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G E Krassas, M Segni and W M Wiersinga

Objective: Evaluation of the frequency of Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO) and its management in children and adolescents up to 18 years old with Graves’ hyperthyroidism.

Study design: This was a questionnaire study (QS) among members of the European Thyroid Association and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology. Approximately 300 QS were sent to members with electronic addresses and 110 QS were returned from 25 countries: 52 respondents said they had no experience with Graves’ disease in this age group, but 67 respondents (23 paediatric and 44 adult endocrinologists) completed the QS.

Results: Out of 1963 patients with juvenile Graves’ hyperthyroidism seen by respondents in the last 10 years, 641 (33%) had GO; about one-third of GO cases were ≤10 years old, and two-thirds were 11–18 years old. The prevalences of GO among juvenile Graves’ hyperthyroidism were 36.6, 27.3 and 25.9% in countries in which the smoking prevalence among teenagers was ≥25, 20–25 and <20% respectively (P < 0.0001 by χ2 test). When confronted with the standard case of a 13-year-old girl with Graves’ hyperthyroidism and moderately severe active GO, the diagnostic approach included on average 4.9 biochemical tests (TSH, free thyroxine (FT4) and TSH.R-Ab, 100-88% of respondents) and 2.4 specific investigations (thyroid ultrasound by 69%, orthopsy/visual fields/visual acuity by 64% and orbital magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography by 63%). Antithyroid drugs were the treatment of choice for 94% of respondents; 70% recommended a wait-and-see policy and 28% corticosteroids for the co-existing GO. In variants of the standard case, a younger age did not affect therapeutic approach very much. Recurrent hyperthyroidism would still be treated with antithyroid drugs by 66%, and with 131I by 25%. Worsening of GO or active GO when euthyroid would convince about two-thirds of respondents to initiate treatment of GO, preferably with steroids.

Conclusion: GO occurs in 33% of patients with juvenile Graves’ hyperthyroidism; its prevalence is higher in countries with a higher prevalence of smoking among teenagers. The diagnostic approach to the standard case of a 13-year-old with Graves’ hyperthyroidism and moderately severe active GO involves on average five biochemical tests; thyroid as well as orbital imaging is done in 84% of cases. Antithyroid drugs remain the treatment of choice for 94% of respondents, and even so in case of recurrences (66%). For GO, 70% recommend a wait-and-see policy; intervention, preferably with steroids, is advocated by two-thirds of respondents in cases of worsening or still-active eye disease despite euthyroidism.

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BJ Stuck, MA Pani, F Besrour, M Segni, M Krause, KH Usadel and K Badenhoop

BACKGROUND: Apoptosis is a joint pathogenic process underlying autoimmune thyroid disease. Increased programmed cell death in thyrocytes causes hypothyroidism in Hashimoto's thyroiditis, whereas in Graves' disease infiltrating lymphocytes undergo apoptosis while thyrocytes appear to proliferate under protection of anti-apoptotic signals. The Fas/Fas ligand cascade represents a major pathway initiating apoptosis. Its role in autoimmunity is well studied and genetic polymorphisms in gene loci of Fas and its ligand have been shown to be associated with autoimmune diseases. OBJECTIVE: Due to the functional relevance of the Fas pathway in autoimmune thyroid disease we were interested in the possible contribution of polymorphisms in the Fas gene to the genetic risk of thyroid autoimmunity, which so far is mainly, but incompletely, attributed to the HLA DQ region and polymorphisms in the CTLA-4 gene. DESIGN: We genotyped Caucasian families with at least one offspring affected by Hashimoto's thyroiditis (n=95) and Graves' disease (n=109) for two Fas gene polymorphisms (g-670 G-->A in the promoter region, g-154 C-->T in exon 7). METHODS: Extended transmission disequilibrium and chi(2) testing were performed. RESULTS: Neither polymorphism alone (P=0.44 and P=0.70) nor the promoter/exon 7 haplotypes (P=0.86) were associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. No association with Graves' disease was observed for the promoter polymorphism (P=0.91) and exon 7 (P=0.65) or the promoter/exon 7 haplotypes (P=0.80). CONCLUSION: In summary, our data do not suggest any significant contribution of common genetic Fas variants to the genetic risk of developing Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Graves' disease.

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MA Pani, K Regulla, M Segni, M Krause, S Hofmann, M Hufner, J Herwig, AM Pasquino, KH Usadel and K Badenhoop

OBJECTIVE: The vitamin D endocrine system plays a role in the regulation of (auto)immunity and cell proliferation. Vitamin D 1alpha-hydroxylase (CYP1alpha) is one of the key enzymes regulating both systemic and tissue levels of 1,25-dihyroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)). Administration of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), whose serum levels were found to be reduced in type 1 diabetes and thyroid autoimmunity, prevents these diseases in animal models. We therefore investigated a recently reported CYP1alpha polymorphism for an association with type 1 diabetes mellitus, Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. DESIGN AND METHODS: Four hundred and seven Caucasian pedigrees with one offspring affected by either type 1 diabetes (209 families), Graves' disease (92 families) or Hashimoto's thyroiditis (106 families) were genotyped for a C/T polymorphism in intron 6 of the CYP1alpha gene on chromosome 12q13.1-13.3 and transmission disequilibrium testing (TDT) was performed. Subsets of affected offspring stratified for HLA-DQ haplotype were compared using chi(2) testing. RESULTS: There was no deviation from the expected transmission frequency in either type 1 diabetes mellitus (P=0.825), Graves' disease (P=0.909) or Hashimoto's thyroiditis (P=0.204). However, in Hashimoto's thyroiditis the CYP1alpha C allele was significantly more often transmitted to HLA-DQ2(-) patients (27 transmitted vs 14 not transmitted; TDT: P=0.042) than expected. The C allele was less often transmitted to HLA-DQ2(+) patients (9 transmitted vs 12 not transmitted; TDT: P=0.513), although the difference was not significant (chi(2) test: P=0.143). A similar difference was observed in type 1 diabetes between offspring with high and low risk HLA-DQ haplotypes (chi(2) test: P=0.095). CONCLUSIONS: The CYP1alpha intron 6 polymorphism appears not to be associated with type 1 diabetes mellitus, Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. A potential association in subsets of patients with type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto's thyroiditis should be further investigated as well as its functional implications.

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T Arrigo, F De Luca, F Antoniazzi, F Galluzzi, M Segni, M Rosano, MF Messina and F Lombardo

OBJECTIVE: To investigate longitudinally body mass index (BMI) evolution and obesity prevalence in a large and very homogeneous study population consisting only of girls with non-organic central precocious puberty (CPP) who were treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) for at least two years. PATIENTS AND DESIGN: The 101 girls with idiopathic CPP who were selected for this study fulfilled the following inclusion criteria: (a) suppression of gonadotropin and gonadal sex steroid secretion during the overall GnRHa treatment period; (b) adequate compliance with the therapy regimen. All the girls were treated for 44+/-14 months and were followed-up for 15.7+/-7.8 months after therapy withdrawal. RESULTS: At the start of therapy, 23.8% of the girls had a BMI exceeding 2 standard deviation scores (SDS) and were therefore classified as obese; both average BMI-SDS and obesity prevalence significantly decreased during the treatment period (chi(2)=16.6, P<0.0005) and only 4% of the patients, all with pre-existing obesity, were still obese at the end of therapy; during the therapy period, BMI-SDS increased in none of the patients. Both average BMI-SDS and obesity prevalence (from 4 to 0%; chi(2)=4.0, P<0.05) further decreased during the period that followed therapy withdrawal. CONCLUSIONS: (a) girls with idiopathic CPP are frequently obese at the onset of GnRHa therapy (23.8%), probably due to the hormonal changes which accompany the start of puberty; (b) their obesity is neither long-lasting nor related to GnRHa administration; (c) on the contrary, GnRHa therapy may have a favourable effect on BMI decrease, provided that treatment is performed for at least two years and is accompanied by a complete suppression of gonadotropin secretion; (d) this unexpected effect, which has never been reported hitherto, might represent a further indication for GnRHa administration in idiopathic CPP.

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ER Lopez, O Zwermann, M Segni, G Meyer, M Reincke, J Seissler, J Herwig, KH Usadel and K Badenhoop

BACKGROUND: CYP27B1 hydroxylase catalyzes the conversion of 25 hydroxyvitamin D(3) (25OHD(3)) to 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), the most active natural vitamin D metabolite, which plays a role in the regulation of immunity and cell proliferation. We therefore investigated two single nucleotide polymorphisms in the CYP27B1 hydroxylase gene for an association with Addison's disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease and type 1 diabetes mellitus. METHODS: Patients with Addison's disease (n=124), Hashimoto's thyroiditis (n=139), Graves' disease (n=334), type 1 diabetes mellitus (n=252) and healthy controls (n=320) were genotyped for the promoter (-1260) C/A polymorphism and for the intron 6 (+2838) C/T polymorphism of the CYP27B1 gene. Patients and controls were compared using genotype-wise and allele-wise X(2) testing. RESULTS: A significant association was found between allelic variation of the promoter (-1260) C/A polymorphism and Addison's disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease and type 1 diabetes mellitus (P=0.0062, P=0.0173, P=0.0094 and P=0.0028 respectively). Significant differences were also observed for the intron 6 (+2838) C/T polymorphism (P=0.0058) in Hashimoto's thyroiditis but not for the other autoimmune endocrine diseases. CONCLUSIONS: The CYP27B1 promoter (-1260) C/A polymorphism appears to be associated with endocrine autoimmune diseases but the CYP27B1 intron 6 (+2838) C/T polymorphism appears to be associated only with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. These results imply a regulatory difference of the CYP27B1 hydroxylase to predispose to endocrine autoimmunity.

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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.