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J E Lake, P Debroy, D Ng, K M Erlandson, L A Kingsley, F J Palella Jr, M J Budoff, W S Post and T T Brown

Objectives

Adipose tissue (AT) density measurement may provide information about AT quality among people living with HIV. We assessed AT density and evaluated relationships between AT density and immunometabolic biomarker concentrations in men with HIV.

Design

Cross-sectional analysis of men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study.

Methods

Abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) density (Hounsfield units, HU; less negative = more dense) were quantified from computed tomography (CT) scans. Multivariate linear regression models described relationships between abdominal AT density and circulating biomarker concentrations.

Results

HIV+ men had denser SAT (−95 vs −98 HU HIV−, P < 0.001), whereas VAT density was equivalent by HIV serostatus men (382 HIV−, 462 HIV+). Historical thymidine analog nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (tNRTI) use was associated with denser SAT but not VAT. In adjusted models, a 1 s.d. greater SAT or VAT density was associated with higher levels of adiponectin, leptin, HOMA-IR and triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio and lower hs-CRP concentrations in HIV− men. Conversely, in HIV+ men, each s.d. greater SAT density was not associated with metabolic parameter improvements and was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with higher systemic inflammation. Trends toward higher inflammatory biomarker concentrations per 1 s.d. greater VAT density were also observed among HIV+ men.

Conclusions

Among men living with HIV, greater SAT density was associated with greater systemic inflammation independent of SAT area. AT density measurement provides additional insight into AT density beyond measurement of AT quantity alone, and may have implications for metabolic disease risk.

Free access

David J Torpy

A study has examined the rates of adrenal crises in patients treated with pituitary or adrenal surgery. Rates were substantial (approximately 9 per 100 patient years), perhaps representing suppression of corticotrope ACTH secretion and deprivation of normal corticotrope number postoperatively. Hormone withdrawal syndrome may have contributed to the rates of apparent adrenal crises given the definition used. Higher rates were seen in patients given relatively high dose glucocorticoids postoperatively in one of the two centres where patients were treated – perhaps some of the patients in the high dose centre had longer periods of corticotrope suppression from exogenous glucocorticoids, increasing the risk period for adrenal crises. The question of optimal glucocorticoid dose and weaning rate after cure of Cushing’s syndrome remains a balance between weaning at a rate sufficiently rapid to allow resumption of normal corticotrope function thereby preventing adrenal crises and providing sufficient glucocorticoid support to avoid hormone withdrawal syndrome or even precipitating an adrenal crisis, in the vulnerable 4–6 month period after successful surgery. There is likely to be considerable inter-individual variability in optimum glucocorticoid dose and weaning rate so that close clinical and biochemical monitoring is currently a practical approach.

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Hershel Raff, Eric P Cohen and James W Findling

The diagnosis of endogenous hypercortisolism (Cushing's syndrome) is extremely challenging. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) increases the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis making the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome even more challenging. This is particularly so since urine free cortisol (UFC) testing is not useful in CKD. The case report by Stroud et al. in this issue of the European Journal of Endocrinology highlights this problem by finding normal UFC in a patient with pituitary ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome. Elevated late-night salivary cortisol (LNSC) testing was diagnostic and pituitary adenomectomy was curative. LNSC measurement is the diagnostic test of choice in patients with suspected Cushing's syndrome, particularly in the presence of CKD..

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Anna Stroud, John Zhang and Ann McCormack

Objective

The diagnosis of Cushing’s disease (CD) is particularly challenging in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) due to abnormalities of the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis associated with the latter. This case report presents discrepant biochemical findings in a patient with CKD who was subsequently diagnosed with CD, and outlines principles which may guide the definitive diagnosis of CD in this context.

Methods

The case of a patient with Stage 4 CKD who underwent transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary-dependent CD is presented. A literature review was conducted to identify similar cases and characterise features of hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis dysfunction in CKD.

Results

The patient discussed herein presented with markedly elevated plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) due to a pituitary macroadenoma, with normal 24-h urine free cortisol (24-UFC) but abnormal overnight dexamethasone suppression testing and elevated midnight salivary cortisol. He experienced biochemical remission after undergoing transsphenoidal adenomectomy. A literature review revealed that CKD can be associated with elevated serum cortisol, reduced UFC and elevated plasma ACTH. Only four other cases of CD being diagnosed in a patient with CKD have been published. The loss of a circadian rhythm of cortisol secretion was the most common feature among all cases.

Conclusions

To establish a definitive diagnosis of CD in the context of pre-existing CKD, the absence of circadian rhythms of cortisol and ACTH is a more sensitive indicator than 24-UFC and low-dose dexamethasone suppression testing.

Free access

Emilia Sbardella, Carlotta Pozza, Andrea M Isidori and Ashley B Grossman

Introduction

The transition age is the period between childhood to adulthood; it refers to a broad set of physical, cognitive and sociocultural modifications, arbitrarily defined as starting in late puberty and ending with full adult maturation. Pituitary disorders in adolescence represent a challenge that requires careful management during the transition to adult care.

Methods

Given the complexity of care of pituitary disorders in the transition age, we have reviewed the relevant medical literature focusing on aetiology, clinical manifestations, treatment strategies of GH deficiency (GHD), hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (HH) in male and female adolescents, central hypothyroidism (CH), central adrenal insufficiency (CAI) and cranial diabetes insipidus (CDI) at this time. The objective of the present review is to provide an up-to-date evaluation of the transition period to evaluate the specific needs of adolescents with chronic pituitary disease in order to optimise their management.

Results

We provide an overview of current clinical management of GHD, HH, CH, CAI and CDI in the transition age.

Conclusions

Specific changes occur in pituitary function during the transition period. A holistic approach including discussion of patients’ concerns and emotional support should constitute a key component of managing pituitary disorders in adolescence. Special transition clinics where paediatric and adult endocrinologists work together, should be increasingly created and strengthened to bridge care, to promote continuity and adherence to treatment and to limit potential negative development, metabolic, skeletal and cardiovascular sequelae of discontinuity of care among adolescents with pituitary disorders.

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Massimo Bongiovanni, William C Faquin, Luca Giovanella, Cosimo Durante, Peter Kopp and Pierpaolo Trimboli

Objective

The second version of The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology endorsed the introduction of non-invasive follicular thyroid neoplasms with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP) as a distinct entity with low malignant potential into clinical practice. Consequently, the risk of malignancy (ROM) of cytological diagnoses has changed, but the magnitude of the change remains uncertain. The present systematic review was undertaken to obtain more robust information about the true impact of NIFTP on the ROM among patients undergoing surgery following a fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) diagnosis of suspicious for malignancy (Bethesda V) or malignant (Bethesda VI). As they are managed surgically, these two diagnostic categories are the primary entities that are clinically impacted by the advent of NIFTP.

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods

A comprehensive literature search of online databases was performed in November 2018. The search was conducted looking for data of histologically proven NIFTP with preoperative FNAC.

Results

One-hundred fifty-seven articles were identified and nine were included in the study. Overall, there were 13,752 thyroidectomies with a cancer prevalence of 45.7%. When NIFTP was considered non-malignant, the pooled risk difference for ROM was 5.5%. Applying meta-analysis, the pooled prevalence of NIFTP among nodules with FNAC of Bethesda V or Bethesda VI was 14 and 3%, respectively.

Conclusion

This meta-analysis shows that the inclusion of NIFTP leads to a reduction in the ROM for the Bethesda V and Bethesda VI FNAC diagnostic categories by 14 and 3%, respectively. Clinicians should be aware of these data to avoid overtreatment.

Free access

Luca Giovanella and Leonidas H Duntas

The use of recombinant human thyrotropin (rhTSH) testing in the diagnosis and therapy of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) has been adopted over the last two decades as an alternative to the classical thyroid hormone withdrawal avoiding the threat of hypothyroidism. Serum thyroglobulin (Tg) measurement is crucial for monitoring DTC patients over time. Until about a decade ago, optimal sensitivity of Tg assays for the detection of smaller disease foci required Tg measurement after thyrotropin (TSH) stimulation, carried out following thyroid hormone withdrawal or rhTSH administration. In very recent years, significant improvements in assay technology have resulted in highly sensitive Tg (hsTg) assays, sufficiently sensitive to obviate the need for rhTSH stimulation in most DTC patients. The aim of this paper is to review and discuss, via a ‘pros and cons’ approach, the current clinical role of rhTSH to stimulate radioiodine (RAI) uptake for treatment and/or imaging purposes and to increase the clinical sensitivity of Tg measurement for monitoring DTC patients when high-sensitive Tg assays are available.

Open access

Andrew A Crawford, Stefan Soderberg, Clemens Kirschbaum, Lee Murphy, Mats Eliasson, Shah Ebrahim, George Davey Smith, Tommy Olsson, Naveed Sattar, Debbie A Lawlor, Nicolas J Timpson, Rebecca M Reynolds and Brian R Walker

Objective

The identification of new causal risk factors has the potential to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction and the development of new treatments to reduce CVD deaths. In the general population, we sought to determine whether cortisol is a causal risk factor for CVD and coronary heart disease (CHD).

Design and methods

Three approaches were adopted to investigate the association between cortisol and CVD/CHD. First, we used multivariable regression in two prospective nested case-control studies (total 798 participants, 313 incident CVD/CHD with complete data). Second, a random-effects meta-analysis of these data and previously published prospective associations was performed (total 6680 controls, 696 incident CVD/CHD). Finally, one- and two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses were performed (122,737 CHD cases, 547,261 controls for two-sample analyses).

Results

In the two prospective nested case–control studies, logistic regression adjusting for sex, age, BMI, smoking and time of sampling, demonstrated a positive association between morning plasma cortisol and incident CVD (OR: 1.28 per 1 SD higher cortisol, 95% CI: 1.06–1.54). In the meta-analysis of prospective studies, the equivalent result was OR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.06–1.31. Results from the two-sample Mendelian randomization were consistent with these positive associations: OR: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.98–1.15.

Conclusions

All three approaches demonstrated a positive association between morning plasma cortisol and incident CVD. Together, these findings suggest that elevated morning cortisol is a causal risk factor for CVD. The current data suggest strategies targeted at lowering cortisol action should be evaluated for their effects on CVD.

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Aikaterini Geroula, Timo Deutschbein, Katharina Langton, Jimmy Masjkur, Christina Pamporaki, Mirko Peitzsch, Stephanie Fliedner, Henri J L M Timmers, Stefan R Bornstein, Felix Beuschlein, Anthony Stell, Andrzej Januszewicz, Aleksander Prejbisz, Martin Fassnacht, Jacques W M Lenders and Graeme Eisenhofer

Objective

Hypertension and symptoms of catecholamine excess are features of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs). This prospective observational cohort study assessed whether differences in presenting features in patients tested for PPGLs might assist establishing likelihood of disease.

Design and methods

Patients were tested for PPGLs because of signs and symptoms, an incidental mass on imaging or routine surveillance due to previous history or hereditary risk. Patients with (n = 245) compared to without (n = 1820) PPGLs were identified on follow-up. Differences in presenting features were then examined to assess the probability of disease and relationships to catecholamine excess.

Results

Hyperhidrosis, palpitations, pallor, tremor and nausea were 30–90% more prevalent (P < 0.001) among patients with than without PPGLs, whereas headache, flushing and other symptoms showed little or no differences. Although heart rates were higher (P < 0.0001) in patients with than without PPGLs, blood pressures were not higher and were positively correlated to BMI, which was lower (P < 0.0001) in patients with than without PPGLs. From these differences in clinical features, a score system was established that indicated a 5.8-fold higher probability of PPGLs in patients with high than low scores. Higher scores among patients with PPGLs were associated, independently of tumor size, with higher biochemical indices of catecholamine excess.

Conclusions

This study identifies a complex of five signs and symptoms combined with lower BMI and elevated heart rate as key features in patients with PPGLs. Prevalences of these features, which reflect variable tumoral catecholamine production, may be used to triage patients according to likelihood of disease.

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Daniel A Heinrich, Christian Adolf, Marcus Quinkler, Finn Holler, Benjamin Lechner, Nina Nirschl, Lisa Sturm, Veronika Görge, Felix Beuschlein and Martin Reincke

Objective

Saline infusion test (SIT) and captopril challenge test (CCT) are standard confirmatory procedures routinely used in the diagnostic work-up of primary aldosteronism (PA). However, side effects and complications during testing have not been systematically studied.

Design

We performed a cohort study with patients undergoing SIT and/or CCT in two centers from 2016 until 2018.

Methods

We studied 272 study participants with suspected PA enrolled at two outpatient centers in Germany. We assessed the frequency and severity of side effects during adjustment of blood pressure medication and during SIT and CCT.

Results

During the adjustment phase prior confirmatory testing, side effects including palpitations, headaches, edema and hypertensive episodes occurred in 18.4% of study participants. Side effects were associated with higher defined daily doses (DDD) (r = 0.25, P < 0.005), number of antihypertensive drugs (r = 0.285, P < 0.005) and higher blood pressure (r = 0.145, P = 0.019). During SIT, 17.5% of study participants had side effects, associated with higher blood pressure (systolic: r = 0.541, P < 0.0005; diastolic: r = 0.426, P < 0.0005) and DDDs (r = 0.727, P < 0.0005). During CCT, only 1.5% of study participants developed side effects.

Conclusions

In contrast to the high rate of side effects during SIT, CCT appears to be the safer test with a very low event rate. This makes CCT especially suitable for severely hypertensive patients.