breeding/Worcester (BB) rats were treated neonatally with sodium iodine (NaI) or thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), or during adolescence by triiodothyronine (T(3)), and the lymphocytic infiltration in the thyroid gland was evaluated. RESULTS: Neonatal treatment with NaI decreased the prevalence of AIT to 32+/-9% compared with 66+/-5% in the controls (P<0.002), mainly caused by a reduction among the female rats (13+/-9% vs 52+/-8%, P<0.006). TSH had no effect. Post neonatal suppression of the thyroid gland by T(3) had a biphasic response. Early in adolescence the overall prevalence was 14+/-7% compared with 66+/-5% in the controls (P<10(-5)); for female rats AIT was prevented (0+/-0%) compared with 52+/-8% in the controls (P<0.0003) and in male rats the values were 29+/-13% compared with 80+/-6% in the controls (P<0.001). Treatment with T(3) later in adolescence increased the overall prevalence to 81+/-7% compared with 66+/-5% in the controls (not significant). For female rats the prevalence increased to 78+/-9% compared with 52+/-8% in the controls (P=0.04). The degree of thyroiditis among the affected animals was similar in all groups. CONCLUSION: Neonatal stimulation of the thyroid gland by iodine or early adolescent suppression by T(3) reduced the prevalence of AIT whereas T(3) given later increased the prevalence of thyroiditis in rats. Thyroid activity at various ages seems to be of importance for the development of autoimmune thyroiditis.

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D T Ward, M Z Mughal, M Ranieri, M M Dvorak-Ewell, G Valenti, and D Riccardi

Objective

Loss-of-function calcium-sensing receptor (CAR) mutations cause elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion and hypercalcaemia. Although full Car deletion is possible in mice, most human CAR mutations result from a single amino acid substitution that maintains partial function. However, here, we report a case of neonatal severe hyperparathyroidism (NSHPT) in which the truncated CaR lacks any transmembrane domain (CaRR392X), in effect a full CAR ‘knockout’.

Case report

The infant (daughter of distant cousins) presented with hypercalcaemia (5.5–6 mmol/l corrected calcium (2.15–2.65)) and elevated PTH concentrations (650–950 pmol/l (12–81)) together with skeletal demineralisation. NSHPT was confirmed by CAR gene sequencing (homozygous c.1174C-to-T mutation) requiring total parathyroidectomy during which only two glands were located and removed, resulting in normalisation of her serum PTH/calcium levels.

Design and methods

The R392X stop codon was inserted into human CAR and the resulting mutant (CaRR392X) expressed transiently in HEK-293 cells.

Results

CaRR392X expressed as a 54 kDa dimeric glycoprotein that was undetectable in conditioned medium or in the patient's urine. The membrane localisation observed for wild-type CaR in parathyroid gland and transfected HEK-293 cells was absent from the proband's parathyroid gland and from CaRR392X-transfected cells. Expression of the mutant was localised to endoplasmic reticulum consistent with its lack of functional activity.

Conclusions

Intriguingly, the patient remained normocalcaemic throughout childhood (2.5 mM corrected calcium, 11 pg/ml PTH (10–71), age 8 years) but exhibited mild asymptomatic hypocalcaemia at age 10 years, now treated with 1-hydroxycholecalciferol and Ca2 + supplementation. Despite representing a virtual CAR knockout, the patient displays no obvious pathologies beyond her calcium homeostatic dysfunction.

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D Zenaty, Y Aigrain, M Peuchmaur, P Philippe-Chomette, C Baumann, F Cornelis, J P Hugot, D Chevenne, V Barbu, P J Guillausseau, M Schlumberger, J C Carel, J P Travagli, and J Léger

Context

Early prophylactic thyroidectomy in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 2 offers the best chance for a normal life expectancy.

Objective

To analyze the results of thyroidectomy performed during the first year of life in six patients with MEN 2A (codon 634) or MEN 2B (codon 918) syndrome.

Design and setting

A university hospital-based prospective study from 2001 to 2008.

Subjects and methods

Six family members affected either by MEN 2A (n=3) or MEN 2B (n=3) syndrome were identified through neonatal genetic screening.

Results

Total thyroidectomy was performed at a median age of 0.8 year in the six patients, with central lymph node dissection in five. Bilateral millimetric medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) was found in all patients, with a unilateral lymph node micrometastasis in two of the three MEN 2B patients. Before thyroidectomy, MEN 2B patients had much higher basal serum calcitonin levels than those with MEN 2A and controls. After thyroidectomy, with a median follow-up of 3.3 years, the six patients had no evidence of persistent MTC.

Conclusion

Bilateral millimetric MTC may be present during the first year of life in these patients, with lymph node metastases also occurring in MEN 2B patients. These results support a total thyroidectomy at the age of about one year in MEN 2A (codon 634) children with an abnormal serum calcitonin level, and a total thyroidectomy with central neck dissection within the first weeks of life in MEN 2B patients.

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Maik Welzel, Leyla Akin, Anja Büscher, Tülay Güran, Berthold P Hauffa, Wolfgang Högler, Julia Leonards, Beate Karges, Heiner Kentrup, Birgul Kirel, Emine Esin Yalinbas Senses, Neslihan Tekin, Paul-Martin Holterhus, and Felix G Riepe

Background

Pseudohypoaldosteronism type 1 (PHA1) is a monogenic disease caused by mutations in the genes encoding the human mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) or the α (SCNN1A), β (SCNN1B) or γ (SCNN1G) subunit of the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC). While autosomal dominant mutation of the MR cause renal PHA1, autosomal recessive mutations of the ENaC lead to systemic PHA1. In the latter, affected children suffer from neonatal onset of multi-organ salt loss and often exhibit cystic fibrosis-like pulmonary symptoms.

Objective

We searched for underlying mutations in seven unrelated children with systemic PHA1, all offsprings of healthy consanguineous parents.

Methods and results

Amplification of the SCNN1A gene and sequencing of all 13 coding exons unraveled mutations in all of our patients. We found five novel homozygous mutations (c.587_588insC in two patients, c.1342_1343insTACA, c.742delG, c.189C>A, c.1361-2A>G) and one known mutation (c.1474C>T) leading to truncation of the αENaC protein. All parents were asymptomatic heterozygous carriers of the respective mutations, confirming the autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Five out of seven patients exhibited pulmonary symptoms in the neonatal period.

Conclusion

The α subunit is essential for ENaC function and mutations truncating the pore-forming part of the protein leading to systemic PHA1. Based on current knowledge, the pulmonary phenotype cannot be satisfactorily predicted.

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Carmen Freire, Rosa Ramos, Esperanza Amaya, Mariana F Fernández, Piedad Santiago-Fernández, Maria-Jose Lopez-Espinosa, Juan-Pedro Arrebola, and Nicolas Olea

Objective

An association between thyroid function during pregnancy or infancy and neurodevelopment in children has been demonstrated. We aimed to investigate whether newborn TSH concentrations are related to subsequent neurocognitive development.

Design

We conducted a longitudinal study on 178 children from a general population birth cohort in Granada (Spain) born in 2000–2002.

Methods

TSH concentrations were measured in umbilical cord blood, and cognitive functions were assessed at 4 years of age using the McCarthy's scales of children's abilities (MSCA). Organochlorine (OC) compound concentrations and the combined oestrogenicity (total effective xeno-oestrogenic burden (TEXB)) were also determined in the placentae.

Results

Mean newborn TSH was 3.55 mU/l (range=0.24–17 mU/l). In multivariate regression analyses, adjusting for maternal and child characteristics, higher newborn TSH concentrations showed a decrease of 3.51 and 3.15 points on the MSCA general cognitive and executive function scores respectively and were associated with a higher risk of scoring below the 20th percentile (P20) on the quantitative score (odds ratio (OR)=2.64). Children with TSH in the upper quartile (4.19–17.0 mU/l) were at higher risk of scoring <P20 on span memory (OR=5.73), whereas children with TSH in the second quartile (2.05–2.95 mU/l) were at lower risk of scoring <P20 on the verbal scale (OR=0.24). Neonatal TSH status was also associated with general cognitive and executive function outcomes when controlling for prenatal exposure to OCs or placental TEXB.

Conclusions

Newborn thyroid hormone status expressed by TSH in cord blood may adversely affect later cognitive function. A more thorough screening for neonatal thyroid deficiency is warranted.

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Felix G Riepe, Wiebke Ahrens, Nils Krone, Regina Fölster-Holst, Jochen Brasch, Wolfgang G Sippell, Olaf Hiort, and Carl-Joachim Partsch

Objective: To clarify the molecular defect for the clinical finding of congenital hypothyroidism combined with the manifestation of calcinosis cutis in infancy.

Case report: The male patient presented with moderately elevated blood thyrotropin levels at neonatal screening combined with slightly decreased plasma thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine concentrations, necessitating thyroid hormone substitution 2 weeks after birth. At the age of 7 months calcinosis cutis was seen and the patient underwent further investigation. Typical features of Albright’s hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO), including round face, obesity and delayed psychomotor development, were found.

Methods and results: Laboratory investigation revealed a resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH) with highly elevated PTH levels and a reduction in adenylyl cyclase-stimulating protein (Gsα) activity leading to the diagnosis of pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP Ia). A novel heterozygous mutation (c364T > G in exon 5, leading to the amino acid substitution Ile-106 → Ser) was detected in the GNAS gene of the patient. This mutation was not found in the patient’s parents, both of whom showed normal Gsα protein activity in erythrocytes and no features of AHO. A de novo mutation is therefore likely.

Conclusions: Subcutaneous calcifications in infancy should prompt the clinician to a thorough search for an underlying disease. The possibility of AHO and PHP Ia should be considered in children with hypothyroidism and calcinosis cutis. Systematic reviews regarding the frequency of calcinosis in AHO are warranted.

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P Dimitri, J T Warner, J A L Minton, A M Patch, S Ellard, A T Hattersley, S Barr, D Hawkes, J K Wales, and J W Gregory

Introduction

Mutations in the GLI-similar 3 (GLIS3) gene encoding the transcription factor GLIS3 are a rare cause of neonatal diabetes and congenital hypothyroidism with six affected cases from three families reported to date. Additional features, described previously, include congenital glaucoma, hepatic fibrosis, polycystic kidneys, developmental delay and facial dysmorphism.

Subjects

We report two new cases from unrelated families with distinct novel homozygous partial GLIS3 deletions. Both patients presented with neonatal diabetes mellitus, severe resistant hypothyroidism in the presence of elevated thyroglobulin and normal thyroid anatomy, degenerative liver disease, cystic renal dysplasia, recurrent infections and facial dysmorphism. These novel mutations have also resulted in osteopenia, bilateral sensorineural deafness and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, features that have not previously been associated with GLIS3 mutations. Gene dosage analysis showed that the parents were carriers of a deletion encompassing exons 1–2 (case 1) or exons 1–4 (case 2) of the 11 exon gene. Genome-wide SNP analysis did not reveal a common ancestral GLIS3 haplotype in patient 2.

Conclusions

Our results confirm partial gene deletions as the most common type of GLIS3 mutations, accounting for four of five families identified to date. We propose that mutations in GLIS3 lead to a wider clinical phenotype than previously recognised. We also report the first case of a recessive GLIS3 mutation causing neonatal diabetes and congenital hypothyroidism in a child from a non-consanguineous pedigree, highlighting the importance of molecular genetic testing in any patient with this phenotype.