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H Kaji and K Chihara

OBJECTIVES: The direct causes of death in Japanese patients with hypopituitarism remain unclear. In this study, the direct causes of death were investigated and compared between Japanese patients with hypopituitarism from a nation-wide autopsy database and an age- and gender-matched control population from national reports. SUBJECTS: Three hundred and ninety-one subjects with hypopituitarism who had died were selected from a nation-wide autopsy database (1984-1993). The ratios of each cause of death among the age- and gender-matched control population were derived from national reports. RESULTS: In subjects with hypopituitarism, an increased relative frequency of death from cerebrovascular diseases (male; 2.02 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.45-2.82), female; 1.73 (95% CI 1.18-2.52)) was found. In particular, the relative frequency of death from cerebral hemorrhage was 4.60 (95% CI 2.95-7.17) in male and 4.80 (95% CI 2.90-7.94) in female subjects with hypopituitarism. Unexpectedly, a decreased relative frequency of death from all heart diseases (male; 0.439 (95% CI 0.277-0.696), female; 0.267 (95% CI 0.149-0.478)) was found in subjects with hypopituitarism, although there was no difference between subjects with hypopituitarism and controls in the frequency of death from ischemic heart disease. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide useful information for the long-term care of Japanese patients with hypopituitarism.

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M Kanatani, T Sugimoto, H Kaji, K Ikeda and K Chihara

BACKGROUND: Although there have been some case reports suggesting that bone in patients with pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) might respond to parathyroid hormone (PTH), no information is available as to whether serum PTH concentration is related to bone metabolic markers or to bone mineral density (BMD) in PHP. OBJECTIVE: To address these relationships, by comparing intact serum PTH, bone metabolic markers and BMD in patients with PHP with those in patients with idiopathic hypoparathyroidism (IHP) and postoperative hypoparathyroidism (OHP). METHODS: Intact serum PTH, bone metabolic markers (osteocalcin, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase, pyridinoline, deoxypyridinoline) and BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or single-photon absorptiometry were measured in patients with PHP Ia (n=2) and PHP Ib (n=8). The results were compared with those in patients with IHP (n=5) and OHP (n=14). RESULTS: All bone metabolic markers measured were present in significantly greater amounts in patients with PHP Ib than in those with IHP+OHP. The Z score (standard deviation of average BMD at each age) of the BMD of femoral neck was significantly lower in patients with PHP Ib than in those with IHP+OHP. The Z scores of BMD of lumbar spine and radius were also lower in patients with PHP Ib than in those with IHP+OHP, but the difference was not significant. Moreover, the intact serum PTH concentrations were significantly and positively related to bone metabolic marker levels in all patients, and the intact serum PTH concentrations were significantly and negatively related to BMD of lumbar spine in PHP patients. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that PTH stimulates bone turnover in PHP Ib patients, resulting in a relatively lower BMD in PHP Ib patients than in IHP+OHP patients. The present study indicates that bones of most cases of PHP could respond to PTH.

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M Kanzawa, T Sugimoto, M Kanatani and K Chihara

OBJECTIVE: Recently, osteoprotegerin (OPG)/osteoclastogenesis inhibitory factor (OCIF) has been shown to inhibit osteoclast differentiation. On the other hand, we have reported that parathyroid hormone (PTH) stimulated osteoclast formation, presumably through a PTH-responsive cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) pathway, in mouse bone cells. DESIGN AND METHODS: The present study was performed to examine how OPG/OCIF expression is regulated by PTH and to further investigate the possible involvement of OPG/OCIF in the stimulation of osteoclast formation by PTH in mouse bone cells. OPG/OCIF mRNA expression was analyzed by Northern hybridization after 24h treatments of mouse whole bone cells and mouse stromal cell line, ST2 cells with PTH or various second messenger analogs. RESULTS: Human (h) PTH(1-34) (10(-10) and 10(-8)mol/l) but not 10(-8)mol/l hPTH(3-34) down-regulated OPG/OCIF mRNA expression in mouse bone cells. Dibutyryl cAMP, but not phorbol ester, an activator of protein kinase C, or A23187, a calcium ionophore, down-regulated it. The same was also observed in ST2 cells, suggesting that stromal cells are responsible for the inhibitory effect of PTH and cAMP analogs on OPG/OCIF mRNA expression in mouse bone cells. CONCLUSIONS: The present study indicates that PTH down-regulates OPG/OCIF mRNA expression through the PKA pathway in stromal cells, which would result in the stimulation of osteoclast formation.

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M Murata, H Kaji, I Mizuno, T Sakurai, K Iida, Y Okimura and K Chihara

OBJECTIVES: Increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) has been reported among Caucasian adult GH-deficient (AGHD) patients, but not Japanese. Also, it is known that the clinical and biochemical characteristics of AGHD patients are somewhat different based on the onset of the disease in either childhood or adult life. Nevertheless, there has been no study comparing the magnitude of the deviation of their IMT from normal subjects between child-onset (CO) and adult-onset (AO) patients in terms of Z score. The aim of this study, therefore, was first to examine whether Japanese AGHD patients have a risk of early development of atherosclerosis similar to Caucasian patients and secondly to assess the difference in the onset and in progression of atherosclerosis. DESIGN AND SUBJECTS: Thirty-four patients (17 CO-AGHD, age 29+/-7 Years, body mass index (BMI) 24+/-3.8 kg/m(2) and 17 AO-AGHD, age 48+/-12 Years, BMI 23+/-3.6 kg/m(2)) and 34 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (17 CO controls and 17 AO controls) were enrolled in the present study. Blood samples were taken for measurements of lipids, lipoproteins and IGF-I. Subsequently, patients underwent IMT assessment. RESULTS: CO patients were significantly younger than AO patients. The duration of GH-deficiency in CO patients was significantly longer than that in AO patients. Serum triglyceride (TG) was significantly higher in CO patients than in CO controls (P<0.05). Serum total cholesterol and TG were significantly higher in AO patients than in AO controls (P<0.01). The IMT was significantly greater in CO and AO patients (0.82+/-0.08 and 0.79+/-0.03 mm) than in CO and AO controls (0.59+/-0.02 and 0.68+/-0.03 mm, P<0.01 and P<0.01 respectively). There was no significant difference in raw values of IMT between CO and AO patients. However, the Z score of IMT calculated using normal Japanese IMT values was significantly higher in CO than in AO patients (2.07+/-0.68 vs 0.35+/-0.48, P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that GH deficiency appears to increase an atherosclerotic risk in Japanese AGHD patients, as with Caucasians, and to cause more extensive IMT thickening in CO-AGHD than AO-AGHD patients.

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M Kishimoto, Y Okimura, M Fumoto, G Iguchi, K Iida, H Kaji and K Chihara

OBJECTIVE: Genetic abnormalities of the pituitary specific transcription factor, Pit-1, have been reported in several patients with GH, prolactin (PRL) and TSH deficiencies. The most common is a mutation altering an arginine to a tryptophan in codon 271 (R271W) in one allele of the Pit-1 gene. According to the previous in vitro expression study, R271W acted as a dominant negative inhibitor of the wild type to activate the GH promoter. However, healthy carriers with this mutation, who should be affected by the dominant negative effect of R271W, have also been reported. The aim of this study was to clarify in more detail the function of this mutant form of Pit-1. METHODS: Transcriptional activity of R271W for the expression of Pit-1-associated genes was investigated in COS7 cells with the aid of transient transfection assays. The 1.8 kb rat GH, 0.6 kb rat PRL or 1.9 kb rat PRL 5'-flanking regions were inserted upstream of the luciferase reporter gene and were used for functional analysis of R271W. Another reporter gene containing seven Pit-1 responsive elements was also used. The same experiments were also performed using JEG3 and CHO cells. RESULTS: We could not confirm the dominant negative effect of R271W on wild type Pit-1. Furthermore, our expression study revealed that R271W could activate the promoters of GH and PRL genes to levels similar to the wild type. CONCLUSION: Taken together with the evidence that phenotypically normal cases have been reported with this mutation, our results deny the relationship between R271W and combined pituitary hormone deficiency.

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K. Maeda, Y. Kato, N. Yamaguchi, K. Chihara, S. Ohgo, Y. Iwasaki, Y. Yoshimoto, K. Moridera, S. Kuromaru and H. Imura

ABSTRACT

The effect of thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH) or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) on plasma levels of growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), thyrotrophin (TSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH), were studied in patients with anorexia nervosa. The basal plasma GH levels were elevated in 6 of 11 patients studied. Intravenous injection of synthetic TRH (500 μg) significantly raised the plasma GH levels in 9 of 11 patients. The peak values of plasma GH after TRH ranged from 6.0 to 31.5 ng/ml. Plasma GH concentrations also increased following the administration of synthetic LH-RH (100μg) in 1 of 7 patients. The intravenous injection of saline solution caused no significant change in plasma GH in these patients. The plasma LH responses to LH-RH were significantly blunted in all patients, whereas the plasma PRL and TSH responses to TRH were almost normal in the patients examined. These results suggest that the hypothalamo-pituitary function regulating GH and LH secretion is altered in patients with anorexia nervosa.

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T Sugimoto, D Nakaoka, M Nasu, M Kanzawa, T Sugishita and K Chihara

The present study was performed to investigate the age-dependent changes in body composition and the possible role of growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) in these changes in postmenopausal Japanese women. A total of 161 Japanese women aged 45-88 years (mean 62) were enrolled in the cross-sectional study. Body composition (bone mineral content (BMC), lean body mass (LBM) and fat) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and the percentage of BMC, LBM and fat was calculated by dividing each absolute value of body composition by total body mass. Urinary GH concentration divided by creatinine in nocturnal urine samples collected just after waking was used as an index of endogenous GH secretion. Serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were measured by RIA. Urinary GH levels as well as serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 declined with age. BMC, %BMC and LBM also declined with age, while fat mass and %fat did not obviously change with age. Urinary GH levels as well as serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 correlated positively with BMC, even if age was taken into account. On the other hand, urinary GH correlated negatively with fat and %fat. In contrast, serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 correlated positively with fat and %fat. LBM did not correlate with either urinary GH or serum IGFBP-3 levels but exhibited a weakly positive correlation with serum IGF-I level. The present study suggests that the GH-IGF-I-IGFBP-3 axis positively regulates bone mass, and that GH and IGF-I-IGFBP-3 inversely regulate fat mass, i.e. GH negatively and IGF-I-IGFBP-3 positively regulates it.

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S Yano, T Sugimoto, T Tsukamoto, K Chihara, A Kobayashi, S Kitazawa, S Maeda and R Kitazawa

OBJECTIVE: A significant decrease in vitamin D receptor (VDR) and calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) protein expression has been demonstrated recently in parathyroid (PT) adenomas. In this study, we investigated the relationships between the proliferative activity of parathyroid glands (PTGs) and the expression of VDR as well as CaSR, and compared it with the clinical severity in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (1 degrees HPT). DESIGN: Seven patients with 1 degrees HPT were included in this study. Four patients with thyroid carcinoma served as controls. METHODS: Immunohistochemical staining was performed on serial sections of PTGs with specific antibodies against CaSR, VDR, and Ki67. Areas examined in each section were selected at random in relation to the gland size. The number of Ki67-positive cells was expressed as a labeling index (LI; positive cells per 1000 PT cells). The expression of CaSR and VDR was semi-quantitatively analyzed based on the intensity of staining. After averages of the scores from all areas were calculated, CaSR and VDR scores, and Ki67 LI were assigned to each gland for use in statistical analyses. RESULTS: In PT adenomas, scores of VDR and CaSR were markedly lower than in normal PTGs (P<0.01), while the proportion of Ki67-positive cells in PT adenomas was significantly higher than in normal PTGs (P<0.01). Single regression analyses revealed that Ki67 LI was positively correlated with serum levels of intact parathyroid hormone and Ca, and PTG weight (R=0.70, P<0.05, R=0.78, P<0.01 and R=0.84, P<0.05 respectively). Ki67 LI was negatively correlated with CaSR and VDR scores (R=-0.78, P<0.01 and R=-0.72, P<0.05 respectively). Moreover, there was a strong positive relationship between CaSR and VDR expression (R=0.95, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Marked decreases in VDR and CaSR expression could, at least in part, be responsible for the high proliferation of PT cells and the pathological progression of 1 degree HPT.

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K Chihara, E Koledova, A Shimatsu, Y Kato, H Kohno, T Tanaka, A Teramoto, PC Bates and AF Attanasio

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of factors intrinsic to the Japanese population on consequences of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and effects of GH treatment in adult Japanese hypopituitary patients with GHD. STUDY DESIGN: A 24-week, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study in 64 patients in Japan, with GHD onset during adulthood (AO; n=27) or childhood (CO; n=37). Body composition measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was evaluated centrally. Serum IGF-I, IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) and lipid levels were determined centrally. RESULTS: In contrast to Caucasian patients, there were no significant differences before treatment between AO and CO patients for body mass index (BMI), lean body mass (LBM) and fat mass (FM). Baseline BMI was >/=25 kg/m(2) for 32.8% of patients. For all patients combined, a significant increase in LBM and decrease in FM (P<0.001 for each) was seen with GH treatment. Serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were significantly lower at baseline in CO compared with AO patients, similar to Caucasian patients, and were increased in both onsets following GH treatment. Serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol concentrations did not differ between AO and CO patients at baseline and were elevated compared with normal ranges. GH-induced decreases were significant compared with placebo for both total (P=0.036) and LDL-cholesterol (P=0.040). Glycosylated haemoglobin was increased with GH compared with placebo treatment (P=0.016) but remained within the upper limit of normal for all patients at endpoint. CONCLUSIONS: Adult Japanese hypopituitary patients with GHD demonstrated obesity relative to healthy Japanese subjects but the clinical presentation differed from that of Caucasian patients. GH treatment improved body composition and serum cholesterol profiles of adult Japanese hypopituitary patients with GHD.

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T Sugimoto, H Kaji, D Nakaoka, M Yamauchi, S Yano, T Sugishita, DJ Baylink, S Mohan and K Chihara

BACKGROUND: There has been increasing evidence that the growth hormone (GH)-IGF-I axis plays an important part in the maintenance of bone mass. However, controversy still exists as to the effect of GH treatment on bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly patients with osteoporosis. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of low-dose GH treatment on markers of body composition and bone turnover, serum concentrations of IGF-I and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs), and BMD at the radius and lumbar spine in eight elderly Japanese women with osteoporosis. METHODS: Participants were treated with GH as a single daily subcutaneous injection (0.125 IU/kg per week; 0.00595 mg/kg per day) for 48 weeks. RESULTS: Markers of bone formation and bone resorption were both increased up to 24 weeks of GH treatment. The bone formation markers remained increased during GH treatment, whereas the bone resorption markers returned to baseline values after 24 weeks of GH treatment. GH treatment caused a rapid (within 2 weeks) and sustained increase in serum IGF-I concentration. As for IGFBPs, serum concentrations of IGFBPs-2, -3 and -4 did not change significantly during GH treatment. In contrast, GH treatment caused a gradual increase in serum IGFBP-5 concentration, with a significant increase seen 48 weeks after the start of GH treatment. Radial BMD seemed to be increased during the late period of GH treatment, although the change was not significant. Lumbar BMD did not change during GH treatment. GH treatment caused a significant increase in hand grip strength. None of the GH-treated participants had new fractures and side effects such as edema and joint pain. Radial BMD was significantly increased after discontinuation of GH treatment for another 48 weeks and a similar tendency was observed at the lumbar spine (7.1+/-2.3% above pretreatment values for the radius and 3.6+/-2.0% for the lumbar spine). CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose GH treatment attenuated the decrease in muscle strength and bone mass in elderly women without side effects, although changes in nutrition and exercise might affect BMD. The present findings provide useful information regarding the use of low-dose GH treatment in elderly women with osteoporosis.