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Alberto Signore, Marco Chianelli, Elisabetta Ferretti, Anna Toscano, Keith E Britton, Domenico Andreani, Edwin AM Gale and Paolo Pozzilli

Signore A, Chianelli M, Ferretti E, Toscano A, Britton KE, Andreani D, Gale EAM, Pozzilli P. New approach for in vivo detection of insulitis in type I diabetes: activated lymphocyte targeting with 123I-labelled interleukin 2. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;131:431–7. ISSN 0804–4643

Insulitis is considered the histopathological hallmark of type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes. In the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse, diabetes has never been observed in the absence of insulitis. The in vivo detection of insulitis could be of relevance for early prediction of diabetes. As approximately 15% of islet-infiltrating lymphocytes express interleukin 2 receptors, we have labelled recombinant interleukin 2 with 123I and used this radiopharmaceutical to detect insulitis by gamma camera imaging. We studied 71 prediabetic NOD and 27 normal Balb/c mice. Labelled α-lactalbumin was used as the control protein. In the first set of experiments we studied the tissue distribution of radiolabelled interleukin 2 in isolated organs from animals sacrificed at different time points. Higher radioactivity was detected in the pancreas of NOD mice injected with labelled interleukin 2, as compared to NOD mice receiving labelled α-lactalbumin (p < 0.003 at 20 min; p< 0.001 at 40 min; p< 0.0001 at 60 min) or Balb/c mice injected with labelled interleukin 2 (p< 0.05 at 40 min; p< 0.001 at 60 min). In another set of experiments, gamma camera images have been acquired after injection of 123I-labelled interleukin 2. Radioactivity in the pancreatic region of prediabetic NOD and Balb/c mice showed similar kinetics to those observed by single organ counting, with higher accumulation in the pancreatic region of NOD mice (p < 0.04 after 22–45 min in NOD mice vs Balb/c mice). Finally, a positive correlation was found between the radioactivity in the pancreas and the extent of lymphocytic infiltration (p < 0.01 for pancreas radioactivity counted in vitro and p< 0.004 for pancreas radioactivity counted in vivo by gamma camera). This study demonstrates that 123I-labelled interleukin 2 administered iv accumulates specifically in the inflamed pancreas of diabetes-prone NOD mice, suggesting its potential application in human insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

A Signore, Servizio Speciale di Medicina Nucleare, II Clinica Medica, Policlinico Umberto I, 00161 Roma, Italy

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ML Jaffrain-Rea, G Minniti, C Moroni, V Esposito, E Ferretti, A Santoro, T Infusino, G Tamburrano, G Cantore and R Cassone

BACKGROUND: Cardiac abnormalities develop in patients with acromegaly as a consequence of effects of GH/IGF-I on the heart and related cardiovascular risk factors. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the possible contribution of postoperative variations in blood pressure (BP), glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity to the cardiac improvement reported in patients who have been cured of acromegaly. DESIGN: Thirty-one patients with acromegaly were studied before and 6 Months after successful transsphenoidal surgery, defined by normal age-related IGF-I concentrations and glucose-suppressed GH concentrations <1 microg/l. METHODS: Cardiovascular parameters were assessed by Doppler echocardiography and 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Insulin sensitivity indexes were calculated on the basis of fasting and post-load glycaemia and insulinaemia and referred to as HOMA(ISI) and OGTT(ISI), respectively. RESULTS: Successful surgery was confirmed to improve left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and diastolic filling significantly. Mean 24-h systolic BP values decreased (P=0.009) and BP rhythm was restored in 12 of 15 patients with a blunted preoperative profile. Glucose tolerance normalized in patients with preoperative glucose intolerance (n=7) or diabetes mellitus (n=3). HOMA(ISI) and OGTT(ISI) increased (P=0.0001 for each parameter), indicating a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity. The postoperative reduction in LVMI correlated with increased insulin sensitivity (P<0.001 for both indexes), but not with other parameters. Improved diastolic filling correlated with the reduction in LVMI. CONCLUSIONS: Successful surgery in patients with acromegaly induces a significant improvement in haemodynamic and metabolic risk factors. This study suggests a direct link between insulin resistance and acromegalic cardiomyopathy.

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E Ferretti, ML Jaffrain Rea, C Asteria, D Di Stefano, V Esposito, L Ferrante, P Daniele, C Tiberti, M Gallucci, C Bosman, E Alesse, A Gulino, P Beck-Peccoz and G Tamburrano

OBJECTIVE: Pituitary adenomas are usually sporadic, although rare familial cases have been described. Here we report two first degree female cousins with giant pituitary adenoma and overweight. Both presented with secondary amenorrhoea, occasional headache and weight gain. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In both patients clinical, morphological and genetic studies were performed. Both patients underwent surgery and post-operative medical therapy with somatostatin analogues and dopamine agonist, followed by a conventional radiotherapy course. RESULTS: Clinical examination at presentation revealed an acromegaloid habitus only in the second patient. Basal and dynamic hormonal evaluation showed high serum GH and serum IGF-I values, higher in the second than in the first patient, and a mild hyperprolactinaemia only in the first patient. On optical and electron microscopy, both tumours were oncocytic adenomas, immunopositive for GH in the first patient and GH/prolactin in the second. The genetic analysis for germ-line mutations of the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 gene was negative. Two years after radiotherapy a remarkable shrinkage of both tumours was observed, whereas the overweight worsened in both patients, accompanied by high plasma leptin values. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first report of familial pituitary adenomas including one case of a clinically silent GH-secreting adenoma. In addition, it provides further evidence that familial pituitary tumours can occur as a multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 unrelated disease.