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Gesine Meyer, Kathrin Neumann, Klaus Badenhoop, and Roland Linder


Our objective was to investigate the epidemiology of autoimmune Addison's disease (AD) in Germany.


Routine data were analyzed from the Statutory Health Insurance (SHI) database of the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) for an observation period from 01/01/2008 to 31/12/2012. The TK is one of the largest German health care insurance providers covering more than 10% of the German population.

Subjects and methods

Between 2008 and 2012, a total of 2477 diagnoses of primary adrenal failure were recorded in the SHI database. After exclusion of secondary, iatrogenic or other non-idiopathic forms and after adjustment for incomplete data sets, 1364 diagnoses of autoimmune-mediated AD remained.


The prevalence of AD in our cohort showed a steady increase from 82 per million in 2008 to 87 per million in 2012. On average, the prevalence rose about 1.8% per year, and due to a pronounced increase (2.7%) in females. The prevalence was lower in men (63–68 per million) than in women (96–108 per million). Autoimmune comorbidities were found in 46.5% of AD patients. Adrenal crises were documented with a frequency of 14–17/100 patient years.


These data provide a first epidemiological profile of this rare and perilous endocrine disease in Germany. Although the prevalence of AD appears lower than in the Scandinavian countries, the increasing figures in females over the last 5 years warrant further investigations. Furthermore, adrenal crises pose a considerable burden. Hereby, we can show that health insurance data provide a valuable tool for epidemiological studies in the absence of national registries.

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Gesine Meyer, Moritz Mayer, Antonia Mondorf, Anna Katharina Flügel, Eva Herrmann, and Joerg Bojunga


Hormone treatment is an important part of gender reassignment therapy in gender dysphoria. Previous data about efficacy and safety are commonly based on small cohorts or they comprise former cohorts under meanwhile obsolete therapy regimes. Our objective was to investigate these topics in a large cohort of individuals under guideline-based treatment.


Cohort study of medical files of n = 155 male-to-female (transwomen) and n = 233 female-to-male transgender persons (transmen) of an Endocrine outpatient clinic between 2009 and 2017.


Median time to reach amenorrhoea in transmen under testosterone monotherapy was 3 months, regardless of whether testosterone undecanoat or gel was used. Transmen with higher levels of hemoglobin 3–4 months after onset of GAHT had a greater chance to reach amenorrhea early, whereas testosterone levels showed no significant correlation (hemoglobin: HR: 1.639; 95% CI: 1.036–2.591, P = 0.035; testosterone: HR: 0.999; 95% CI: 0.998–1.001, P = 0.490). Estradiol levels (ρ −0.117; P = 0.316) had no significant influence on breast development in transwomen. Testosterone levels (ρ −0.398; P < 0.001) and FAI (ρ 0.346; P = 0.004) were significantly negatively correlated with reached Tanner stage. Liver values and blood lipids showed an alignment to reference range of the required sex in both groups. Relevant elevations of liver values were rare (2.44% in transmen, 4.23% in transwomen) and transient in most cases. Most relevant side effects were acne (44.8%), respectively erythrocytosis (up to 5.6%) in transmen and venous thrombembolism (1.9%) in transwomen.


Gender-affirming hormone therapy in accordance with current clinical practice guidelines is efficient and safe.

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Stephanie Burger-Stritt, Annemarie Eff, Marcus Quinkler, Tina Kienitz, Bettina Stamm, Holger S Willenberg, Gesine Meyer, Johannes Klein, Nicole Reisch, Michael Droste, and Stefanie Hahner


Patients with adrenal insufficiency (AI) suffer from impaired quality of life and are at risk of adrenal crisis (AC) despite established replacement therapy. Patient education is regarded an important measure for prevention of AC and improvement of AI management. A standardized education programme was elaborated for patients with chronic AI in Germany.


Longitudinal, prospective, questionnaire-based, multi-centre study.


During 2-h sessions, patients (n = 526) were provided with basic knowledge on AI, equipped with emergency cards and sets and trained in self-injection of hydrocortisone. To evaluate the education programme, patients from eight certified centres completed questionnaires before, immediately after and 6–9 months after training.


399 completed data sets were available for analysis. Questionnaire score-values were significantly higher after patient education, indicating successful knowledge transfer (baseline: 17 ± 7.1 of a maximum score of 29; after training: 23 ± 4.2; P < 0.001), and remained stable over 6–9 months. Female sex, younger age and primary cause of AI were associated with higher baseline scores; after education, age, cause of AI and previous adrenal crisis had a significant main effect on scores. 91% of patients would dare performing self-injection after training, compared to 68% at baseline. An improvement of subjective well-being through participation in the education programme was indicated by 95% of the patients 6–9 months after participation.


Patient group education in chronic AI represents a helpful tool for the guidance of patients, their self-assurance and their knowledge on prevention of adrenal crises. Repeated training and adaptation to specific needs, for example, of older patients is needed.

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Marissa Penna-Martinez, Gesine Meyer, Anette Bøe Wolff, Beate Skinningsrud, Corrado Betterle, Alberto Falorni, William Er Ollier, Dag Undlien, Eystein Sverre Husebye, Simon H S Pearce, Anna L Mitchell, and Klaus Badenhoop


While vitamin D regulates immune cells, little is known about it in autoimmune Addison´s disease (AAD). We investigated the vitamin D status in AAD patients from five European populations to assess its deficiency. In addition, we studied two case-control cohorts for vitamin D metabolism and pathway genes.


Cross-sectional study


A total of 1028 patients with AAD from Germany (n=239), Italy (n=328), Norway (n=378), UK (n=44) and Poland (n=39) and 679 controls from Germany (n=301) and Norway (n=378) were studied for 25(OH)D3 (primary objective). Secondary objectives (1,25(OH)2D3 and pathway genes) were examined in case-controls from Germany and Norway correlating 25(OH)D3 and single nucleotide polymorphisms within genes encoding the vitamin D receptor (VDR), 1-α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1), 25-hydroxylase (CYP2R1); 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1) and vitamin D binding protein (GC/DBP).


Vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D3 10-20 ng/ml) was highly prevalent in AAD patients (34-57%), 5-22% were severely deficient (<10 ng/ml), 28-38% insufficient (20-30 ng/ml) and only 7-14% sufficient (>30 ng/ml). Lower 25(OH)D3 and 1,25(OH)2D3 levels were observed both in Norwegian and German AAD (p = 0.03/0.003 and p = 1 x 10-5/< 1 x 10-7, respectively) the former was associated with CYP2R1 (rs1553006) genotype G. Whereas controls achieved sufficient median 25(OH)D3 in summers (21.4 to 21.9 ng/ml), AAD patients remained largely deficient (18.0 to 21.2 ng/ml) and synthesize less 1,25(OH)2D3.


Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are highly prevalent in AAD patients. The vitamin D status of AAD may be influenced by genetic factors and suggests individual vitamin D requirements throughout the year.