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S H Donze, L Damen, E F Mahabier and A C S Hokken-Koelega

Objective

Children with Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS) have mild to moderate cognitive impairment. Short-term studies showed positive effects of growth hormone (GH) on cognitive development. This study investigated the effects of 8 years of GH on cognitive development in children with PWS. We also investigated whether starting GH during infancy results in higher cognitive functioning after 8 years of GH.

Design

Longitudinal study in 43 children with PWS during 8 years of GH (median age at GH start 8.1 years). Cognitive functioning after 8 years was compared to another group of 22 children with PWS (median age at GH start 1.4 years).

Methods

Cognitive functioning was measured by Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Vocabulary, Similarities and Block Design subtests were expressed as standard deviation scores (SDS) and total IQ (TIQ) calculated.

Results

Estimated mean (95%CI) Block Design SDS changed from −2.2 (−2.6; −1.8) at GH start to −1.8 (−2.2; −1.4) after 8 years of GH (P = 0.18), similarly SDS from −1.5 (−2.1; −0.9) to −1.3 (−1.9; −0.7, P = 0.66) and TIQ from 66 (60; 72) to 69 (63; 75, P = 0.57). Vocabulary SDS remained similar, being −1.9 (−2.3; −1.4) at GH start and −1.9 (−2.4; −1.5) after 8 years (P = 0.85). After 8 years of GH Vocabulary, SDS and TIQ were higher in the children who started GH during infancy, compared to those who started GH later in childhood (P < 0.01, P = 0.04, respectively).

Conclusions

Cognitive functioning in children with PWS remains similar during long-term GH and develops at the same pace as healthy peers.

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John P H Wilding

Endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism may cause weight gain and exacerbate metabolic dysfunction in obesity. Other forms of endocrine dysfunction, particularly gonadal dysfunction (predominantly testosterone deficiency in men and polycystic ovarian syndrome in women), and abnormalities of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the growth hormone-IGF-1 system and vitamin D deficiency are common in obesity. As a result, endocrinologists may be referred people with obesity for endocrine testing and asked to consider treatment with various hormones. A recent systematic review and associated guidance from the European Society of Endocrinology provide a useful evidence summary and clear guidelines on endocrine testing and treatment in people with obesity. With the exception of screening for hypothyroidism, most endocrine testing is not recommended in the absence of clinical features of endocrine syndromes in obesity, and likewise hormone treatment is rarely needed. These guidelines should help reduce unnecessary endocrine testing in those referred for assessment of obesity and encourage clinicians to support patients with their attempts at weight loss, which if successful has a good chance of correcting any endocrine dysfunction.

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Ge Li, Yu Li, Lanwen Han, Dongmei Wang, Qian Zhang, Xinhua Xiao, Lu Qi, Steven M Willi, Ming Li, Jie Mi and Shan Gao

Objective

A subset of normal-weight individuals appears predisposed to obesity-related cardiometabolic abnormalities. Studies of this metabolically obese, normal weight (MONW) phenotype in youth are scarce. We aimed to identify early environmental and genetic factors associated with MONW in children.

Methods

Overall, 1475 normal-weight Chinese children aged 6–18 were recruited from the Beijing Children and Adolescents Metabolic Syndrome study cohort. Birthweight, childhood lifestyle, socio-economic factors, and 20 genetic variants previously shown to be associated with BMI or glucose metabolism in East Asian adults were examined for their association with the MONW phenotype. MONW was defined by exhibiting any metabolic syndrome component.

Results

After adjusting for covariates including BMI, low birthweight and low levels of physical activity, fruit consumption, parental education and household income, as well as CDKAL1 rs2206734 genotype were independent predictors of the MONW phenotype (all P < 0.05). Moreover, rs2206734 interacted with birthweight to predict the MONW phenotype (P interaction = 0.0008). Among high (>75th percentile) birthweight individuals, each C allele at this locus was associated with a 62% reduced risk of MONW (OR = 0.38; 95% CI = 0.26-0.58; P = 5.71 × 10−6), while no such genetic associations were found in intermediate or low birthweight individuals (P > 0.1). This CDKAL1-MONW relationship in high birthweight individuals was especially strong in the presence of favorable childhood environmental factors (high levels of physical activity, fruit consumption, parental education and household income) (P interaction = 0.013).

Conclusions

Our findings provided the novel evidence that early environment (especially birthweight) and genetics, along with their interaction with one another, play important roles in predicting the MONW phenotype among children.

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Jacques Young, Magalie Haissaguerre, Oceana Viera-Pinto, Olivier Chabre, Eric Baudin and Antoine Tabarin

Ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS) is rare but is frequently a severe condition because of the intensity of the hypercortisolism that may be dissociated from the tumoral condition. EAS should often be considered as an endocrine emergency requiring an emergency response both in terms of diagnostic procedures and therapeutic interventions. Patient management is complex and necessitates dual skills, in the diagnosis and treatment of CS and in the specific management of neuroendocrine tumors (NET). Therefore, initial management should be performed ideally by experienced endocrinology teams in collaboration with specialized hormonal laboratory, modern imaging platforms and intensive care units. Diagnostic procedures vary according to the endocrine and tumoral contexts but should be reduced to a minimum in intense hypercortisolism. Preventive and curative treatments of cortisol-induced comorbidities, non-specific management of hypercortisolism and etiological treatments should be considered simultaneously. Therapeutic strategies vary according to (1.) the intensity of hypercortisolism, the general condition of the patient and associated comorbidities and (2.) the tumoral status, ranging from resectable ACTH secreting tumors to non-resectable metastatic endocrine tumors or occult tumors. The ideal treatment is complete excision of the ACTH-secreting tumor that can be performed rapidly or after preoperative preparation using cortisol-lowering drugs. When this is not possible, the therapeutic strategy should be discussed by a multidisciplinary experienced team in a personalized perspective and include variable combinations of pharmacological agents, bilateral adrenalectomy and non-specific tumoral interventions. Here we discuss the diagnosis and therapeutic strategies including the modern, currently available tools and emphasize on the operational effectiveness of care.

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Yutaka Takahashi

Hypopituitarism is caused by various insults to the pituitary, such as hypothalamic and pituitary tumors, inflammation, autoimmunity, vascular injury, genetic abnormalities, irradiation, and trauma. Recently, it has been found that autoimmunity to the pituitary involves many pathological conditions associated with specific or non-specific hormone deficiencies in the gland. This review discusses the recent findings on the underlying mechanism of autoimmune hypopituitarism particularly of lymphocytic hypophysitis, IgG4-related hypophysitis, immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced hypophysitis, anti-PIT-1 hypophysitis, and isolated ACTH deficiency.

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Giorgia Pepe, Domenico Corica, Luisa De Sanctis, Mariacarolina Salerno, Maria Felicia Faienza, Daniele Tessaris, Gerdi Tuli, Iris Scala, Laura Penta, Angela Alibrandi, Giovanni Battista Pajno, Tommaso Aversa, Malgorzata Wasniewska and the Thyroid Study Group of the Italian Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (ISPED)

Objective

To evaluate the prevalence and natural course of autoimmune and non-autoimmune subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) in Down syndrome (DS) children and adolescents.

Design

Prospective multicenter study.

Methods

For the study, 101 DS patients with SH (TSH 5–10 mIU/L; FT4 12–22 pmol/L), aged 2–17 years at SH diagnosis were enrolled. Annual monitoring of TSH, FT4, BMI, height, and L-thyroxine dose was recorded for 5 years. Thyroid autoimmunity was tested at diagnosis and at the end of follow-up.

Results

Thirty-seven out of 101 patients displayed autoantibody positivity (group A); the remaining 64 were classified as non-autoimmune SH (group B). Group A was characterized by higher median age at SH diagnosis and by more frequent family history of thyroid disease (6.6 vs 4.7 years, P = 0.001; 32.4% vs 7.8%, P = 0.001 respectively), whereas congenital heart defects were more common in group B (65.6% vs 43.2%, P = 0.028). Gender, median BMI (SDS), height (SDS), FT4, and TSH were similar in both groups. At the end of follow-up: 35.1% of group A patients developed overt hypothyroidism (OH) vs 17.2% of group B (P = 0.041); 31.25% of group B vs 10.8% of group A became biochemically euthyroid (P = 0.02); and 37.8% of group A vs 51.5% of group B still had SH condition (P = 0.183). Logistic regression suggested autoimmunity (OR = 3.2) and baseline TSH values (OR = 1.13) as predictive factors of the evolution from SH to OH.

Conclusions

In DS children, non-autoimmune SH showed higher prevalence and earlier onset. The risk of thyroid function deterioration over time seems to be influenced by thyroid autoimmunity and higher baseline TSH values.

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Nicholas A Tritos, Anders F Mattsson, Greisa Vila, Beverly M K Biller, Anne Klibanski, Srinivas Valluri, Judith Hey-Hadavi, Nicky Kelepouris and Camilo Jimenez

Objective

To examine all-cause mortality rates in patients with acromegaly on pegvisomant and identify pertinent risk factors, including insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I).

Design

Retrospective cohort analysis of data from ACROSTUDY (global surveillance study of patients with acromegaly treated with pegvisomant).

Methods

Kaplan–Meier analyses and Cox regression techniques were used to examine survival rates. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) with reference to general population (WHO GBD 2016) were estimated. Multiplicative multiple Poisson regression models were used to characterize the association between SMR, IGF-I, and other risk factors associated with mortality risk.

Results

The study consisted of 2077 subjects who were followed for a median interval of 4.1 years, contributing to 8957 patient-years. Higher on-treatment IGF-I (P = 0.0035), older attained age (P < 0.0001), and longer duration of acromegaly (>10 years) before starting pegvisomant (P = 0.05) were associated with higher mortality rates. In reference to general population rates, higher SMR (1.10, 1.42, and 2.62, at attained age 55 years) were observed with higher serum IGF-I category (SMR trend: 1.44 (44%)/per fold level of IGF-I/ULN (95% CI: 1.10, 1.87), P = 0.0075). SMR increased per year of younger attained age (1.04 (1.02–1.04), P < 0.0001) and were higher for longer disease duration (>10 years) before starting pegvisomant (1.57 (1.02, 2.43), P = 0.042). Serum IGF-I levels within the normal range during pegvisomant therapy were associated with all-cause mortality rates that were indistinguishable from the general population.

Conclusions

Higher on-treatment IGF-I, older attained age, and longer duration of acromegaly before starting pegvisomant are associated with higher all-cause mortality rates. Younger patients with uncontrolled acromegaly have higher excess all-cause mortality rates in comparison with older patients.

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Masanobu Fujimoto, Jane C Khoury, Philip R Khoury, Bhanu Kalra, Ajay Kumar, Patrick Sluss, Claus Oxvig, Vivian Hwa and Andrew Dauber

Objective

Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A2 (PAPP-A2) is a metalloproteinase that cleaves IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-5. Human mutations in PAPPA2 result in short stature with a low percentage of free IGF-I. Little is known about PAPP-A2 levels and the regulation of free IGF-I throughout childhood. We examined PAPP-A2 and intact IGFBP-3 levels in childhood and explored associations between PAPP-A2, free and total IGF-I, and total and intact IGFBP-3 and their relationship to the percentage of free to total IGF-I and anthropometric factors.

Design

Cross-sectional study at a single center.

Methods

PAPP-A2, free IGF-I, and intact IGFBP-3 levels were measured in childhood (3–18 years old) and an evaluation of the relationship between these proteins and anthropometric factors.

Results

In 838 children, PAPP-A2 consistently decreased throughout childhood. In contrast, free IGF-I increased. A pubertal peak in free IGF-I was present in females but was less evident in males. Intact and total IGFBP-3 increased throughout childhood; however, intact IGFBP-3 had a more marked rise than total IGFBP-3. Percent free IGF-I decreased with no distinct pubertal peak. PAPP-A2 levels positively correlated with the percent free IGF-I (Male, Female; r = 0.18, 0.38; P < 0.001) and negatively with intact IGFBP-3 (Male, Female; r = −0.58, −0.65; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

This is the first study to describe serum PAPP-A2 and intact IGFBP-3 in children between 3 and 18 years of age. Our correlative findings suggest that PAPP-A2 is an important regulator of the percent free IGF-I which can be a marker of perturbations in the GH/IGF-I axis.

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Yuan-Yuei Chen, Tung-Wei Kao, Chung-Ching Wang, Chen-Jung Wu, Yi-Chao Zhou and Wei-Liang Chen

Background

Cigarette smoking is a risk factor of osteoporosis and bone fracture. Tobacco smoke contains several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Thus, we hypothesized that environmental polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure is associated with bone loss and fracture risk. The present study examined the association between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure and bone turnover in the general adult population.

Methods

A total of 1408 eligible participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2001–2006) were included in this cross-sectional analysis. The levels of urinary N-telopeptide and serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, which are biomarkers of bone resorption and formation, respectively, were assessed. Meanwhile, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure was evaluated using the concentrations of urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites. The association between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposures and N-telopeptide, and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels was assessed using a multivariate linear regression model.

Results

All polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites except 3-phenanthrene were significantly associated with increased N-telopeptide levels (P < 0.05) after adjustment of relevant covariables. However, no significant relationship was observed between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels. This relationship remained significant after the participants were assessed according to sex (P < 0.05). Additionally, all polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites showed a positive association with N-telopeptide levels in participants aged <60 years (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure is associated with increased bone resorption among the general adult population in the United States. Further studies must assess the potential mechanisms associated with the adverse effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure on bone loss.

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Clemens Kamrath

Primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) in children is mostly due to genetic defects. The understanding of the molecular genetics of the causes of adrenal insufficiency in the pediatric population has made significant progress during the last years. It has been shown that inherited PAI can lead to certain clinical manifestations and health problems in children beyond the adrenals. Organ dysfunctions associated with different forms of PAI in children include a wide range of organs such as gonads, brain, heart, bone, growth, bone marrow, kidney, skin, parathyroid, and thyroid. Diagnosing the correct genetic cause of PAI in children is therefore crucial to adequately control long-term treatment and follow-up in such patients.