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Laura P B Elbers, Carla Moran, Victor E A Gerdes, Bregje van Zaane, Joost C M Meijers, Erik Endert, Greta Lyons, Krishna Chatterjee, Peter H Bisschop and Eric Fliers

Objective

Hyperthyroidism is associated with a hypercoagulable state, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Patients with resistance to thyroid hormone (RTH) due to defective thyroid hormone receptor β (THRB or THRB) exhibit elevated circulating thyroid hormones (TH) with refractoriness to TH action in THRB-expressing tissues. We tested the hypothesis that the hypercoagulable state in hyperthyroidism is mediated via the THRB.

Design

We conducted a cross-sectional study from November 2013 to January 2015 in 3 hospitals in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Methods

Patients with RTH due to defective THRB (n=18), patients with hyperthyroidism (n=16) and euthyroid subjects (n=18) were included. TH concentrations and markers of coagulation and fibrinolysis were measured. Data are expressed as median (interquartile range).

Results

Free thyroxine (FT4) levels were slightly higher in hyperthyroid patients than in RTH patients (53.9 (30.5–70.0) and 34.9 (28.4–42.2)pmol/L, respectively, P=0.042). Both groups had raised FT4 levels compared with euthyroid subjects (14.0 (13.0–15.8)pmol/L, P≤0.001). Levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF), factor (F) VIII, fibrinogen and d-dimer were significantly higher in hyperthyroid patients than in RTH patients (VWF 231 (195–296) vs 111 (82–140)%, FVIII 215 (192–228) vs 145 (97–158)%, fibrinogen 3.6 (3.0–4.4) vs 2.8 (2.5–3.2)g/L, d-dimer 0.41 (0.31–0.88) vs 0.20 (0.17–0.26)mg/L, respectively, P≤0.001), while there were no differences between RTH patients and euthyroid controls.

Conclusions

Parameters of coagulation and fibrinolysis were elevated in hyperthyroid patients compared with patients with RTH due to defective THRB, whereas these parameters were not different between euthyroid controls and RTH patients, despite elevated FT4 concentrations in RTH patients. This indicates that the procoagulant effects observed in hyperthyroidism are mediated via the THRB.

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N E Kokshoorn, J W A Smit, W A Nieuwlaat, J Tiemensma, P H Bisschop, R Groote Veldman, F Roelfsema, A A M Franken, M J E Wassenaar, N R Biermasz, J A Romijn and A M Pereira

Objective

Hypopituitarism after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is considered to be a prevalent condition. However, prevalence rates differ considerably among reported studies, due to differences in definitions, endocrine assessments of hypopituitarism, and confounding factors, such as timing of evaluation and the severity of the trauma.

Aim

To evaluate the prevalence of hypopituitarism in a large cohort of TBI patients after long-term follow-up using a standardized endocrine evaluation.

Study design

Cross-sectional study.

Patients and methods

We included 112 patients with TBI, hospitalized for at least 3 days and duration of follow-up >1 year after TBI from five (neurosurgical) referral centers. Evaluation of pituitary function included fasting morning hormone measurements and insulin tolerance test (n=90) or, when contraindicated, ACTH stimulation and/or CRH stimulation tests and a GH releasing hormone–arginine test (n=22). Clinical evaluation included quality of life questionnaires.

Results

We studied 112 patients (75 males), with median age 48 years and mean body mass index (BMI) 26.7±4.8 kg/m2. Mean duration of hospitalization was 11 (3–105), and 33% of the patients had a severe trauma (Glasgow Coma Scale <9) after TBI. The mean duration of follow-up was 4 (1–12) years.

Hypopituitarism was diagnosed in 5.4% (6/112) of patients: severe GH deficiency (n=3), hypogonadism (n=1), adrenal insufficiency (n=2). Patients diagnosed with pituitary insufficiency had significantly higher BMI (P=0.002).

Conclusion

In this study, the prevalence of hypopituitarism during long-term follow-up after TBI was low. Prospective studies are urgently needed to find reliable predictive tools for the identification of patients with a significant pre-test likelihood for hypopituitarism after TBI.

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Charlotte A Heinen, Zhi Zhang, Lars P Klieverik, Tim C de Wit, Edwin Poel, Maqsood Yaqub, Anita Boelen, Andries Kalsbeek, Peter H Bisschop, A S Paul van Trotsenburg, Hein J Verberne, Jan Booij and Eric Fliers

Objective

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity in humans is stimulated by cold and by a limited number of pharmacological agents, including β3-adrenergic agonists and bile acids. Although thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) is known to activate BAT in several mammals, this has not been reported in humans.

Design

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over trial.

Methods

We investigated the effects of intravenous bolus administration of 400 µg TRH or 2 mL saline on BAT activity in healthy, lean men. BAT activity was measured as standardized 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) uptake and glucose metabolic rate (MRglu) using dynamic PET/CT imaging. The first six individuals were studied at room temperature, while subsequently nine were exposed to mild cold (17°C ± 1°C) for 60 min before imaging. During the dynamic scan, blood was withdrawn for measurement of thyroid hormone and catecholamine concentrations. This trial is registered with The Netherlands National Trial Register (number NTR5512).

Results

Sixteen participants were recruited. Six men studied at room temperature showed no visible BAT activity during either session. After exposure to mild cold, four of nine men (44.4%) showed clear increase of 18F-FDG uptake after TRH administration compared to placebo. Maximal standardized 18F-FDG uptake showed a trend toward increase after TRH compared to placebo (P = 0.066). MRglu showed a significant increase after TRH administration (P = 0.014). The increase in 18F-FDG uptake was not paralleled by changes in plasma thyroid hormone or catecholamine concentrations.

Conclusion

Systemic TRH administration can increase the activity of cold-stimulated BAT in adult men. These findings may assist developing pharmacological strategies for modulating BAT activity in the management of obesity.

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Edward Buitenwerf, Tijmen Korteweg, Anneke Visser, Charlotte M S C Haag, Richard A Feelders, Henri J L M Timmers, Letizia Canu, Harm R Haak, Peter H L T Bisschop, Elisabeth M W Eekhoff, Eleonora P M Corssmit, Nanda C Krak, Elise Rasenberg, Janneke van den Bergh, Jaap Stoker, Marcel J W Greuter, Robin P F Dullaart, Thera P Links and Michiel N Kerstens

Background

A substantial proportion of all pheochromocytomas is currently detected during the evaluation of an adrenal incidentaloma. Recently, it has been suggested that biochemical testing to rule out pheochromocytoma is unnecessary in case of an adrenal incidentaloma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 Hounsfield Units (HU) at computed tomography (CT).

Objectives

We aimed to determine the sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold value to exclude a pheochromocytoma.

Methods

Retrospective multicenter study with systematic reassessment of preoperative unenhanced CT scans performed in patients in whom a histopathologically proven pheochromocytoma had been diagnosed. Unenhanced attenuation values were determined independently by two experienced radiologists. Sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold was calculated, and interobserver consistency was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

Results

214 patients were identified harboring a total number of 222 pheochromocytomas. Maximum tumor diameter was 51 (39–74) mm. The mean attenuation value within the region of interest was 36 ± 10 HU. Only one pheochromocytoma demonstrated an attenuation value ≤10 HU, resulting in a sensitivity of 99.6% (95% CI: 97.5–99.9). ICC was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.75–0.86) with a standard error of measurement of 7.3 HU between observers.

Conclusion

The likelihood of a pheochromocytoma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 HU on CT is very low. The interobserver consistency in attenuation measurement is excellent. Our study supports the recommendation that in patients with an adrenal incidentaloma biochemical testing for ruling out pheochromocytoma is only indicated in adrenal tumors with an unenhanced attenuation value >10 HU.

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E B Conemans, L Lodewijk, C B Moelans, G J A Offerhaus, C R C Pieterman, F H Morsink, O M Dekkers, W W de Herder, A R Hermus, A N van der Horst-Schrivers, M L Drent, P H Bisschop, B Havekes, L A A Brosens, K M A Dreijerink, I H M Borel Rinkes, H Th M Timmers, G D Valk and M R Vriens

Objective

Epigenetic changes contribute to pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PanNET) development. Hypermethylation of promoter DNA as a cause of tumor suppressor gene silencing is a well-established oncogenic mechanism that is potentially reversible and therefore an interesting therapeutic target. Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is the most frequent cause of inherited PanNETs. The aim of this study was to determine promoter methylation profiles in MEN1-related PanNETs.

Design and methods

Methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification was used to assess promoter methylation of 56 tumor suppressor genes in MEN1-related (n = 61) and sporadic (n = 34) PanNETs. Differences in cumulative methylation index (CMI), individual methylation percentages and frequency of promoter hypermethylation between subgroups were analyzed.

Results

We found promoter methylation of a large number of potential tumor suppressor genes. CMI (median CMI: 912 vs 876, P = 0.207) was the same in MEN1-related and sporadic PanNETs. We found higher methylation percentages of CASP8 in MEN1-related PanNETs (median: 59% vs 16.5%, P = 0.002). In MEN1-related non-functioning PanNETs, the CMI was higher in larger PanNETs (>2 cm) (median: 969.5 vs 838.5; P = 0.021) and in PanNETs with liver metastases (median: 1036 vs 869; P = 0.013). Hypermethylation of MGMT2 was more frequent in non-functioning PanNETs compared to insulinomas (median: 44.7% vs 8.3%; P = 0.022). Hypermethylation of the Von Hippel–Lindau gene promoter was observed in one MEN1-related PanNET and was associated with loss of protein expression.

Conclusion

Promoter hypermethylation is a frequent event in MEN1-related and sporadic PanNETs. Targeting DNA methylation could be of therapeutic value in MEN1 patients with advanced PanNETs.

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Nicolasine D Niemeijer, Johannes A Rijken, Karin Eijkelenkamp, Anouk N A van der Horst-Schrivers, Michiel N Kerstens, Carli M J Tops, Anouk van Berkel, Henri J L M Timmers, Henricus P M Kunst, C René Leemans, Peter H Bisschop, Koen M A Dreijerink, Marieke F van Dooren, Jean-Pierre Bayley, Alberto M Pereira, Jeroen C Jansen, Frederik J Hes, Erik F Hensen and Eleonora P M Corssmit

Objective

Succinate dehydrogenase B subunit (SDHB) gene germline mutations predispose to pheochromocytomas, sympathetic paragangliomas, head and neck paragangliomas and non-paraganglionic tumors (e.g. renal cell carcinoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor and pituitary neoplasia). The aim of this study was to determine phenotypical characteristics of a large Dutch cohort of SDHB germline mutation carriers and assess differences in clinical phenotypes related to specific SDHB mutations.

Design

Retrospective descriptive study.

Methods

Retrospective descriptive study in seven academic centers.

Results

We included 194 SDHB mutation carriers consisting 65 (33.5%) index patients and 129 (66.5%) relatives. Mean age was 44.8 ± 16.0 years. Median duration of follow-up was 2.6 years (range: 0–36). Sixty persons (30.9%) carried the exon 3 deletion and 46 (23.7%) the c.423 + 1G > A mutation. Fifty-four mutation carriers (27.8%) had one or multiple head and neck paragangliomas, 4 (2.1%) had a pheochromocytoma and 26 (13.4%) had one or more sympathetic paragangliomas. Fifteen patients (7.7%) developed metastatic paraganglioma and 17 (8.8%) developed non-paraganglionic tumors. At study close, there were 111 (57.2%) unaffected mutation carriers. Statistical analyses showed no significant differences in the number and location of head and neck paragangliomas, sympathetic paragangliomas or pheochromocytomas, nor in the occurrence of metastatic disease or other tumors between carriers of the two founder SDHB mutations (exon 3 deletion vs c.423+ 1G > A).

Conclusions

In this nationwide study of disease-affected and unaffected SDHB mutation carriers, we observed a lower rate of metastatic disease and a relatively high number of head and neck paragangliomas compared with previously reported referral-based cohorts.