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Marcus Quinkler, Robert D Murray, Pinggao Zhang, Claudio Marelli, Robert Petermann, Andrea M. Isidori, and Bertil Ekman

Objective: This study aimed to characterize the clinical and biochemical features of patients with primary (PAI) and secondary (SAI) adrenal insufficiency who developed adrenal crises (ACs) and estimate the incidence of ACs in these patients.

Design: Retrospective case-control analysis of the European Adrenal Insufficiency Registry (EU-AIR; NCT01661387).

Methods: 2694 patients with AI (1054 PAI; 1640 SAI) enrolled in EU-AIR. Patients who developed ≥1 AC were matched 1:3 with patients without ACs for age, sex and AI type. Data were collected at baseline and follow-up (mean±SD: PAI 3.2±1.7 years; SAI 2.9±1.7 years).

Results: 148/2694 patients (5.5%; n=84 PAI; n=64 SAI) had an AC during the study: 6.53 (PAI) and 3.17 (SAI) ACs/100 patient-years. Of patients who experienced an AC, 16% (PAI) and 9.4% (SAI) experienced ≥1 AC/year. The incidence of adverse events, infectious intercurrent illnesses and infectious serious adverse events were higher in patients with ACs than without ACs.

No differences were observed in BMI, HbA1c, blood pressure and frequencies of diabetes mellitus or hypertension between subgroups (PAI and SAI, with and without ACs). At baseline, PAI patients with AC had higher serum potassium (4.3±0.5 vs 4.2±0.4mmol/L; P=0.03) and lower sodium (138.5±3.4 vs 139.7±2.9mmol/L; P=0.004) than patients without AC. At last observation, SAI patients with AC had higher hydrocortisone doses than patients without AC (11.9±5.1 vs 10.1±2.9mg/m2; P<0.001).

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that concomitant diseases and cardiovascular risk factors do not feature in the risk profile of AC; however, patients with AC had a higher incidence of infectious events.

Restricted access

Nikolaos Kyriakakis, Nikoletta Pechlivani, Julie Lynch, Natalie Oxley, Fladia Phoenix, Khyatisha Seejore, Steve M Orme, Ramzi Ajjan, and Robert D Murray

Objective

There remains increased cardiovascular mortality in patients with acromegaly. This study aims to evaluate whether GH/IGF-1 excess increases vascular disease by adversely affecting fibrin network characteristics.

Design

Cross-sectional study in 40 patients with acromegaly (21 males, age 53 ± 13 years) and 40 age/gender-matched controls.

Methods

Clot structure was analysed using a validated turbidimetric assay and fibrin networks were visualised by laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM). Metabolic profile parameters, body composition, plasma fibrinogen and PAI-1 were also assessed.

Results

Twenty-two patients had active acromegaly and 18 were in remission. There was no difference in qualitative patient characteristics between the two groups. Both groups had less favourable body composition and cardiovascular risk profile compared with controls. Despite no difference in clot formation and lysis parameters between the two patient groups, active disease patients had higher fibrinogen and clot maximum absorbance compared with controls, after adjusting for BMI (3.8 ± 0.2 vs 2.6 ± 0.2 mg/mL, P < 0.001; and 0.39 ± 0.02 vs 0.33 ± 0.01 arbitrary units, P = 0.03, respectively). Patients in remission had higher fibrinogen compared with controls following adjustment for BMI (3.3 ± 0.2 vs 2.6 ± 0.2 mg/mL, P = 0.02) but not clot maximum absorbance (0.35 ± 0.03 vs 0.33 ± 0.02 arbitrary units, P = 0.6). LSCM showed increased fibrin network density only in active disease patients, consistent with turbidimetric analysis. In addition to active disease, BMI, fat mass and skinfold thickness were associated with higher clot density and longer lysis time.

Conclusions

Patients with active acromegaly have more compact clots, thus conferring increased thrombosis risk. Prothrombotic fibrin networks may represent one mechanism for enhanced vascular risk in active acromegaly.

Free access

Mark Sherlock, Lucy Ann Behan, Mark J Hannon, Aurora Aragon Alonso, Christopher J Thompson, Robert D Murray, Nicola Crabtree, Beverly A Hughes, Wiebke Arlt, Amar Agha, Andrew A Toogood, and Paul M Stewart

Context

Patients with hypopituitarism have increased morbidity and mortality. There is ongoing debate about the optimum glucocorticoid (GC) replacement therapy.

Objective

To assess the effect of GC replacement in hypopituitarism on corticosteroid metabolism and its impact on body composition.

Design and patients

We assessed the urinary corticosteroid metabolite profile (using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) and body composition (clinical parameters and full body DXA) of 53 patients (19 female, median age 46 years) with hypopituitarism (33 ACTH-deficient/20 ACTH-replete) (study A). The corticosteroid metabolite profile of ten patients with ACTH deficiency was then assessed prospectively in a cross over study using three hydrocortisone (HC) dosing regimens (20/10 mg, 10/10 mg and 10/5 mg) (study B) each for 6 weeks. 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (11β-HSD1) activity was assessed by urinary THF+5α-THF/THE.

Setting

Endocrine Centres within University Teaching Hospitals in the UK and Ireland.

Main outcome measures

Urinary corticosteroid metabolite profile and body composition assessment.

Results

In study A, when patients were divided into three groups – patients not receiving HC and patients receiving HC≤20 mg/day or HC>20 mg/day – patients in the group receiving the highest daily dose of HC had significantly higher waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) than the ACTH replete group. They also had significantly elevated THF+5α-THF/THE (P=0.0002) and total cortisol metabolites (P=0.015). In study B, patients on the highest HC dose had significantly elevated total cortisol metabolites and all patients on HC had elevated THF+5α-THF/THE ratios when compared to controls.

Conclusions

In ACTH-deficient patients daily HC doses of >20 mg/day have increased WHR, THF+5α-THF/THE ratios and total cortisol metabolites. GC metabolism and induction of 11β-HSD1 may play a pivitol role in the development of the metabolically adverse hypopituitary phenotype.