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R Di Iorio, E Marinoni, C Letizia, B Villaccio, A Alberini and EV Cosmi

OBJECTIVE: Adrenomedullin, a recently discovered vasoactive peptide originally identified in pheochromocytoma, has been found to be increased in the plasma of pregnant women at term. This study was designed to elucidate whether adrenomedullin secretion is dependent on gestational age and the possible source and function of this peptide in human pregnancy. STUDY DESIGN: Adrenomedullin concentrations were determined by RIA in amniotic fluid and maternal plasma obtained from 110 pregnant women between 8 and 40 weeks of gestation. Subjects were stratified into five groups according to gestational age. In term patients (n = 15), adrenomedullin was also measured in the umbilical artery and vein separately. RESULTS: High concentrations of adrenomedullin were present in plasma and amniotic fluid samples from patients in the first, second and third trimester. There was no significant difference in mean maternal plasma concentration of adrenomedullin between the five patient groupings. Amniotic fluid adrenomedullin concentrations decreased from 81.2 +/- 11.7 pg/ml at 8-12 weeks of gestation to 63.7 +/- 6.0 pg/ml at 13-20 weeks of gestation and then increased at 21-28 weeks of gestation to 99.1 +/- 10.4 pg/ml. A further increase was found in samples collected after 37 weeks of gestation (132.6 +/- 10.1 pg/ml). In the umbilical vein, adrenomedullin concentration was higher (P < 0.05) than in the artery (65.7 +/- 6.1 pg/ml and 48.5 +/- 5.2 pg/ml respectively), suggesting that adrenomedullin in the fetal circulation derives from the placenta. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate the presence of adrenomedullin in maternal plasma and amniotic fluid throughout gestation, and show that its production starts very early in gestation, suggesting that this hormone may have an important role in human reproduction, from implantation to delivery.

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C Letizia, G Tamburrano, P Alo, A Paoloni, C Caliumi, E Marinoni, R di Iorio and E d'Erasmo

BACKGROUND: It has been demonstrated that adrenomedullin, a newly discovered peptide, affects the release of insulin from pancreatic islets cells, suggesting a role in the insulin-regulating system. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether adrenomedullin secretion is modified in patients with insulin-secreting islet cell tumours. DESIGN: The study was performed in nine patients with surgically treated insulinoma. Circulating adrenomedullin was assayed using a specific radioimmunoassay and its localization and distribution in the tumour were determined by means of immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Adrenomedullin concentrations were significantly greater in patients with insulinoma (6.6 +/- 3.2 fmol/ml) than in controls (2.1 +/- 1.1 fmol/ml). In six patients monitored before and after surgery, plasma adrenomedullin decreased from 6.3 +/- 2.9 fmol/ml to 3.0 +/- 1.6 fmol/ml. Immunoreactive adrenomedullin was localized exclusively in the tumours cells, whereas stroma, surrounding pancreas parenchyma and major ducts were negative for the peptide. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that circulating adrenomedullin is increased in insulinoma and that this increase is related to the neoplastic phenotype.

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Edward Buitenwerf, Tijmen Korteweg, Anneke Visser, Charlotte M S C Haag, Richard A Feelders, Henri J L M Timmers, Letizia Canu, Harm R Haak, Peter H L T Bisschop, Elisabeth M W Eekhoff, Eleonora P M Corssmit, Nanda C Krak, Elise Rasenberg, Janneke van den Bergh, Jaap Stoker, Marcel J W Greuter, Robin P F Dullaart, Thera P Links and Michiel N Kerstens

Background

A substantial proportion of all pheochromocytomas is currently detected during the evaluation of an adrenal incidentaloma. Recently, it has been suggested that biochemical testing to rule out pheochromocytoma is unnecessary in case of an adrenal incidentaloma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 Hounsfield Units (HU) at computed tomography (CT).

Objectives

We aimed to determine the sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold value to exclude a pheochromocytoma.

Methods

Retrospective multicenter study with systematic reassessment of preoperative unenhanced CT scans performed in patients in whom a histopathologically proven pheochromocytoma had been diagnosed. Unenhanced attenuation values were determined independently by two experienced radiologists. Sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold was calculated, and interobserver consistency was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

Results

214 patients were identified harboring a total number of 222 pheochromocytomas. Maximum tumor diameter was 51 (39–74) mm. The mean attenuation value within the region of interest was 36 ± 10 HU. Only one pheochromocytoma demonstrated an attenuation value ≤10 HU, resulting in a sensitivity of 99.6% (95% CI: 97.5–99.9). ICC was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.75–0.86) with a standard error of measurement of 7.3 HU between observers.

Conclusion

The likelihood of a pheochromocytoma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 HU on CT is very low. The interobserver consistency in attenuation measurement is excellent. Our study supports the recommendation that in patients with an adrenal incidentaloma biochemical testing for ruling out pheochromocytoma is only indicated in adrenal tumors with an unenhanced attenuation value >10 HU.

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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

Objective

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.

Design

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

Methods

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).

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.