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F Boi, ML Lai, C Deias, M Piga, A Serra, A Uccheddu, G Faa and S Mariotti

OBJECTIVE: To assess the relevance of (99m)Tc-SestaMIBI (MIBI) scan in the diagnostic evaluation of thyroid nodules with oncocytic cytology. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Twenty-four patients with a single (or prevalent) 'cold' solid nodule with Hurthle cells (HC) at fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) were studied. Cytological diagnosis of oncocytic metaplasia (OM) or HC tumor (HCT) was made when HC on the smear were comprised 10-75%, or >75%. Nodules concentrating MIBI at early and late (2 h after washout) stages were considered MIBI-positive. In all cases histological findings were obtained after total thyroidectomy. RESULTS: FNAC was malignant or suspect for malignancy in 16 cases (six HCT and 10 OM) and not suspect in eight (two HCT and six OM). Histological examination revealed 14 malignant tumors (11 HCT and three OM), and 10 benign thyroid lesions (three HCT and seven OM). Sensitivity of FNAC for malignancy was 92.8% and specificity was 70.0%; HCT were identified by FNAC in only 35.7% and OM in 70.0% of cases. No significant difference in MIBI positivity was found between malignant and benign thyroid nodules. The highest percentage of MIBI positivity was found in HCT (78.5%), but MIBI-positive nodules were also observed in thyroid lesions with HC metaplasia (40.0%). CONCLUSIONS: MIBI scintiscan has no value in differentiating malignant from benign HC thyroid neoplasias. Most HCT are MIBI-positive, but this scan is not sufficiently specific to differentiate true HC neoplasias from other thyroid lesions showing HC at FNAC, although an MIBI-negative scan strongly supports the absence of true HCT.

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A Porcella, G Marchese, MA Casu, A Rocchitta, ML Lai, GL Gessa and L Pani

OBJECTIVE: Previous reports have shown that the Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)TCH), the major psychoactive cannabinoid components of marijuana, is able [corrected] to inhibit thyroid hormonal activity. The aim of this study was to characterize the CB1 functional expression in the rat thyroid by a multi-methods approach. METHODS AND RESULTS: RT-PCR was used to detect the mRNA expression of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor (17.8+/-4.0% of the normalizing reference gene beta(2) microglobulin), as well as the expression of the endocannabinoid hydrolyzing enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase (46.9+/-4.3% of beta(2) microglobulin), in the rat thyroid gland. The CB1-encoded protein was detected in its glycosylated form (63 kDa) by Western blot, employing a polyclonal antibody, while CB1 immunohistochemical localization showed an intracellular positive staining in both follicular and parafollicular cells. In addition, a 30% decrease in serum levels of both 3,5,3' tri-iodothyronine (T(3)) and thyroxine (T(4)) was detected 4 h after the administration of the synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist, WIN 55,212-2 (10 mg/kg i.p.). These effects were antagonized by pretreatment with the CB1 antagonist SR 141716A (3 mg/kg i.p.); thyrotrophin levels were unaffected by both treatments. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that functional CB1 receptors which are able to modulate the release of T(3) and T(4) are expressed in the rat thyroid, and suggest a possible role of cannabinoids in the regulation of rat thyroid hormonal activity.