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A Bellastella, A Bizzarro, C Coronella, G Bellastella, AA Sinisi and A De Bellis

Lymphocytic hypophysitis (LYH) is an uncommon autoimmune disease in which the pituitary gland is infiltrated by lymphocytes, plasma cells and macrophages and its function is usually impaired. It has to be suspected in pregnant women and in women with recent delivery presenting with hyperprolactinemia, headache, visual field alterations and changes of one or more pituitary hormone secretions with secondary impairment of related peripheral target glands, especially when associated with other autoimmune endocrine or non-endocrine disorders. It can also occur less frequently in prepubertal or post-menopausal women and in men. Headache, visual field impairment and more rarely diplopia are due to extrasellar pituitary enlargement with optic chiasma compression and/or to invasion of cavernous sinuses. Among the 'isolated' pituitary hormone deficiencies, ACTH deficit is usually the earliest and most frequent hormonal impairment and in rare cases can induce an acute secondary hyposurrenalism as the first sign of the disease, with high mortality in affected patients. Histopathological findings from pituitary biopsy show lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate with lymphoid aggregates surrounding atropic acini of pituitary cells; immunohistochemical analysis shows numerous mast cells randomly distributed and also localized in the vicinity of capillaries, suggesting a possible influence on capillary permeability and angiogenesis, thus favoring the inflammatory and immunological aggression against pituitary cells. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging shows uniform sellar floor depression and an extrasellar symmetrical pituitary enlargement, usually displacing the optic chiasma, which shows a rapid homogeneous enhancement after gadolinium also involving the adjacent dura (dural tail). Antipituitary antibodies have been detected in several patients with LYH but their role needs to be clarified. Since a possible spontaneous remission can occur, a careful follow-up is required in subclinical patients without important hyposurrenalism or symptomatic extrasellar expansion. Medical (immunosuppressive, replacement and antiprolactinemic) and neurosurgical (decompression) treatments are needed in clinical symptomatic patients.

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Fatih Tanriverdi, Annamaria De Bellis, Marina Battaglia, Giuseppe Bellastella, Antonio Bizzarro, Antonio A Sinisi, Antonio Bellastella, Kursad Unluhizarci, Ahmet Selcuklu, Felipe F Casanueva and Fahrettin Kelestimur


Current data clearly demonstrate that sports-related chronic repetitive head trauma due to boxing might result in hypopituitarism. However, the mechanism of sports-related traumatic brain injury-induced pituitary dysfunction is still unclear. In order to understand whether autoimmune mechanisms could play a role in the pituitary dysfunction due to sports-related head trauma, we investigated the presence of antipituitary antibodies (APAs) and antihypothalamus antibodies (AHAs) in amateur boxers.

Patients and design

Sixty-one actively competing (n=44) or retired (n=17) male boxers (mean age, 26 years; range, 17–53) who had been evaluated regarding pituitary functions previously were included in the study. In all boxers and in 60 age/sex-similar normal controls, AHAs and APAs were investigated by an indirect immunofluorescence method.


AHAs were detected in 13 of 61 boxers (21.3%), and APAs were detected in 14 of 61 boxers (22.9%), but in none of the normal controls. Pituitary dysfunction was significantly higher in AHA-positive boxers (46.2%) than in AHA-negative boxers (10.4%) (P=0.003). There was a significant association between AHA positivity and hypopituitarism due to boxing (odds ratio: 7.37, 95% confidence interval 1.8–30.8). There was no significant association between APA positivity and hypopituitarism.


This study demonstrates for the first time the presence of AHAs and APAs in boxers who were exposed to sports-related head trauma. Moreover, the present investigation provides preliminary evidence that AHAs are associated with the development of pituitary dysfunction in boxers, thus suggesting that autoimmunity may have a role in the pathogenesis.

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Daniela Pasquali, Paolo Chieffi, William J Deery, Gianfranco Nicoletti, Antonio Bellastella and Antonio A Sinisi

Objective: All-trans-retinoic acid (RA) regulates cellular growth, differentiation and apoptosis in human prostate by binding to RA receptors. Non-genomic retinoid effects on signal transduction kinases in the cytoplasm are also described in several cells but they are still unknown in prostate cells.

Methods: Using an epithelial cell line derived from normal human prostate (EPN), and normal (NPEC) and malignant (CPEC) epithelial primary cultures of human prostate, we have examined effects of RA on both extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) and cAMP accumulation. Then we have verified the effect of the inhibition of Erk1/2 on RA-induced growth arrest and apoptosis in malignant cells.

Results: In NPEC and in EPN treated with RA for up to 24 h, Western blot analyses of Erk1/2 phosphorylation show that RA causes a rapid activation of Erk1/2 within 5 min, which is maintained for 30 min, followed by a return to basal levels. In CPEC, the activated phosphorylation levels persist up to 24 h. While basal cAMP levels are not affected by 30 min treatment with RA in both EPN and NPEC, levels are increased in CPEC. Forskolin-induced cAMP levels are decreased by RA in all cell types. CPEC were incubated for up to 96 h with RA with and without the inhibitor of Erk1/2, UO126. CPEC incubated with RA and UO126 for 72 h showed a significant arrest of cell growth and after 96 h apoptosis in 11% of cells.

Conclusions: We show rapid effects of RA on cytoplasmic messenger pathways in human prostate, and that responses can differ between normal and malignant cells. The inhibition of these pathways could improve the efficiency of RA in prostate cancer growth control.

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L. Perrone, T. Criscuolo, A. A. Sinisi, M. Graziani, T. Manzo, R. Sicuranza, A. Bellastella and M. Faggiano

Abstract. Male pseudohermaphroditism in a 6 month old boy, due to congenital 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency, associated with atrial septal defect, is reported. At 2 weeks he required therapy for severe dehydration and projectile vomiting. The parents were first cousins and one female sibling had died suddenly at 2 months. The patient presented with melanoderma, perineal hypospadias with testicles in a bifid scrotum and atrial septal defect (ostium secundum). Complete cytogenetic studies showed a 46,XY karyotype. Serum sodium ranged from 129 to 140 mEq/l and serum potassium from 5.1 to 4.6 mEq/l. Basal plasma hormonal studies showed normal androstenedione (Δ4A), decreased cortisol (F), slightly elevated ACTH, 17-hydroxy-progesterone (17-OH-P) and testosterone (T), and highly increased dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEA-S) levels. ACTH stimulation increased and DXM suppression decreased the plasma levels of DHEA-S, 17-OH-P and T but not that of F; hCG stimulation during cortisone therapy did not change the levels of DHEA-S and T. Corticosteroid therapy normalized electrolyte levels and reduced melanoderma and hormonal hypersecretion. Moderately elevated plasma levels of 17-OH-P and T suggest a partial testicular 3β-HSD deficiency. The multifactorial inheritance and the relatively high prevalence of atrial septal defect vs the rarity of adrenal enzymatic defect suggest a causal association even if a common genetic factor cannot be excluded.

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D Pasquali, A Bellastella, A Valente, G Botti, I Capasso, S del Vecchio, M Salvatore, V Colantuoni and AA Sinisi

Retinoids seem to act as agents of chemoprevention and differentiation in breast diseases. Their action is mediated by nuclear receptors, retinoic acid receptors (RAR alpha, RAR beta, RAR gamma) and retinoid X receptors (RXR alpha, RXR beta, RXR gamma) and modulated by cellular retinol binding proteins (CRBP). There are few published data on CRBP expression. In this study, we evaluated the expression of RAR alpha, beta and gamma and CRBP type I (CRBP-I) gene expression in fibrocystic disease (FD) and in breast cancer (BC), studying 14 FD and 20 BC surgical samples by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. We also evaluated mRNA concentrations in cancer samples by a semiquantitative PCR method, co-amplifying RAR alpha, RAR beta and CRBP-I genes with an unrelated gene, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), as internal control. All benign and malignant breat tissues expressed RAR alpha, beta and gamma, and CRBP-I mRNAs. A greater concentration of RAR beta mRNA was detected in cancer tissues with lower oestrogen and progesterone receptor concentrations, whereas RAR alpha was detected in variable concentrations that were not related to those of steroid receptors. The CRBP-I concentration was similar in all samples studied. We demonstrated that all three RARs and CRBP-I transcripts are expressed in FD, and that RAR beta, RAR gamma and CRBP-I mRNAs also are present in BC tissues. This indicates that both malignant and benign breast tissues may be target for retinoids, justifying the use of natural and synthetic vitamin A derivatives in the chemoprevention of breast disease.

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Marco Bonomi, Valeria Vezzoli, Csilla Krausz, Fabiana Guizzardi, Silvia Vezzani, Manuela Simoni, Ivan Bassi, Paolo Duminuco, Natascia Di Iorgi, Claudia Giavoli, Alessandro Pizzocaro, Gianni Russo, Mirella Moro, Letizia Fatti, Alberto Ferlin, Laura Mazzanti, Maria Chiara Zatelli, Salvo Cannavò, Andrea M Isidori, Angela Ida Pincelli, Flavia Prodam, Antonio Mancini, Paolo Limone, Maria Laura Tanda, Rossella Gaudino, Mariacarolina Salerno, Pregnolato Francesca, Mohamad Maghnie, Mario Maggi, Luca Persani and Italian Network on Central Hypogonadism


Isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) is a rare disorder with pubertal delay, normal (normoosmic-IHH, nIHH) or defective sense of smell (Kallmann syndrome, KS). Other reproductive and non-reproductive anomalies might be present although information on their frequency are scanty, particularly according to the age of presentation.


Observational cohort study carried out between January 2008 and June 2016 within a national network of academic or general hospitals.


We performed a detailed phenotyping of 503 IHH patients with: (1) manifestations of hypogonadism with low sex steroid hormone and low/normal gonadotropins; (2) absence of expansive hypothalamic/pituitary lesions or multiple pituitary hormone defects. Cohort was divided on IHH onset (PPO, pre-pubertal onset or AO, adult onset) and olfactory function: PPO-nIHH (n = 275), KS (n = 184), AO-nIHH (n = 36) and AO-doIHH (AO-IHH with defective olfaction, n = 8).


90% of patients were classified as PPO and 10% as AO. Typical midline and olfactory defects, bimanual synkinesis and familiarity for pubertal delay were also found among the AO-IHH. Mean age at diagnosis was significantly earlier and more frequently associated with congenital hypogonadism stigmata in patients with Kallmann’s syndrome (KS). Synkinesis, renal and male genital tract anomalies were enriched in KS. Overweight/obesity are significantly associated with AO-IHH rather than PPO-IHH.


Patients with KS are more prone to develop a severe and complex phenotype than nIHH. The presence of typical extra-gonadal defects and familiarity for PPO-IHH among the AO-IHH patients indicates a common predisposition with variable clinical expression. Overall, these findings improve the understanding of IHH and may have a positive impact on the management of patients and their families.