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Ricardo Correa, Paraskevi Salpea and Constantine A Stratakis

Carney complex (CNC) is a rare autosomal dominant syndrome, characterized by pigmented lesions of the skin and mucosa, cardiac, cutaneous and other myxomas and multiple endocrine tumors. The disease is caused by inactivating mutations or large deletions of the PRKAR1A gene located at 17q22–24 coding for the regulatory subunit type I alpha of protein kinase A (PKA) gene. Most recently, components of the complex have been associated with defects of other PKA subunits, such as the catalytic subunits PRKACA (adrenal hyperplasia) and PRKACB (pigmented spots, myxomas, pituitary adenomas). In this report, we review CNC, its clinical features, diagnosis, treatment and molecular etiology, including PRKAR1A mutations and the newest on PRKACA and PRKACB defects especially as they pertain to adrenal tumors and Cushing's syndrome.

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Ricardo Correa, Mihail Zilbermint, Annabel Berthon, Stephanie Espiard, Maria Batsis, Georgios Z Papadakis, Paraskevi Xekouki, Maya B Lodish, Jerome Bertherat, Fabio R Faucz and Constantine A Stratakis

Objective

Primary macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (PMAH) is a rare type of Cushing's syndrome (CS) that results in increased cortisol production and bilateral enlargement of the adrenal glands. Recent work showed that the disease may be caused by germline and somatic mutations in the ARMC5 gene, a likely tumor suppressor gene (TSG). We investigated 20 different adrenal nodules from one patient with PMAH for ARMC5 somatic sequence changes.

Design

All of the nodules were obtained from a single patient who underwent bilateral adrenalectomy. DNA was extracted by standard protocol and the ARMC5 sequence was determined by the Sanger method.

Results

Sixteen of 20 adrenocortical nodules harbored, in addition to what appeared to be the germline mutation, a second somatic variant. The p.Trp476* sequence change was present in all 20 nodules, as well as in normal tissue from the adrenal capsule, identifying it as the germline defect; each of the 16 other variants were found in different nodules: six were frame shift, four were missense, three were nonsense, and one was a splice site variation. Allelic losses were confirmed in two of the nodules.

Conclusion

This is the most genetic variance of the AR MC5 gene ever described in a single patient with PMAH: each of 16 adrenocortical nodules had a second new, ‘private,’ and – in most cases – completely inactivating ARMC5 defect, in addition to the germline mutation. The data support the notion that ARMC5 is a TSG that needs a second, somatic hit, to mediate tumorigenesis leading to polyclonal nodularity; however, the driver of this extensive genetic variance of the second ARMC5 allele in adrenocortical tissue in the context of a germline defect and PMAH remains a mystery.

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Marcio Carlos Machado, Sandra Valeria de Sa, Maria Lucia Correa-Giannella, Ricardo Rodrigues Giorgi, Maria Adelaide Albergaria Pereira, Valter Angelo S Cescato, Daniel Giannella-Neto and Luiz Roberto Salgado

Objective

GH secretagogues (GHS) produce exaggerated ACTH and cortisol responses in Cushing's disease (CD) patients, attributable to their direct action on GH-releasing peptide receptor type 1a (GHSR-1a). However, there are no studies correlating the in vivo response to GHS and GHSR-1a mRNA expression in ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome (CS) patients. The aim of this study is to correlate the patterns of ACTH and cortisol response to GH-releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) to GHSR-1a expression in ACTH-dependent CS patients.

Design

Prospective study in a tertiary referral hospital center. Fifteen CD patients and two ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS) patients were studied.

Methods

Tumor fragments were submitted to RNA extraction, and GHSR-1a expression was studied through real-time qPCR and compared with normal tissue samples. The patients were also submitted to desmopressin test and vasopressin receptor type 1B (AVPR1B) mRNA analysis by qPCR.

Results

GHSR-1a expression was similar in normal pituitary samples and in corticotrophic tumor samples. GHSR-1a expression was higher in patients (CD and EAS) presenting in vivo response to GHRP-6. Higher expression of AVPR1B was observed in the EAS patients responsive to desmopressin, as well as in corticotrophic tumors, as compared with normal pituitary samples, but no correlation between AVPR1B expression and response to desmopressin was observed in the CD patients.

Conclusions

Our results revealed a higher expression of GHSR-1a in the ACTH-dependent CS patients responsive to GHRP-6, suggesting an association between receptor gene expression and in vivo response to the secretagogue in both the CD and the EAS patients.