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B Trultzsch, T Nebel and R Paschke

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H Gharib, E Papini and R Paschke

In 2006, two major society-sponsored guidelines and one major consensus statement for thyroid diagnosis and management were published by: the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/Associazione Medici Endocrinologi (AACE/AME); the American Thyroid Association (ATA); and the European Thyroid Association (ETA). A careful review of these guidelines reveals that despite many similarities, significant differences are also present, likely reflecting differences in practice patterns, interpretation of existing data, and availability of resources in different regions. The methodology of the guidelines is similar, but a few differences in the rating scale make a rapid comparison of the strength of both evidence and recommendations difficult for the use in current clinical practice. Some recommendations are based mostly on experts' opinion. Thus, a same recommendation may be based on a different evidence; on the other hand, sometimes the same evidence may induce a different recommendation. Therefore, efforts are needed to produce a few high-quality clinical studies to close the evidence gaps in the still controversial fields of thyroid disease and to create a joint task force of the most authoritative societies in the field of thyroid disease in order to reach a common document for clinical practice recommendations.

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J. TEUBER, R. PASCHKE, R. SCHMEIDL, J. CHRISTOPHEL and U. SCHWEDES

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S Miedlich, K Krohn, P Lamesch, A Muller and R Paschke

OBJECTIVES: Investigation of small numbers of parathyroid tumours by X-chromosome inactivation analysis suggests that the majority of them are monoclonal lesions most likely caused by a somatic mutation. Somatic mutations in the MEN1 gene located on chromosome 11q13 have recently been identified in 12-17% of solitary parathyroid tumours in patients with sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism, and they may be the precipitating genetic defect leading to monoclonal cell proliferation in these tumours. DESIGN: To determine the prevalence of MEN1 gene mutations in monoclonal parathyroid neoplasias we investigated 33 parathyroid tumours of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism for clonality and mutations in the MEN1 gene. METHODS: X-chromosome inactivation analysis was used to assess the clonal status of the tumours, direct sequencing of the complete coding region was applied to identify mutations in the MEN1 gene. RESULTS: Twenty-eight female patients (26 patients with solitary adenoma, 2 patients with hyperplasia) were informative for the polymorphism of the androgen receptor on the X-chromosome and could be tested for inactivation pattern. Nineteen of twenty-six (73%) solitary adenomas were monoclonal. Somatic mutations in the MEN1 gene were identified in nine cases. Six of them were found in the relatively large second exon of the MEN1 gene (A49D, 193del36, 402delC, 482del22, 547delT, W126X). One was found in exon 5 (904del9), one in exon 7 (Y327X) and one in exon 9 (R415X). Of the monoclonal tumours, 5 out of 19 (26%) harboured a somatic MEN1 gene mutation. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, 73% of the solitary parathyroid adenomas were monoclonal. In 26% of the monoclonal tumours a somatic MEN1 gene mutation has been identified. However, for 74% of monoclonal tumours of the parathyroids the underlying genetic defects are still not known.

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M Fasshauer, J Klein, U Lossner and R Paschke

OBJECTIVE: Galectin-12 has recently been shown to be a predominantly adipocyte-expressed protein which is stimulated by insulin-sensitizing thiazolidinediones and possesses apoptosis-inducing activity. METHODS: To further clarify galectin-12 regulation and its potential involvement in the development of insulin resistance, 3T3-L1 adipocytes were chronically treated with various hormones known to impair insulin sensitivity, and galectin-12 mRNA was measured by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: Treatment of 3T3-L1 cells for 16 h with 10 micromol/l isoproterenol, 100 nmol/l insulin, 0.6 nmol/l tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), and 100 nmol/l dexamethasone reduced galectin-12 gene expression between 47% and 85%. These negative effects were dose-dependent with significant inhibition detectable at concentrations as low as 10 nmol/l isoproterenol, 0.06 nmol/l TNFalpha, and 1 nmol/l dexamethasone. Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of isoproterenol could be almost completely reversed by pretreatment with the beta-adrenergic antagonist propranolol and mimicked by stimulation of G(S)-proteins with cholera toxin or by activation of adenylyl cyclase with forskolin and dibutyryl-cAMP. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that galectin-12 is an adipocyte-expressed protein which is downregulated by various insulin resistance-inducing hormones. These findings imply a role for galectin-12 in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance.

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R. PASCHKE, J. TEUBER, U. SCHWEDES and K. H. USADEL

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M Bluher, K Krohn, H Wallaschofski, LE Braverman and R Paschke

OBJECTIVE: Apoptosis via the Fas pathway is a potential mechanism for thyroid tissue destruction leading to clinical hypothyroidism in Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). Recent studies reported contradictory results regarding the regulation of Fas/Fas ligand (FasL) expression by cytokines in vitro. We therefore determined the Fas and FasL gene expression in the BioBreeding/Worcester (BB/W) rat thyroiditis model, which can be regarded as a model for HT. METHODS: In order to obtain BB/W rats with spontaneous, iodine-induced or without lymphocytic thyroiditis (LT), rats were divided into 3 groups: 55-day-old rats after 24 days of iodine administration, 75-day-old rats after 45 days of iodine administration, and 101-day-old rats respectively. The gene expression of Fas, FasL, and interleukin (IL)-1beta was determined by Genescan fragment analysis using reverse polymerase chain reaction. Serum thyroglobulin (TG) antibody concentrations were measured and the extent of lymphocytic infiltration of one thyroid lobe was histologically graded. RESULTS: Fas and FasL gene expression was significantly higher in rats with LT and correlated with the extent of lymphocytic infiltration and the TG antibody level. There was no evidence that the expression of IL-1beta or other cytokines is related to the expression of Fas or its ligand. CONCLUSIONS: The increased expression of Fas and FasL in LT of BB/W rats suggests the involvement of the Fas pathway in the pathogenesis of LT in BB/W rats. However, in contrast to results of recent in vitro studies, in the BB/W rat Fas/FasL expression is not regulated by IL-2, -4, -6, -10, -12, interferon gamma, and tumor necrosis factor alpha.

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HP Holzapfel, B Bergner, P Wonerow and R Paschke

OBJECTIVE: Constitutively activating mutations of the thyrotrophin receptor (TSHR) are the main molecular cause of hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules (HTNs). The G protein coupling is an important and critical step in the TSHR signalling which mainly includes G(alpha)(s), G(alpha)(i) and G(alpha)(q)/11 proteins. DESIGN: We investigated the in vitro consequences of overexpressing G(alpha) proteins on signalling of the wild-type (WT) or mutated TSHR. Moreover, we investigated whether changes in G(alpha) protein expression are pathophysiologically relevant in HTNs or cold thyroid nodules (CTNs). METHODS: Wild-type TSH receptor and mutated TSH receptors were coexpressed with G(alpha)(s), G(alpha)(i) or G(alpha)(q)/11, and cAMP and inositol phosphate (IP) production was measured after stimulation with TSH. The expression of G(alpha)(s), G(alpha)(i) and G(alpha)(q)/11 proteins was examined by Western blotting in 28 HTNs and 14 CTNs. RESULTS: Coexpression of G(alpha)(s) with the WT TSH receptor in COS 7 cells significantly increased the basal and TSH-stimulated cAMP accumulation while coexpression of the G(alpha)(q) or G(alpha)11 protein significantly increased the production of cAMP and inositol triphosphate (IP(3)). The coexpression of the TSH receptor mutants (I486F, DEL613-621), known to couple constitutively to G(alpha)(s) and G(alpha)(q) with G(alpha)(s) and G(alpha)(q)/11, significantly increased the basal and stimulated cAMP and IP(3) accumulation. Coexpression of the TSH receptor mutant V556F with G(alpha)(s) only increased the basal and stimulated cAMP production while its coexpression with G(alpha)(q)/11 increased the basal and stimulated IP(3) signalling. The expression of G(alpha)(s) protein subunits determined by Western blotting was significantly decreased in 14 HTNs with a constitutively activating TSH receptor mutation in comparison with the corresponding surrounding tissue, while in 14 HTNs without TSH receptor or G(alpha)(s) protein mutation and in 14 CTNs the expression of G(alpha)(s) protein was not different compared with the surrounding tissue. The expression of G(alpha)(i) and G(alpha)(q)/11 proteins in HTNs or CTNs was not significantly different compared with the surrounding tissue. CONCLUSIONS: The reduced expression of G(alpha)(s) protein subunits in HTNs with TSHR mutations could act as a feedback mechanism to desensitise the chronically stimulated cAMP cascade. As G(alpha) protein expression was not significantly increased in the majority of CTNs and HTNs an influence of G(alpha) overexpression on TSH signalling could be excluded in these nodules.

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M Eszlinger, S Neumann, L Otto and R Paschke

BACKGROUND: The detection of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) by immunoassay is widely used to detect residual, recurring or metastatic thyroid carcinoma tIssue in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) after total thyroidectomy and radioiodine therapy. However, this method requires thyroid hormone withdrawal to increase sensitivity and is limited by the interference of anti-Tg antibodies. To solve these problems, the detection of Tg mRNA from circulating thyroid cells by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR has been suggested as an alternative method. However, different previous reports show discrepant conclusions as to the clinical usefulness of Tg mRNA quantification. METHODS: We compared three methods of blood collection and RNA extraction, and quantified Tg mRNA (by real time RT-PCR) in the peripheral blood of a) probands without thyroid disease (n=42), patients with b) thyroid autonomy (n=15), c) Graves' disease (n=22), d) euthyroid goiter (n=6), and in DTC-patients after thyroidectomy and radioiodine therapy e) with (n=16) and f) without (n=37) metastasis. As the use of citrate blood in combination with a subsequent separation of mononuclear cells showed a significantly better RNA yield than the extraction of RNA from EDTA or citrate blood without the separation of mononuclear cells, this was the method used. Total RNA was reverse transcribed with random hexamer primers and Tg mRNA was amplified by real time RT-PCR using specific primers and hybridization probes. The Tg mRNA concentrations were normalized to beta-actin mRNA concentrations. RESULTS: Mean circulating Tg mRNA for each group detailed above, expressed as the ratio of Tg to beta-actin concentrations x 1000, were: a) 2.3 (range 0.03-70.89), b) 0.25 (range 0.02-0.55), c) 0.31 (range 0.05-1.36), d) 0.18 (range 0.08-0.35), e) 0.57 (range 0.03-3.03) and f) 0.17 (range 0.02-0.60). Furthermore, we found no correlation between serum Tg and Tg mRNA. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, our data do not show significant differences in Tg mRNA expression between the investigated groups. Therefore, the detection and quantification of Tg mRNA in peripheral blood is unlikely to be suitable for the follow-up of DTC.

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R. Paschke, J. Teuber, U. Schwedes and K. H. Usadel

In several autoimmune diseases there is evidence for a possible role of antiidiotypic antibodies in the regulation of disease remission (Wasserman et al. 1982). In Graves' disease a significant increase in the incidence of circulating immune complexes in patients with negative TSI could be observed (Van der Heide et al. 1980). This finding has led to the suggestion that antiidiotypic antibodies may regulate the maintenance and re-establishment of a natural tolerance for the TSH-receptor.

Subsequently the production, biologic action and possible therapeutic implications of antiidiotypic antibodies in autoimmune thyroid disease could be demonstrated in two animal models (Zanetti et al. 1981; Islam et al. 1983). Recently antiidiotypic antibodies could be demonstrated in the sera of Graves' disease patients (Raines et al. 1985). Their presence correlated inversely with the presence of TSH receptor antibodies. To further elucidate the possible role of antiidiotypic antibodies for the regulation of remission in Graves' disease