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C. Carani, M. F. Celani, D. Zini, A. Baldini, L. Della Casa and P. Marrama

Abstract. Testosterone undecanoate was administered orally (80 mg twice daily) for 30 days to 10 impotent men with mild Leydig cell failure, age 28 to 42 years. Placebo was administered for 30 days both before and at the end of testosterone undecanoate therapy. Serum levels of bioactive LH, immunoreactive LH and testosterone were determined in basal conditions (day zero), 30 days after the first placebo administration, at the 15th and 30th day of testosterone undecanoate therapy, and at the end of the second treatment with placebo (90th day). Bioactive LH was measured by a sensitive and specific in vitro bioassay based on testosterone production by mechanically dispersed mouse Leydig cell preparations. Immunoreactive LH and testosterone were determined by a doubleantibody RIA technique. The results were compared with those obtained in 30 untreated normal young men. In the basal state, serum concentrations of immunoreactive LH were significantly higher in the patients (P< 0.02) than in control subjects, whereas testosterone levels were significantly lower (P< 0.001) in the impotent men. In contrast, bioactive LH levels and the bioactive LH to immunoreactive LH ratios were similar in the two groups. In the patients, at the 15th day of treatment with testosterone undecanoate, serum levels of testosterone and bioactive LH were significantly higher (P< 0.01) than basal values, whereas immunoreactive LH concentrations showed no significant changes. Consequently, the bioactive LH to immunoreactive LH ratios rose significantly (P< 0.01). At the 30th day of treatment with testosterone undecanoate, the mean value of bioactive LH and the mean bioactive LH to immunoreactive LH ratio were significantly higher (P< 0.01) in the patients than in control men, whereas the mean levels of testosterone and immunoreactive LH were similar in the two groups. Neither the first nor the second treatment with placebo changed the hormone values observed in basal conditions. The results support the experimental evidence that androgens may increase the bioactivity of circulating LH.

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E Ghigo, GP Ceda, R Valcavi, S Goffi, M Zini, M Mucci, G Valenti, EE Muller and F Camanni

Ghigo E, Ceda GP, Valcavi R, Goffi S, Zini M, Mucci M, Valenti G, Muller EE, Camanni F. Effect of 15-day treatment with growth hormone-releasing hormone alone or combined with different doses of arginine on the reduced somatotrope responsiveness to the neurohormone in normal aging. Eur J Endocrinol 1995;132:32–6. ISSN 0804–4643

It is well known that both spontaneous and growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)-stimulated GH secretion undergo an age-related decrease; in addition, there is supportive evidence that the GH hyposecretory state of aging is of hypothalamic origin. The aims of the study in 35 normal elderly subjects (20 males and 15 females aged 65–89 years) were to verify whether the low somatotrope responsiveness to GHRH (1 μg/kg) can be primed by a daily GHRH treatment and whether the potentiating effect of both high intravenous (0.5 g/kg) and low oral (8 g) doses of arginine (ARG) on GH response to GHRH is maintained with time. In group A (N = 14) the GH response to GHRH on day 1 (AUC: 373.5 ± 78.5 μg·1−1·h−1) was unchanged after 7 (3720 ± 38 μg·1−1·h−1) and 15 days (377.9 ± 63.8 μg·1−1·h−1) of daily GHRH administration. In group B (N = 6) the GH response to GHRH co-administered with iv ARG on day 1 (1614.2 ± 146.2 μg · 1−1 · h−1) was higher (p < 0.05) than that of GHRH alone (group A) and persisted unchanged after 7 (1514.7±366.5 μg·1−1·h−1) and 15 days (1631.7 ± 379.1 μg · 1−1 · h−1) of treatment. In group C (N = 15) the GH response to GHRH co-administered with oral ARG on day 1 (950.6 ± 219.4 μg·1−1 · h−1) was higher (p < 0.03) than that of GHRH alone (group A) but lower (p < 0.05) than that to GHRH plus iv ARG (group B). It was unchanged after 7 (816.2 ± 208.5 μg·1−1 · h−1) and 15 days (760.4 ± 165.0 μg · 1−1· h−1) of treatment; these responses were still higher (p < 0.05) than that to GHRH alone. Insulin-like growth factor I levels were not modified by any of the treatments. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that in normal aging the low somatotrope responsiveness to GHRH is not improved by prolonged treatment with the neurohormone but it is enhanced by the combined treatment with ARG and this effect does not vanish after a 15-day treatment period. The effect of ARG is present even after a low oral dose, although less markedly than after a high intravenous dose.

F Camanni, Divisione di Endocrinologia, Ospedale Molinette, C. so Dogliotti 14, 10126 Torino, Italy

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M Terzolo, A Stigliano, I Chiodini, P Loli, L Furlani, G Arnaldi, G Reimondo, A Pia, V Toscano, M Zini, G Borretta, E Papini, P Garofalo, B Allolio, B Dupas, F Mantero and A Tabarin


To assess currently available evidence on adrenal incidentaloma and provide recommendations for clinical practice.


A panel of experts (appointed by the Italian Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AME)) appraised the methodological quality of the relevant studies, summarized their results, and discussed the evidence reports to find consensus.

Radiological assessment

Unenhanced computed tomography (CT) is recommended as the initial test with the use of an attenuation value of ≤10 Hounsfield units (HU) to differentiate between adenomas and non-adenomas. For tumors with a higher baseline attenuation value, we suggest considering delayed contrast-enhanced CT studies. Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET/CT should be considered when CT is inconclusive, whereas fine needle aspiration biopsy may be used only in selected cases suspicious of metastases (after biochemical exclusion of pheochromocytoma).

Hormonal assessment

Pheochromocytoma and excessive overt cortisol should be ruled out in all patients, whereas primary aldosteronism has to be considered in hypertensive and/or hypokalemic patients. The 1 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test is the test recommended for screening of subclinical Cushing's syndrome (SCS) with a threshold at 138 nmol/l for considering this condition. A value of 50 nmol/l virtually excludes SCS with an area of uncertainty between 50 and 138 nmol/l.


Surgery is recommended for masses with suspicious radiological aspects and masses causing overt catecholamine or steroid excess. Data are insufficient to make firm recommendations for or against surgery in patients with SCS. However, adrenalectomy may be considered when an adequate medical therapy does not reach the treatment goals of associated diseases potentially linked to hypercortisolism.