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S Baglioni, G Corona, M Maggi, M Serio and A Peri

OBJECTIVE: Most mutations of the arginine vasopressin-neurophysin II (AVP-NPII) gene cause autosomal dominant familial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus (adFNDI). Such mutations are predicted to alter the three-dimensional structure of the prohormone, which accumulates in the cell body, ultimately leading to neuronal degeneration and hormonal deficit. In this study we describe the case of a 26-year-old female reporting a long-lasting history of polyuria/polydipsia. The father of the patient was affected by diabetes insipidus and was under desmopressin treatment until the time of his death. Nevertheless, the patient had never been subjected to endocrine evaluation. DESIGN AND METHODS: Clinical and genetic studies were performed. An 8-h fluid deprivation test plus desmopressin challenge and a 5% saline solution test were performed, in order to confirm the diagnosis. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes and subjected to direct sequencing of the entire coding region of the AVP-NPII gene. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Clinical assessment of the patient confirmed the diagnosis of neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus. Desmopressin treatment was started, which effectively reversed the polyuria/ polydipsia syndrome. Genetic analysis revealed a novel mutation (1665T>A) in exon 2 of the AVP-NPII gene, disrupting one of the disulfide bonds present in the NPII moiety which play a fundamental role in determining the proper folding of the molecule. In summary, in the present study we have described a novel mutation of the AVP-NPII gene, which is consistent with the malfolding/toxicity hypothesis underlying the pathogenesis of adFNDI.

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M Maggi, S Filippi, F Ledda, A Magini and G Forti

Research on penile smooth muscle physiology has increased the number of drugs available for treating erectile dysfunction (ED). Penile erection involves the relaxation of smooth muscle in the corpus cavernosum. The key mediator of smooth muscle relaxation is nitric oxide (NO), which acts by increasing the cellular level of cGMP. Another cyclic nucleotide, cAMP, is involved in smooth muscle cell relaxation; cAMP formation is stimulated by a number of compounds, such as alprostadil. An increase in cAMP and/or cGMP levels can also be induced by inhibition of phosphodiesterases (PDEs), the enzymes involved in cyclic nucleotide breakdown. Both papaverine and sildenafil are PDE inhibitors. Papaverine is a non-specific inhibitor of these enzymes; sildenafil is an orally active, potent and selective inhibitor of GMP-specific PDE5, the predominant isoenzyme metabolizing cGMP in the cells of the corpus cavernosum. Penile smooth muscle contraction, induced by adrenergic fibers through alpha(1) adrenoceptors, produces detumescence, thus making alpha adrenoceptor antagonists suitable for maintenance of penile erection. The orally active drug yohimbine is a mixed alpha(1)-alpha(2) adrenoceptor antagonist that works by a dual mechanism; it facilitates sexual arousal by acting on alpha(2) adrenoceptors in the central nervous system and blocks adrenergic influences at peripheral level.

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G. Forti, M. L. De Feo, M. Maggi, A. D. Genazzani, V. Fazzi and G. Delitala

Abstract. Plasma LH and FSH were measured every 20 min in a group of patients with Klinefelter's syndrome before and after placebo or naloxone administration (8 mg iv as a bolus followed by an infusion of 4 mg/h for 4 h) both in baseline conditions (N = 6) and during treatment with testosterone enanthate (200 mg im every two weeks; N = 4). The mean LH areas measured during saline infusion in baseline conditions (7888 ± 758 IU/l per min mean ± sem) and during testosterone treatment (5042 ± 2039 IU/l per min) were not significantly different from those measured during naloxone infusion (baseline 8317 ± 818 IU/l per min; during testosterone treatment 5395 ± 2007 IU/l per min). Similar results were obtained for FSH. These data suggest that in patients with Klinefelter's syndrome, the opioidergic inhibition of gonadotropin release is lacking and is not restored by testosterone replacement therapy.

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M C Meriggiola, E A Jannini, A Lenzi, M Maggi and C Manieri

The treatment of transsexual subjects is a challenging task for the endocrinologist who, in collaboration with the mental health professional and the surgeon, is called upon to confirm the diagnosis and adjust hormonal treatment aimed at suppressing endogenous sex hormones and to develop hormone characteristics of the desired gender. These guidelines are structured to provide evidence-based suggestions or, where evidence is lacking, expert recommendations on diagnostic procedures and hormonal treatment in adolescent and adult transsexuals, including long-term care and eligibility for surgery. The multidisciplinary approach to treatment, the additional diagnostic role of hormone administration and the need to maintain hormone levels within the physiological range are key suggestions stressed in the guidelines which are particularly important for an endocrinologist unfamiliar with this field. The need for psychological assessment before surgery is not common in many countries and should be stressed further in the guidelines. Some important issues such as time and method of hormone withdrawal before surgery together with when and which hormones should be administered after sex reassignment surgery has been completed also remain unclear.

These guidelines represent a pivotal document for endocrinologists setting a standard for the care of transsexuals and providing directions for future research.

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C Crescioli, P Ferruzzi, A Caporali, M Scaltriti, S Bettuzzi, R Mancina, S Gelmini, M Serio, D Villari, GB Vannelli, E Colli, L Adorini and M Maggi

OBJECTIVE: Calcitriol analogues might represent an interesting new therapy for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). We here report the preclinical characterization of BXL-628, an analogue selected for an ongoing double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled phase II trial in BPH. DESIGN: Experiments with BXL-628 were carried out in human BPH cells and in the ventral prostate of intact and castrated rats. METHODS: BPH cell and rat prostate growth were evaluated along with morphological and biochemical hallmarks of apoptosis. RESULTS: BXL-628 inhibited human BPH cell proliferation and induced apoptosis even in the presence of androgens or growth factors. It also decreased prostate growth to an extent similar to finasteride, inducing DNA fragmentation and apoptosis, both in intact and in testosterone-supplemented castrated rats. Accordingly, BXL-628, like finasteride, increased the expression of clusterin, a prostatic atrophy marker. However, BXL-628 did not inhibit 5 alpha-reductase 1 and 2, did not bind to the androgen receptor (AR) in BPH homogenates and did not affect AR-coupled luciferase activity. In addition, BXL-628 did not affect rat pituitary and testis activity or calcemia. CONCLUSIONS: BXL-628 inhibited in vitro and in vivo prostate cell proliferation, and therefore might represent a novel, interesting option for the treatment of BPH.

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L Benzi, P Cecchetti, AM Ciccarone, S Novelli, A Paoli, A Bertacca, M Maffei, D Maggi, G Andraghetti, S Del Prato and R Cordera

OBJECTIVE: Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with human engineered insulin receptor (IR) cDNA to mutate Cys 860 to Ser (CHO-IR(C860S)) showed a defective insulin internalization without affecting insulin binding and IR autophosphorylation. Moreover, this mutation reduces insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 tyrosine phosphorylation and insulin-induced metabolic and mitogenic effects. Altogether, these observations support a role of the extracellular domain of IR beta-subunit in insulin and receptor intracellular targeting as well as in insulin signaling. DESIGN AND METHODS: This study assesses in more details the effect of IR(C860S) mutation on the trafficking of the insulin-IR complex. In particular, IR internalization, phosphorylation, dissociation and recycling, as well as insulin degradation and retroendocytosis have been investigated in CHO cells overexpressing either wild type (CHO-IR(WT)) or mutated IRs. RESULTS: the C860S mutation significantly decreases IR internalization both insulin stimulated and constitutive. In spite of a similar dissociation of internalized insulin-IR complex, recycling of internalized IR was significantly faster (half life (t(1/2)): 21 min vs 40 min, P<0.001) and more extensive (P<0.01) for IR(C860S) than for IR(WT). On the other hand, insulin degradation and retroendocytosis were superimposable in both cell lines. As expected, insulin-induced phosphorylation was similar in both IRs, however dephosphorylation was much more rapid and was greater (P<0.01) in CHO-IR(WT) as compared with CHO-IR(C860S) cells. CONCLUSIONS: Transmembrane and intracellular domain of IR seem to be determinants for IR internalization. Now we report that Cys 860 in the IR beta-subunit ectodomain may be of relevance in ensuring a proper internalization and intracellular trafficking of the insulin-IR complex.

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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.