Acromegaly is predominantly caused by a pituitary adenoma, which secretes an excess of GH resulting in increased IGF1 levels. Most of the GH assays used currently measure only the levels of the 22 kDa form of GH. In theory, the diagnostic sensitivity may be lower compared with the previous assays, which have used polyclonal antibodies. Many GH-secreting adenomas are plurihormonal and may co-secrete prolactin, TSH and α-subunit. Hyperprolactinaemia is found in 30–40% of patients with acromegaly, and hyperprolactinaemia may occasionally be diagnosed before acromegaly is apparent. Although trans-sphenoidal surgery of a GH-secreting adenoma remains the first treatment at most centres, the role of somatostatin analogues, octreotide long-acting repeatable and lanreotide Autogel as primary therapy is still the subject of some debate. Although the normalisation of GH and IGF1 levels is the main objective in all patients with acromegaly, GH and IGF1 levels may be discordant, especially during somatostatin analogue therapy. This discordance usually takes the form of high GH levels and an IGF1 level towards the upper limit of the normal range. Pasireotide, a new somatostatin analogue, may be more efficacious in some patients, but the drug has not yet been registered for acromegaly. Papers published on pasireotide have reported an increased risk of diabetes mellitus due to a reduction in insulin levels. Pegvisomant, the GH receptor antagonist, is indicated – alone or in combination with a somatostatin analogue – in most patients who fail to enter remission on a somatostatin analogue. Dopamine-D2-agonists may be effective as monotherapy in a few patients, but it may prove necessary to apply combination therapy involving a somatostatin analogue and/or pegvisomant.
Marianne Andersen and Dorte Glintborg
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is common in premenopausal women. The majority of women with PCOS have insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is higher in women with PCOS compared to controls. In non-pregnant women with PCOS, glycemic status may be assessed by oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) or HbA1c. OGTT has been reckoned gold standard test for diagnosing T2D, but OGTT is rarely used for diagnostic purpose in other non-pregnant individuals at risk of T2D, apart from PCOS. OGTT has questionable reproducibility, and high sensitivity of the 2-h glucose value is at the expense of relatively low specificity, especially regarding impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Furthermore, lean women with PCOS are rarely diagnosed with T2D and only few percent of normal-weight women have prediabetes. Glycemic status is necessary at diagnosis and during follow-up of PCOS, especially in women with high risk of T2D (obesity, previous gestational diabetes (GDM)). We suggest that OGTT should be used in the same situations in PCOS as in other patient groups at risk of T2D. OGTT is indicated for diagnosing GDM; however, OGTT during pregnancy may not be indicated in lean women with PCOS without other risk factors for GDM.
Dorte Glintborg and Marianne Andersen
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most prevalent endocrine condition in premenopausal women. The syndrome is characterized by hyperandrogenism, irregular menses and polycystic ovaries when other etiologies are excluded. Obesity, insulin resistance and low vitamin D levels are present in more than 50% patients with PCOS, these factors along with hyperandrogenism could have adverse effects on long-term health. Hyperinflammation and impaired epithelial function were reported to a larger extent in women with PCOS and could particularly be associated with hyperandrogenism, obesity and insulin resistance. Available data from register-based and data linkage studies support that metabolic-vascular and thyroid diseases, asthma, migraine, depression and cancer are diagnosed more frequently in PCOS, whereas fracture risk is decreased. Drug prescriptions are significantly more common in PCOS than controls within all diagnose categories including antibiotics. The causal relationship between PCOS and autoimmune disease represents an interesting new area of research. PCOS is a lifelong condition and long-term morbidity could be worsened by obesity, sedentary way of life, Western-style diet and smoking, whereas lifestyle intervention including weight loss may partly or fully resolve the symptoms of PCOS and could improve the long-term prognosis. In this review, the possible implications of increased morbidity for the clinical and biochemical evaluation of patients with PCOS at diagnosis and follow-up is further discussed along with possible modifying effects of medical treatment.
Dorte Glintborg, Marianne Andersen, Claus Hagen, Jan Frystyk, Veronica Hulstrøm, Allan Flyvbjerg and Anne Pernille Hermann
Objective: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients are abdominally obese and are at increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. Low adiponectin and ghrelin levels in PCOS patients could be caused by insulin resistance as well as high testosterone levels.
Design: Adiponectin and ghrelin levels were evaluated in 51 hirsute PCOS patients referred to the outpatient clinic of an academic, tertiary care medical centre and in 63 weight-matched female controls. Relationships between adiponectin, ghrelin, leptin, body composition, testosterone and insulin were examined.
Methods: Measurements of body composition including waist-hip-ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI) and whole body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan measures of body fat mass. Measurements of fasting levels of adiponectin, ghrelin, leptin, androgen status, oestradiol, lipid variables and insulin during follicular phase.
Results: Adiponectin levels were significantly decreased in obese PCOS patients compared with weight-matched controls (geometric mean (−2 to 2 s.d.) 5.3 (2.5–11.1) vs 7.3 (3.0–17.4) mg/l, P<0.05). Mean ghrelin was significantly lower in hirsute PCOS patients than in controls (0.6 (0.3 to 1.4) vs 0.8 (0.4 to 1.7) μg/l, P<0.001) and this remained significant after subdividing subjects according to waist circumference and BMI. During multiple regression analysis, testosterone correlated positively with adiponectin and negatively with ghrelin independent of BMI, WHR and total fat mass.
Conclusion: Obese hirsute PCOS patients demonstrated significantly lower adiponectin levels than weight-matched controls suggesting a very high risk for the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, ghrelin levels were decreased in hirsute PCOS patients and showed a significant, negative correlation with testosterone independent of body composition.
Dorte Glintborg, Katrine Hass Rubin, Mads Nybo, Bo Abrahamsen and Marianne Andersen
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increased in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but the prevalence of other diseases is not clarified. We aimed to investigate morbidity and medicine prescriptions in PCOS.
A National Register-based study.
Patients with PCOS (PCOS Denmark and an embedded cohort; PCOS Odense University Hospital (OUH)) and one control population. Premenopausal women with PCOS underwent clinical and biochemical examination (PCOS OUH, n=1217). PCOS Denmark (n=19 199) included women with PCOS in the Danish National Patient Register. Three age-matched controls were included per patient (n=57 483).
Main outcome measures
Diagnosis codes and filled prescriptions.
The mean (range) age of the PCOS Denmark group and controls was 30.6 (12–60) years. Patients in PCOS Denmark had higher Charlson index, higher prevalence of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension than controls. PCOS was associated with a two times increased risk of stroke and thrombosis, whereas the risk of other cardiovascular diseases was not increased. Thyroid disease, asthma, migraine, and depression were more prevalent in PCOS Denmark vs controls, whereas fractures were rarer. Infertility was increased in patients compared with controls, but the mean number of births was higher in PCOS. Medicine prescriptions within all diagnosis areas were significantly higher in PCOS patients than in controls.
In PCOS OUH, polycystic ovaries (PCO) and irregular menses were associated with a more adverse metabolic risk profile, but individual Rotterdam criteria were not associated with cardiometabolic diagnoses.
Cardiometabolic and psychiatric morbidity were significantly increased in a Danish population with PCOS. Medical diseases are frequent also in young patients with PCOS.
Stine J Petersson, Louise L Christensen, Jonas M Kristensen, Rikke Kruse, Marianne Andersen and Kurt Højlund
Recent studies have indicated that serum testosterone in aging men is associated with insulin sensitivity and expression of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos), and that testosterone treatment increases lipid oxidation. Herein, we investigated the effect of testosterone therapy on regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis and markers of OxPhos and lipid metabolism in the skeletal muscle of aging men with subnormal bioavailable testosterone levels.
Skeletal muscle biopsies were obtained before and after treatment with either testosterone gel (n=12) or placebo (n=13) for 6 months. Insulin sensitivity and substrate oxidation were assessed by euglycemic–hyperinsulinemic clamp and indirect calorimetry. Muscle mRNA levels and protein abundance and phosphorylation of enzymes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, OxPhos, and lipid metabolism were examined by quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting.
Despite an increase in lipid oxidation (P<0.05), testosterone therapy had no effect on insulin sensitivity or mRNA levels of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis (PPARGC1A, PRKAA2, and PRKAG3), OxPhos (NDUFS1, ETFA, SDHA, UQCRC1, and COX5B), or lipid metabolism (ACADVL, CD36, CPT1B, HADH, and PDK4). Consistently, protein abundance of OxPhos subunits encoded by both nuclear (SDHA and UQCRC1) and mitochondrial DNA (ND6) and protein abundance and phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase and p38 MAPK were unaffected by testosterone therapy.
The beneficial effect of testosterone treatment on lipid oxidation is not explained by increased abundance or phosphorylation-dependent activity of enzymes known to regulate mitochondrial biogenesis or markers of OxPhos and lipid metabolism in the skeletal muscle of aging men with subnormal bioavailable testosterone levels.
Torben Leo Nielsen, Claus Hagen, Kristian Wraae, Lise Bathum, Rasmus Larsen, Kim Brixen and Marianne Andersen
The number of CAG repeats (CAGn) within the CAG repeat polymorphism of the androgen receptor gene correlates inversely with the transactivation of the receptor.
To examine the impact of CAGn on muscle, fat distribution, and circulating androgen levels.
Design, settings and participants
Population-based, cross-sectional study of 783 Danish men aged 20–29 years.
Genotyping was performed in 767 men. Areas of thigh and lower trunk muscle (musclethigh and musclelower trunk), subcutaneous adipose tissues (SATthigh and SATlower trunk), and deep adipose tissues (i.m. and visceral) were measured in 393 men by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Lean body mass (LBM) and fat mass (FM) were measured in all men by whole body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). The absolute areas acquired by MRI were the main outcomes. The absolute DEXA measurements and relative assessments of both modalities were considered as the secondary outcomes.
CAGn (range: 10–32) correlated inversely with absolute musclethigh (r=−0.108), absolute musclelower trunk (r=−0.132), relative musclethigh (r=−0.128), relative musclelower trunk (r=−0.126), relative LBMlower extremity (r=−0.108), and relative LBMtotal (r=−0.082), and positively with relative SATthigh (r=0.137), relative SATlower trunk (r=0.188), relative FMlower extremity (r=0.107), and relative FMtotal (r=0.082). These relationships remained significant, controlling for physical activity, smoking, chronic disease, and age. CAGn did not correlate with any circulating androgen.
The CAG repeat polymorphism affects body composition in young men: absolute musclethigh and absolute musclelower trunk increase as CAGn decreases. Expressed relatively, muscle areas and LBM increase, while SAT and FM decrease as CAGn decreases. The polymorphism does not affect deep adipose tissues or circulating androgen levels in young men.
Jakob Dal, Marianne Klose, Ansgar Heck, Marianne Andersen, Caroline Kistorp, Eigil H Nielsen, Jens Bollerslev, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen and Jens O L Jørgensen
Discordant GH and IGF-I values are frequent in acromegaly. The clinical significance and its dependence on treatment modality and of glucose-suppressed GH (GHnadir) measurements remain uncertain.
To evaluate the effects of targeting either IGF-I or GH during somatostatin analogue (SA) treatment.
Patients and Methods
84 patients with controlled acromegaly after surgery (n = 23) or SA (n = 61) underwent a GH profile including an OGTT, at baseline and after 12 months. SA patients were randomized to monitoring according to either IGF-I (n = 33) or GHnadir (n = 28). SA dose escalation was allowed at baseline and 6 months.
Main outcome measures
GHnadir and IGF-I at baseline and 12 months, and disease-specific Quality of Life (QoL).
IGF-I and fasting GH levels were comparable between the surgery and the SA group, whereas GHnadir (µg/L) was lower in the surgery group (GHnadir 0.7 ± 0.1 vs 0.3 ± 0.1, P < 0.01). SA dose increase was performed in 20 patients in the GH group and in 8 patients in the IGF-I group (P = 0.02), which increased the number of concordantly controlled patients (P = 0.01). QoL was only mildly affected at baseline in all groups and did not changed consistently during the study.
(1) Discordant values in terms of high GH levels are prevalent in SA patients and more so if applying glucose-suppressed GHnadir; (2) targeting discordant levels of either GH or IGF-I translates into SA dose increase and improved biochemical control; (3) even though QoL was not improved in this study, we suggest biochemical assessment of disease activity to include glucose-suppressed GHnadir also in SA patients.
Marianne Klose, Kirstine Stochholm, Jurgita Janukonyté, Louise Lehman Christensen, Arieh S Cohen, Aase Wagner, Peter Laurberg, Jens Sandahl Christiansen, Marianne Andersen and Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen
Posttraumatic pituitary hormone deficiency is often suggested. The impact of these predominantly mild and often irreproducible deficiencies on outcome is less clear. The aim of the present study was to describe patient reported outcome in a national a priori unselected cohort of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in relation to deficiencies identified upon pituitary assessment.
Design and methods
We conducted a nationwide population-based cohort study. Participants were Danish patients with a head trauma diagnosis recorded in the Danish Board of Health diagnostic code registry; 439 patients (and 124 healthy controls) underwent assessment of anterior pituitary function 2.5 years (median) after TBI. Questionnaires on health-related quality of life (QoL) (SF36, EuroQoL-5D, QoL assessment of GH deficiency in adults) and fatigue (MFI-20) were completed in parallel to pituitary assessment.
Patients with TBI had significant detriments in QoL. Impairment (mainly physical scales) related to pituitary deficiency, although only partially confirmed after adjustment for demographic differences. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism related to several QoL scores. Increasing impairments were observed with declining total testosterone concentrations (men), but not free testosterone concentrations or any other hormone concentrations. Total testosterone was not independently related to impaired QoL and fatigue, after adjustment for demographics, and treatment with antidiabetics, opioids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.
Only a very limited relationship between pituitary hormone deficiencies and QoL/fatigue was demonstrated. Due to the dominating influence of concurrent comorbidities, pituitary deficiencies were not independently related to QoL/fatigue. Causality is still to be shown, and whether substitution therapy could be of additional relevance in selected patients needs to be proven.
Etienne Delgrange, Gerald Raverot, Marie Bex, Pia Burman, Bénédicte Decoudier, France Devuyst, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Marianne Andersen and Dominique Maiter
To characterise distinctive clinical features of giant prolactinomas in women.
A multicentre, retrospective case series and literature review.
We collected data from 15 female patients with a pituitary tumour larger than 4 cm and prolactin levels above 1000 μg/l and identified 19 similar cases from the literature; a gender-based comparison of the frequency and age distribution was obtained from a literature review.
The initial PubMed search using the term ‘giant prolactinomas’ identified 125 patients (13 women) responding to the inclusion criteria. The female:male ratio was 1:9. Another six female patients were found by extending the literature search, while our own series added 15 patients. The median age at diagnosis was 44 years in women compared with 35 years in men (P<0.05). All cases diagnosed before the age of 15 years were boys. In women (n=34), we observed a minor peak incidence during the third decade of life and a major peak during the fifth decade. Amenorrhoea was a constant feature with seven cases of primary amenorrhoea. In eight women with onset of secondary amenorrhoea before the age of 40 years, the diagnosis was made 2–31 years later (median 9 years) and in all but one because of tumour pressure symptoms. The prolactin levels were above 10 000 μg/l in 15/34 and misdiagnosis due to ‘hook effect’ occurred in two of them. Eighteen patients were treated with cabergoline; standard doses (<2.0 mg/week) were able to normalise prolactin in only 4/18 patients, and 7/18 patients were resistant to weekly doses ranging from 3.0 to 7.0 mg.
Giant prolactinomas are rare in women, often resistant to dopamine agonists and seem to be distributed in two age groups, with a larger late-onset peak.