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Corrado Betterle, Francesca Lazzarotto, Aglaura Cinzia Spadaccino, Daniela Basso, Mario Plebani, Beniamino Pedini, Silvia Chiarelli and Mariapaola Albergoni

Objective: Patients with autoimmune Addison’s disease (AAD) are prone to develop other autoimmune manifestations. An increased prevalence of celiac disease (CD) has recently been demonstrated in Northern European patients with AAD. IgA deficiency is the most frequent type of immunodeficiency among humans and is present in about one in every 600 individuals in the population. IgA deficiency is frequent in patients with other autoimmune diseases, but data concerning AAD are still unavailable.

Design: The aim was to define the prevalence of CD and of IgA deficiency in a group of Italian patients with AAD.

Methods: One hundred and nine patients with AAD were enrolled and examined for tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies of the IgA class, circulating levels of IgA and adrenal cortex antibodies.

Results: Two (1.8%) of the patients were affected by already diagnosed CD and were already on a gluten-free diet. Out of the remaining 107 patients, four (3.7%) were found to be positive for IgA antibodies to human tissue transglutaminase. Three of the four patients who were positive for tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies agreed to undergo endoscopy and duodenal biopsies and, in one, a latent form of CD was identified. The clinical, silent or latent form of CD was present in six out of 109 (5.4%). This prevalence was significantly higher (P = 0.0001) than that reported for the Northern Italian population which was equal to 0.063%. Specifically, CD was present in 12.5% of the autoimmune polyglandular syndrome (APS) type 1 cases, in four out of 60 (6.7%) of the APS type 2 cases and in one out of 40 (2.5%) of the isolated AAD cases. IgA deficiency was present in two out of 109 patients (1.8%), all of whom had normal IgG anti-gliadin. Autoantibodies to the adrenal cortex were detected in 81 out of 109 patients (74.3%).

Conclusions: In patients with AAD there is a high prevalence of both CD and IgA deficiency. Consequently, it is important to screen for CD with tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies of the IgA class and for IgA levels.

Free access

Filippo Ceccato, Giorgia Antonelli, Mattia Barbot, Marialuisa Zilio, Linda Mazzai, Rosalba Gatti, Martina Zaninotto, Franco Mantero, Marco Boscaro, Mario Plebani and Carla Scaroni


The Endocrine Society Clinical Guidelines recommend measuring 24-h urinary free cortisol (UFF) levels using a highly accurate method as one of the first-line screening tests for the diagnosis of Cushing's Syndrome (CS). We evaluated the performance of UFF, urinary free cortisone (UFE), and the UFF:UFE ratio, measured using a liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method.

Subjects and methods

The LC–MS/MS was used to analyze UFF and UFE levels in 43 surgically confirmed CS patients: 26 with Cushing's disease (CD, 16 de novo and ten recurrences), 11 with adrenal CS and six with ectopic CS; 22 CD patients in remission; 14 eu-cortisolemic CD patients receiving medical therapy; 60 non-CS patients; and 70 healthy controls. Sensitivity and specificity were determined in the combined groups of non-CS patients, healthy controls, and CD in remission.


UFF>170 nmol/24 h showed 98.7% specificity and 100% sensitivity for de novo CS, while sensitivity was 80% for recurrent CD patients, who were characterized by lower UFF levels. The UFF:UFE and UFF+UFE showed lower sensitivity and specificity than UFF. Ectopic CS patients had the highest UFF and UFF:UFE levels, which were normal in the CD remission patients and in those receiving medical therapy.


Our data suggest high diagnostic performance of UFF excretion measured using LC–MS/MS, in detecting de novo CS. UFF:UFE and UFF+UFE assessments are not useful in the first step of CS diagnosis, although high levels were found to be indicative of ectopic CS.

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Lara Naletto, Anna Chiara Frigo, Filippo Ceccato, Chiara Sabbadin, Riccardo Scarpa, Fabio Presotto, Miriam Dalla Costa, Diego Faggian, Mario Plebani, Simona Censi, Jacopo Manso, Jadwiga Furmaniak, Shu Chen, Bernard Rees Smith, Stefano Masiero, Francesca Pigliaru, Marco Boscaro, Carla Scaroni and Corrado Betterle


Adrenal cortex autoantibodies (ACAs) and/or 21-hydroxylase (21OHAb) are markers of autoimmune Addison’s disease (AAD) and progression to overt AAD. The reported cumulative risk of developing AAD varies from 0 to 90% in different studies.


To assess the predictive value of different parameters in the progression toward AAD in patients with ACA and/or 21OHAb-positive patients with autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes (APS).

Materials and methods

Twenty-nine patients with APS-1 and 114 patients with APS-2 or APS-4 were followed up for a median of 10 years (range 6 months to 33 years) and were assessed using ACTH test. The risk of AAD was estimated according to age, gender, stage of adrenal dysfunction, associated diseases and antibody titer. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard models were used for statistical analysis.


The cumulative risk (CR) of developing AAD was higher in APS-1 patients (94.2%) than in patients with APS-2/APS-4 (38.7%). The CR was high in both male and female APS-1 patients, while in patients with APS-2/APS-4 it was high only in males. Stage 1 (increased plasma renin) for patients with APS-1 and Stage 2 (no response of cortisol to ACTH test) for patients with APS-2/APS-4 were established as the points of no return in the progression to AAD. Adjusted hazard ratio analyses by multivariate Cox model for AAD showed that gender, diseases and adrenal function were independent risk factors for developing clinical AAD. The risk of developing clinical AAD appears to subside after 19 years of follow-up.


A model for estimating the probability to survive free of AAD has been developed and should be a useful tool in designing appropriate follow-up intervals and future therapeutic strategies.