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F Bernardi, A Lanzone, RM Cento, RS Spada, I Pezzani, AD Genazzani, S Luisi, M Luisi, F Petraglia and AR Genazzani

OBJECTIVE: Neurosteroids have been suggested to be involved in the regulation of cognitive performances. A major neurosteroid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist is allopregnanolone: the main source of circulating allopregnanolone is the adrenal cortex. Studies indicated that a disturbance of the central regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis occurs in both senile (Alzheimer's disease: AD) and vascular dementia (VD). DESIGN: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the levels of circulating allopregnanolone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and cortisol and their response to corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) test in AD and VD. METHODS: Three groups of 12 subjects were included in the study: AD, VD and age-matched control subjects. CRF test was performed in all subjects and allopregnanolone, DHEA and cortisol levels were measured every 15min for 2h. RESULTS: Mean +/- s.e.m. allopregnanolone and DHEA basal levels were significantly lower in AD and VD than in controls, while cortisol levels were significantly higher than in controls (P<0.01). Allopregnanolone and DHEA levels increase in response to CRF test in all subjects but the area under curve (AUC) in patients was significantly lower than in controls (P<0.01). Cortisol secretion appeared to be very sensitive in response to CRF stimulation: in fact, cortisol response to CRF test in AD and VD subjects was higher (both as AUC and as % max increase) than in controls (P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The present study firstly showed that allopregnanolone levels are reduced both in AD and in VD and that dementia has a preserved stimulated response of allopregnanolone to CRF. Overall, however, the total response of allopregnanolone to CRF remains reduced in respect to controls. Further studies are necessary for a better understanding of the role of neurosteroids in the regulation of cognitive function.

Free access

E Peverelli, F Ermetici, M Filopanti, F M Elli, C L Ronchi, G Mantovani, S Ferrero, S Bosari, P Beck-Peccoz, A Lania and A Spada


Aberrant cAMP signaling is involved in the pathogenesis of somatotropinomas. The aim of the study was to screen acromegalic patients for the presence of variants of phosphodiesterase type 11A (PDE11A) gene, which have been recently identified in adrenocortical and testicular tumors.

Subjects and methods

We sequenced the PDE11A gene-coding region in 78 acromegalic patients and 110 controls. Immunohistochemistry for PDE11A was performed in a subgroup of adenomas and normal pituitary samples.


We found 15 nonsynonymous germline substitutions in 13 acromegalic patients (17%), i.e. 14 missense variants (Y727C in six, R804H in one, R867G in four, and M878V in three) and one truncating mutation (FS41X), with a prevalence only slightly higher than that observed in controls (14%). Immunohistochemistry revealed PDE11A expression higher in somatotropinomas than in normal somatotrophs, without significant difference between tumors with or without PDE11A variants, with the exception of two tumors (one with loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the PDE11A locus and one with FS41X mutation) showing markedly reduced PDE11A staining. No significant differences in hormonal and clinical parameters between patients with or without PDE11A variants were observed, although patients with PDE11A changes showed a tendency to have a more aggressive tumor compared with patients with wild-type sequence (extrasellar extension in 69 vs 45%).


This study first demonstrated the presence of PDE11A variants in a subset of acromegalic patients, which was only slightly more frequent than in controls. The normal expression of the enzyme in the majority of tumor tissues together with the lack of significant clinical phenotype suggests that these variants might only marginally contribute to the development of somatotropinomas.

Free access

M Filopanti, A M Barbieri, G Mantovani, S Corbetta, V Gasco, M Ragonese, C Martini, F Bogazzi, A Colao, D Ferone, A Peri, F Pigliaru, G Angeletti, M Arosio, P Beck-Peccoz, A G Lania and A Spada


Hepatotoxicity is one of the most serious adverse effects in acromegalic patients treated with pegvisomant (PEG-V). Recent studies have found an association between this adverse event and the UGT1A1 allele 28 polymorphism associated with Gilbert's syndrome.


To determine whether UGT1A1*28 and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) polymorphisms influence liver toxicity during PEG-V treatment.

Design and setting

Multicenter observational retrospective study conducted in 13 tertiary care endocrinology units in Italy.


A total of 112 patients with active disease resistant to somatostatin analogs (SSTa) and 108 controls were enrolled.


Clinical and biochemical data were recorded by electronic clinical reporting forms. Blood or DNA samples were sent to the coordinating center for genotyping.


No differences in genotypes between patients and controls were found. During PEG-V therapy liver function tests (LFT), abnormalities and overt hepatotoxicity developed in 17 and 4.5% of patients respectively. Logistic and linear regression analyses showed an association between LFT abnormalities during the follow-up visit and prior events of LFT abnormalities in medical history (odds ratio=1.25; P=0.04) and the number of concomitant medications, other than SSTa (B=3.9; P=0.03). No correlation between LFT alterations and UGT1A1 allele 28 as well as ADH1C and B polymorphisms was found.


UGT1A1 allele 28 and ADH1C and B polymorphisms do not predict increased risk of hepatotoxicity during PEG-V therapy. Conversely, patients with multi-therapies and with previous episodes of liver disease should be carefully managed, due to the observed association between these conditions and LFT abnormalities during PEG-V therapy.

Open access

A Veltroni, E Cosaro, F Spada, N Fazio, A Faggiano, A Colao, S Pusceddu, M C Zatelli, D Campana, A Piovesan, A Pia, E M Grossrubatscher, A Filice, A Bianchi, P Razzore, M Toaiari, S Cingarlini, L Landoni, R Micciolo and M V Davì


Management of malignant insulinomas is challenging due to the need to control both hypoglycaemic syndrome and tumor growth. Literature data is limited to small series.

Aim of the study

To analyze clinico-pathological characteristics, treatments and prognosis of patients with malignant insulinoma.

Materials and methods

Multicenter retrospective study on 31 patients (male: 61.3%) diagnosed between 1988 and 2017.


The mean age at diagnosis was 48 years. The mean NET diameter was 41 ± 31 mm, and 70.8% of NETs were G2. Metastases were widespread in 38.7%, hepatic in 41.9% and only lymph nodal in 19.4%. In 16.1% of the cases, the hypoglycaemic syndrome occurred after 46 ± 35 months from the diagnosis of originally non-functioning NET, whereas in 83.9% of the cases it led to the diagnosis of NET, of which 42.3% with a mean diagnostic delay of 32.7 ± 39.8 months. Surgical treatment was performed in 67.7% of the cases. The 5-year survival rate was 62%. Overall survival was significantly higher in patients with Ki-67 ≤10% (P = 0.03), insulin level <60 µU/mL (P = 0.015) and in patients who underwent surgery (P = 0.006). Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) was performed in 45.1%, with syndrome control in 93% of patients.


Our study includes the largest series of patients with malignant insulinoma reported to date. The hypoglycaemic syndrome may occur after years in initially non-functioning NETs or be misunderstood with delayed diagnosis of NETs. Surgical treatment and Ki67 ≤10% are prognostic factors associated with better survival. PPRT proved to be effective in the control of hypoglycaemia in majority of cases.

Free access

Maria A Tichomirowa, Anne Barlier, Adrian F Daly, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Cristina Ronchi, Maria Yaneva, Jonathan D Urban, Patrick Petrossians, Atanaska Elenkova, Antoine Tabarin, Rachel Desailloud, Dominique Maiter, Thomas Schürmeyer, Renato Cozzi, Marily Theodoropoulou, Caroline Sievers, Ignacio Bernabeu, Luciana A Naves, Olivier Chabre, Carmen Fajardo Montañana, Vaclav Hana, Georges Halaby, Brigitte Delemer, José Ignacio Labarta Aizpún, Emmanuel Sonnet, Ángel Ferrandez Longás, Marie-Thérèse Hagelstein, Philippe Caron, Günter K Stalla, Vincent Bours, Sabina Zacharieva, Anna Spada, Thierry Brue and Albert Beckers


Aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) mutations (AIPmut) cause aggressive pituitary adenomas in young patients, usually in the setting of familial isolated pituitary adenomas. The prevalence of AIPmut among sporadic pituitary adenoma patients appears to be low; studies have not addressed prevalence in the most clinically relevant population. Hence, we undertook an international, multicenter, prospective genetic, and clinical analysis at 21 tertiary referral endocrine departments.


We included 163 sporadic pituitary macroadenoma patients irrespective of clinical phenotype diagnosed at <30 years of age.


Overall, 19/163 (11.7%) patients had germline AIPmut; a further nine patients had sequence changes of uncertain significance or polymorphisms. AIPmut were identified in 8/39 (20.5%) pediatric patients. Ten AIPmut were identified in 11/83 (13.3%) sporadic somatotropinoma patients, in 7/61 (11.5%) prolactinoma patients, and in 1/16 non-functioning pituitary adenoma patients. Large genetic deletions were not seen using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. Familial screening was possible in the relatives of seven patients with AIPmut and carriers were found in six of the seven families. In total, pituitary adenomas were diagnosed in 2/21 AIPmut-screened carriers; both had asymptomatic microadenomas.


Germline AIPmut occur in 11.7% of patients <30 years with sporadic pituitary macroadenomas and in 20.5% of pediatric patients. AIPmut mutation testing in this population should be considered in order to optimize clinical genetic investigation and management.

Free access

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.