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Berthold P. Hauffa, Ruth Illig, Toni Torresani, Herbert Stolecke, and John A. Phillips III

Abstract.

Two brothers with familial isolated growth hormone deficiency type IA homozygous for the same 6.7 kb deletion on chromosome 17 including the growth hormone gene were intermittently treated with various forms of hGH for more than 7 years. While the elder brother (Patient 1) showed a good growth response to pituitary hGH, the younger one (Patient 2) developed high titre growth blocking hGH antibodies early in the course of treatment and grew only 2.2–3.9 cm/year on a hGH dose of 12–26 IU/m2 per week. When the younger brother was changed to a higher dose (33 IU/m2 per week) of biosynthetic methionyl hGH he had striking catch-up growth and he has subsequently maintained a height velocity of 10.0 cm/year for the last 2 years. During this time his antibody titres have decreased over 1000-fold. These findings demonstrate that therapy with biosynthetic methionyl hGH may provide an effective form of treatment for subjects with isolated growth hormone deficiency type IA who do not grow in response to native hGH, and imply that biosynthetic methionyl hGH may be less antigenic than pituitary derived hGH.

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Peter M. Messer, Berthold P. Hauffa, Thomas Olbricht, Georg Benker, Peter Kotulla, and Dankwart Reinwein

Abstract.

With regard to their thyroid function, somatic and intellectual development, we compared 17 children of 13 hyperthyroid mothers (group I) receiving antithyroid drug treatment during their pregnancies with 25 children of 15 mothers who were euthyroid without any antithyroid treatment during their pregnancy (group II). Mean duration of maternal treatment was 3.5 months in group I, using carbimazole or thiamazole (N=12) and propylthiouracil (N=1). Age at examination in group I was 7.2±6.2 years, in group II 8.7±7.1 years (mean±sd). Both groups showed no significant differences in the results of the clinical examination and in the degree of their mental and psychomotoric development at the time of study. We found the mean birth weight of the infants in group I significantly lower than in group II(3165±339 vs 3666±670 g, p<0.03). The individual birth weights, however, were normal for gestational age. The body weight difference between groups disappeared during the further somatic development of the children. The serum concentration of free thyroxine in group I was significantly higher than in group II (17.2 ± 2.4 vs 14.9±1.9 pmol/l, p<0.003), but fell in both groups within the normal range. The evaluation of the psychomotoric and intellectual capacity of the children at different developmental stages showed no abnormalities detectable by our tests. Thus, in the children of the two groups we found no adverse effects of a maternal antithyroid drug treatment during pregnancy or of inactive maternal Graves' disease alone, neither on thyroid gland size and function nor on the physical or intellectual development, after the neonatal period.

Open access

Sally Tantawy, Lin Lin, Ilker Akkurt, Guntram Borck, Dietrich Klingmüller, Berthold P Hauffa, Heiko Krude, Heike Biebermann, John C Achermann, and Birgit Köhler

Background

Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1, NR5A1) is a key transcriptional regulator of many genes involved in the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis and mutations in NR5A1 can result in 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD). Patients with this condition typically present with ambiguous genitalia, partial gonadal dysgenesis, and absent/rudimentary Müllerian structures. In these cases, testosterone is usually low in early infancy, indicating significantly impaired androgen synthesis. Further, Sertoli cell dysfunction is seen (low inhibin B, anti-Müllerian hormone). However, gonadal function at puberty in patients with NR5A1 mutations is unknown.

Subjects and methods

Clinical assessment, endocrine evaluation, and genetic analysis were performed in one female and one male with 46,XY DSD who showed spontaneous virilization during puberty. The female patient presented at adolescence with clitoral hypertrophy, whereas the male patient presented at birth with severe hypospadias and entered puberty spontaneously. Molecular analysis of NR5A1 was performed followed by in vitro functional analysis of the two novel mutations detected.

Results

Testosterone levels were normal during puberty in both patients. Analysis of NR5A1 revealed two novel heterozygous missense mutations in the ligand-binding domain of SF-1 (patient 1: p.L376F; patient 2: p.G328V). The mutant proteins showed reduced transactivation of the CYP11A promoter in vitro.

Conclusion

Patients with 46,XY DSD and NR5A1 mutations can produce sufficient testosterone for spontaneous virilization during puberty. Phenotypic females (46,XY) with NR5A1 mutations can present with clitoromegaly at puberty, a phenotype similar to other partial defects of androgen synthesis or action. Testosterone production in 46,XY males with NR5A1 mutations can be sufficient for virilization at puberty. As progressive gonadal dysgenesis is likely, gonadal function should be monitored in adolescence and adulthood, and early sperm cryopreservation considered in male patients if possible.

Free access

Berthold P Hauffa, Nils Lehmann, Markus Bettendorf, Otto Mehls, Helmuth-Günther Dörr, Nikolaus Stahnke, Heinz Steinkamp, Elfriede Said, Michael B Ranke, and participating members of the German KIGS Board/Medical Outcome Study Group

Abstract

Background

Childhood GH deficiency, suspected in the presence of decreased height velocity and short stature, is usually characterized by low IGF-I and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) serum concentrations and is conventionally confirmed by diminished GH peak responses to pharmacological stimuli.

Objective

We evaluated the agreement between different IGF-I (IGFBP-3) assays in predicting GH deficiency and tested whether variability between growth factor screening and pharmacological testing could be diminished by reassessment of growth factor and GH peak concentrations in a single laboratory.

Design

Using the Tuebingen IGF-I (IGFBP-3) RIA, 317 (321) sera from children evaluated for growth disorders in 19 centers were reanalyzed. In 103 children with insulin hypoglycemia and arginine tests, we evaluated how the association between the outcome of growth factor screening and functional testing would change if different assays were employed.

Results

Locally measured IGF-I correlated better than IGFBP-3 with the results of the central laboratory (Tuebingen) assay (slope of the regression curve 1.05; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.01–1.1 versus 1.18; 95% CI 1.09–1.3). Agreement between local and central laboratory assays in predicting GH deficiency was better for IGF-I than for IGFBP-3 assays (κ=0.59 versus κ=0.47). The poor agreement between growth factor screening and GH pharmacological testing was not improved when hormone concentrations were remeasured in the central laboratory (κ local=−0.0031, central=0.12).

Conclusions

In children with impaired growth, growth factor screening reflects different aspects of GH insufficiency than does functional testing. Agreement between these approaches is poor and could not be improved by reduction of assay-related variability.

Free access

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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Julia Rohayem, Lena Maria Bäumer, Michael Zitzmann, Susanne Fricke-Otto, Klaus Mohnike, Bettina Gohlke, Felix Reschke, Claus Jourdan, Hermann L Müller, Désirée Dunstheimer, Johannes Weigel, Norbert Jorch, Elke Müller-Roßberg, Erwin Lankes, Imke Gätjen, Annette Richter-Unruh, Berthold P Hauffa, Sabine Kliesch, Aniko Krumbholz, and Jurgen Bramswig

Objective: To study the impact of the quality of therapeutic control on fertility and on the prevalence of testicular adrenal rest tumors (TARTs) in young males with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).

Design: Combined cross-sectional and retrospective clinical study.

Methods: Twenty-nine patients and age-matched controls underwent clinical investigation, including semen analysis, testicular and adrenal ultrasound imaging, and serum and hair steroid analysis. The quality of therapeutic control was categorized as “poor”, “moderate” or “medium”. Evaluation of current control was based on concentrations of 17-hydroxy-progesterone and androstenedione in serum and 3 cm hair; previous control was categorized based on serum 17-hydroxy-progesterone concentrations during childhood and puberty, anthropometric and puberty data, bone age data and adrenal sizes.

Results: Semen quality was similar in males with CAH and controls (p = 0.066), however patients with “poor” past control and large TARTs, or with “poor” current CAH control, had low sperm counts. Follicle-stimulating hormone was decreased, if current CAH control was “poor” (1.8 ± 0.9 U/L; “good”: 3.9 ± 2.2 U/L); p = 0.015); luteinizing hormone was decreased if it was “poor” (1.8 ± 0.9 U/L; p = 0.041) or “moderate” (1.9 ± 0.6 U/L; “good”: 3.0 ± 1.3 U/L; p = 0.025). None of the males with “good” past CAH control, 50% of those with “moderate” past control and 80% with “poor” past control had bilateral TARTs. The prevalence of TARTs in males with severe (class null or A) CYP21A2 mutations was 53%, and 25% and 0% in those with milder class B and C mutations, respectively.

Conclusions: TART development is favoured by inadequate long-term hormonal control in CAH. Reduced semen quality may be associated with large TARTs. Gonadotropin suppression by adrenal androgen excess during the latest spermatogenic cycle may contribute to impairment of spermatogenesis.