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  • Author: Giorgio Valenti x
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Sandra Valenti, Massimo Giusti, Dorothy McGuinness, Roberta Guido, Pier Giorgio Mori, Giulio Giordano and Kristine Diane Dahl

Valenti S, Giusti M, McGuinness D, Guido R, Mori PG, Giordano G, Dahl KD. Delayed puberty in males with β-thalassemia major: pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone administration induces changes in gonadotropin isoform profiles and an increase in sex steroids. Eur J Endocrinol 1995;133:48–56. ISSN 0804–4643

Patients with β-thalassemia major often have pubertal delay, the etiology of which has not been fully elucidated. We investigated the pituitary–gonadal response to short-term subcutaneous pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) administration (150 ng/kg body weight every 120 min for 7 days) in five young males (aged 13.6–19.0 years) affected by β-thalassemia major and presenting signs of delayed puberty. Immunoreactive and bioactive gonadotropin levels were determined and their isoform profiles were examined, before and after GnRH treatment, in a pool of samples collected every 15 min for 240 min. Testosterone, androstenedione, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, dehydroepian-drosterone and 17 β-estradiol were measured as markers of gonadal function on days 0, 1, 3, 5 and 7 of treatment. Five patients (aged 16.9–26.8 years) with confirmed diagnosis of idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism who were starting pulsatile GnRH therapy were also studied in the same protocol. Increased sex steroid levels were observed in both groups as a result of treatment. On day 7, the thalassemic patients had increased bioactive luteinizing hormone (LH) and follide-stimulating hormone (FSH), although immunoreactive LH and FSH were comparable to day 0. Moreover, fewer acidic and more basic immunoreactive and bioactive isoforms were noted in LH profiles on day 7. Similar results were observed in hypogonadal patients, who also had increased immunoreactive LH and FSH values. We suggest that the early stage of delayed puberty in thalassemia might be characterized by a neuroendocrine dysfunction resulting in an impaired hypothalamic GnRH release, which is inadequate for a proper pituitary stimulation. Pulsatile GnRH treatment seems to re-establish partially the correct pituitary–gonadal function.

Sandra Valenti, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 6 Viale Benedetto XV, 16132 Genoa, Italy

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Gian Paolo Ceda, Graziano Ceresini, Licia Denti, Dario Magnani, Lorenzo Marchini, Giorgio Valenti and Andrew R. Hoffman


The basal and GH-releasing hormone-stimulated secretion of GH declines in the elderly. We tested the ability of cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine, a drug used in the treatment of stroke and Parkinson's disease, to alter GH secretion in 11 healthy elderly volunteers, aged 69-84. Each subject received an iv infusion of 2 g of cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine or normal saline. GHRH and TRH were also administered during cytidine 5'diphosphocholine infusions. The infusion of cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine induced a 4-fold (p<0.05) increase in serum GH levels over basal values. A small increase in GH was seen after GHRH administration. However, the addition of GHRH to the cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine infusion resulted in a GH response which was significantly greater than that seen after GHRH alone; the integrated concentration of GH was more than 2-fold greater in the cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine treated group (706.85± 185.1 vs 248.9±61.4 μg · l−1 · (120 min)−1; p=0.01). The PRL and TSH responses to TRH were not significantly affected by cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine infusion, indicating that dopaminergic mechanisms are not involved. These studies demonstrate that cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine can enhance basal and GHRH-stimulated GH release in the elderly, but the mechanism of action of the drug remains unclear.

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Gian Paolo Ceda, Licia Denti, Graziano Ceresini, Gianni Rastelli, Claudio Dotti, Simona Cavalieri, Giorgio Valenti and Andrew R. Hoffman

Abstract. Calcitonin has been shown to modulate pituitary hormone secretion in a variety of ways. In this study we examined the effects of a salmon calcitonin infusion on GHRH-induced GH secretion in 5 normal men. In addition, in vitro experiments were performed using primary cultures of rat anterior pituitary cells in order to examine whether there is a direct pituitary effect of CT. Infusion of CT significantly blunted the GH response to GHRH in all subjects without affecting basal GH secretion or plasma calcium levels. Infusion of CT was accompanied by significant increases in ACTH, β-endorphin, cortisol and free fatty acid levels, and by a significant decrease in serum insulin levels. The addition of CT to primary cultures of rat pituitary cells did not alter basal or stimulated secretion of GH or ACTH. These results indicate that: 1) CT blunts the GH response to GHRH; 2) CT infusion results in the stimulation of the hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal axis, and 3) this effect is probably exerted at the hypothalamic level, since no direct activity of CT was documented in vitro on either GH or ACTH secretion.