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F Bogazzi, L Bartalena, S Brogioni, A Burelli, L Manetti, ML Tanda, M Gasperi and E Martino

OBJECTIVE: Thyroid blood flow is greatly enhanced in untreated Graves' disease, but it is not known whether it is due to thyroid hormone excess or to thyroid hyperstimulation by TSH-receptor antibody. To address this issue in vivo patients with different thyroid disorders were submitted to color flow doppler sonography (CFDS). SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We investigated 24 normal subjects, and 78 patients with untreated hyperthyroidism (49 with Graves' hyperthyroidism, 24 with toxic adenoma, and 5 patients with TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma (TSHoma)), 19 patients with thyrotoxicosis (7 with thyrotoxicosis factitia, and 12 with subacute thyroiditis), 37 euthyroid patients with goitrous Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and 21 untreated hypothyroid patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. RESULTS: Normal subjects had CFDS pattern 0 (absent or minimal intraparenchimal spots) and mean intraparenchimal peak systolic velocity (PSV) of 4.8+/-1.2cm/s. Patients with spontaneous hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease, TSHoma, and toxic adenoma had significantly increased PSV (P<0.0001, P=0.0004, P<0.0001 respectively vs controls) and CFDS pattern. Patients with Graves' disease had CFDS pattern II (mild increase of color flow doppler signal) in 10 (20%) and pattern III (marked increase) in 39 cases (80%). Mean PSV was 15+/-3cm/s. Patients with toxic adenoma had CFDS pattern I (presence of parenchymal blood flow with patchy uneven distribution) in 2 (8%), pattern II in 16 (70%) and pattern III in 5 (22%). Mean PSV was 11+/-2.4cm/s. Patients with TSHoma showed CFDS pattern I in one case (20%) and pattern II in 4 (80%). Mean PSV was 14.8+/-4.2cm/s. Patients with thyrotoxicosis had normal PSV (4.2+/-1. 1cm/s in subacute thyroiditis, 4+/-0.8cm/s in thyrotoxicosis factitia, P=not significant vs controls) and CFDS pattern 0. Untreated euthyroid patients with goitrous Hashimoto's thyroiditis had CFDS pattern 0, and mean PSV (4.3+/-0.9cm/s; P=not significant vs controls). Untreated hypothyroid patients with goitrous Hashimoto's thyroiditis had CFDS pattern I in 14 cases (67%), pattern II in 4 (19%) and pattern 0 in 3 (14%) and mean PSV (5.6+/-1. 4cm/s) was higher than that of controls (P=0.026). CONCLUSIONS: An increase in both intrathyroidal vascularity and blood velocity was observed in patients with spontaneous hyperthyroidism but not in thyrotoxicosis due to either ingestion of thyroid hormones or to a thyroidal destructive process. The slightly increased vascularity and blood velocity observed in patients with hypothyroid Hashimoto's thyroiditis suggests that thyroid stimulation by either TSH-receptor antibody or TSH is responsible for the increased thyroid blood flow.

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C Urbani, C Sardella, A Calevro, G Rossi, I Scattina, M Lombardi, I Lupi, L Manetti, E Martino and F Bogazzi

Objective

Abnormalities of glucose metabolism are common findings of acromegaly. However, robust evidence on whether therapy with somatostatin analogs (SSAs) or pegvisomant (PEG) differently affects glucose metabolism is lacking. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of therapy with SSAs, PEG, or their combination on glucose metabolism in a large series of acromegalic patients.

Design

This was a historical–prospective study. Among 50 consecutive acromegalic patients under SSA therapy, acromegaly in 19 patients was controlled. PEG used in combination with SSA therapy allowed the control of acromegaly in the remaining 31 patients and was then continued as monotherapy in 18 patients.

Methods

The following parameters were evaluated at the diagnosis of acromegaly and during different treatments: fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and insulin concentrations, insulin sensitivity (QUICK-I), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR), and plasma glucose and insulin concentrations during the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Comparison was made using analysis for paired data.

Results

Insulin resistance improved when acromegaly was controlled with therapy with SSAs, PEG, or SSA+PEG. However, FPG concentrations were higher during SSA therapy (alone or combined with PEG) than at the diagnosis of acromegaly, even when corrected for disease activity, whereas they were reduced during PEG therapy. Mean glucose concentrations during the OGTT were higher in patients receiving SSA therapy than in those receiving PEG therapy. In addition, the prevalence of diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance was higher during SSA therapy than at diagnosis or during PEG therapy and was not influenced by disease control.

Conclusions

Medical therapies for acromegaly reduce insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity; on the contrary, glucose indexes may be differently affected by SSA or PEG therapy.