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F Cetani, E Pardi, L Cianferotti, E Vignali, A Picone, P Miccoli, A Pinchera and C Marcocci

OBJECTIVE: To report a new mutation of the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) gene in an Italian kindred. DESIGN: The study included the female proband, aged 50 years, affected by primary hyperparathyroidism, insulinoma and prolactinoma, and ten relatives. Blood samples were obtained for biochemical and genetic analyses. Clinical screening tests included serum glucose, ionized calcium, intact parathyroid hormone, GH, insulin and prolactin. The coding sequence, including nine coding exons and 16 splice sites, was amplified by PCR and directly sequenced. RESULTS: Two additional cases of primary hyperparathyroidism were identified among the paternal family members. The sequence analysis showed a heterozygous T to C transition at codon 444 in exon 9, resulting in a leucine to proline substitution (L444P) in the patient and in the two paternal family members with primary hyperparathyroidism. The L444P amino acid change was absent in 50 normal subjects. The mutation determined the loss of a BlnI restriction site of the wild-type sequence and the creation of a new restriction EcoRII site. The patient, but not her paternal affected relatives, also had a common heterozygous polymorphism (D418D) in exon 9. CONCLUSIONS: A new MEN1 mutation (L444P) in exon 9 has been identified; this substitution caused the loss of a BlnI restriction site and the creation of a new EcoRII site.

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F Cetani, E Pardi, S Borsari, E Vignali, G Dipollina, V Braga, S Adami, A Pinchera and C Marcocci

OBJECTIVE: Calcium-sensing receptor (CaR) is a candidate gene for osteoporosis susceptibility. Several CaR polymorphisms have been identified and an association between the A986S genotype and serum calcium levels has been found in Canadian postmenopausal women. We investigated whether the presence of 986S allele was associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporotic fractures. DESIGN: The study group consisted of 164 Italian postmenopausal women without fragility fracture (Fx(-)) and 55 women with fracture (Fx(+)). METHODS: A fragment of exon 7 of CaR gene containing three polymorphisms (A986S, R990G and Q1011E) was amplified by PCR and sequenced. Anthropometric characteristics and BMD were evaluated. RESULTS: The A986S polymorphism was the most commonly observed (27.9%), whereas the other two CaR polymorphisms, R990G and Q1011E, occurred in a minority of cases (8.8 and 5.5% respectively). There was no significant difference in the frequency distribution of any CaR allele between Fx(-) and Fx(+) patients. Body mass index was found to predict BMD at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. The A986S polymorphism and Years since menopause were not independent predictors of BMD at any site. As far as fracture occurrence, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fractures between women carrying or not carrying the 986S allele. CONCLUSIONS: Our data do not support a role of A986S CaR polymorphism in BMD and in the prevalence of fragility fractures in Italian postmenopausal women.

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E Vignali, A Picone, G Materazzi, S Steffe, P Berti, L Cianferotti, F Cetani, E Ambrogini, P Miccoli, A Pinchera and C Marcocci

OBJECTIVE: The traditional surgical approach for patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) consists of the identification of at least four glands and in the removal of all hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue. DESIGN: To evaluate whether intraoperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) monitoring will allow a more limited surgical procedure by confirming complete removal of all hyperfunctioning tissue. METHODS: Plasma samples were obtained from 206 consecutive patients with sporadic PHPT before skin incision, during manipulation of a suspected adenoma, and 5 min (T-5) and 10 min after removal of abnormal parathyroid tissue. PTH was measured by a quick immunochemiluminescent assay (QPTH). The operative success was defined by a decrease of PTH greater than 50% of the highest pre-excision value. RESULTS: A >50% decrease of PTH occurred in 203 patients and was evident at T-5 in the majority of cases. All but three had normal serum calcium the day after surgery and afterwards. PTH concentration did not show a >50% decrease in the remaining three cases after completion of surgery. One patients had negative neck exploration and remained hypercalcemic; the other two had normal serum calcium at follow-up. Thus, the intraoperative QPTH correctly predicted the outcome of surgery in 201 patients (97.5%) (200 true positive and 1 true negative), and provided three false positive and two false negative results. CONCLUSIONS: The intraoperative QPTH measurement represents a useful tool to assist the surgeon during parathyroidectomy. It indicates whether all hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue has been removed, limiting the procedure to a unilateral neck exploration in most cases.

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C Marcocci, S Mazzeo, G Bruno-Bossio, A Picone, E Vignali, M Ciampi, P Viacava, AG Naccarato, P Miccoli, P Iacconi and A Pinchera

OBJECTIVE: To determine the usefulness of parathyroid hormone (PTH) measurement in needle aspirates of a suspicious neck mass to confirm its parathyroid nature in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. METHODS: Thirty-three patients with surgically proved primary hyperparathyroidism were submitted to neck ultrasound (US), parathyroid scintigraphy, and assay of PTH in the aspirate (PTHa) of the suspicious cervical mass. RESULTS: Based on the results of neck US and parathyroid scintigraphy, patients were divided into two groups. Group 1: 16 patients (seven with nodular goiter) with concordant positive US and scintigraphic results. In all but one patient, PTHa was detectable and often markedly elevated (> 1000 pg in 12 patients, between 292 pg and 803 pg in three patients and 53 pg in one patient). The patient with undetectable PTHa had a small lower left parathyroid adenoma (8x8x10 mm). Group 2: 17 patients (12 with nodular goiter) with discordant US and scintigraphic results. PTHa established the parathyroid nature of the mass in 13 cases (> 1000 pg in 8 patients, between 501 pg and 953 pg in three patients and 90 and 79 pg in two patients): 11 of these had a suspected lesion by US examination but the scintigraphy results were negative; two had a mass that gave positive scintigraphy results but was of uncertain origin according to US: in both cases an intrathyroidal parathyroid adenoma was found. PTHa was undetectable in four cases (three with nodular goiter): all of these had equivocal US results, and three had positive scans and one a negative scan. CONCLUSIONS: Assay of PTHa is a simple method and should be useful for confirming the parathyroid nature of a cervical mass in patients with discordant or non-diagnostic US and scintigraphic results.