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  • Author: Vrinda Saraff x
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Vrinda Saraff and Wolfgang Högler

Osteoporosis in children can be primary or secondary due to chronic disease. Awareness among paediatricians is vital to identify patients at risk of developing osteoporosis. Previous fractures and backaches are clinical predictors, and low cortical thickness and low bone density are radiological predictors of fractures. Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a rare disease and should be managed in tertiary paediatric units with the necessary multidisciplinary expertise. Modern OI management focuses on functional outcomes rather than just improving bone mineral density. While therapy for OI has improved tremendously over the last few decades, this chronic genetic condition has some unpreventable, poorly treatable and disabling complications. In children at risk of secondary osteoporosis, a high degree of suspicion needs to be exercised. In affected children, further weakening of bone should be avoided by minimising exposure to osteotoxic medication and optimising nutrition including calcium and vitamin D. Early intervention is paramount. However, it is important to identify patient groups in whom spontaneous vertebral reshaping and resolution of symptoms occur to avoid unnecessary treatment. Bisphosphonate therapy remains the pharmacological treatment of choice in both primary and secondary osteoporosis in children, despite limited evidence for its use in the latter. The duration and intensity of treatment remain a concern for long-term safety. Various new potent antiresorptive agents are being studied, but more urgently required are studies using anabolic medications that stimulate bone formation. More research is required to bridge the gaps in the evidence for management of paediatric osteoporosis.

Open access

Jan Idkowiak, Yasir S Elhassan, Pascoe Mannion, Karen Smith, Rachel Webster, Vrinda Saraff, Timothy G Barrett, Nicholas G Shaw, Nils Krone, Renuka P Dias, Melanie Kershaw, Jeremy M Kirk, Wolfgang Högler, Ruth E Krone, Michael W O'Reilly and Wiebke Arlt

Objective: Androgen excess in childhood is a common presentation and may signify sinister underlying pathology. Data describing its patterns and severity are scarce, limiting the information available for clinical decision processes. Here, we examined the differential diagnostic value of serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), androstenedione (A4), and testosterone (T) in childhood androgen excess.

Design: Retrospective review of all children undergoing serum androgen measurement at a single center over 5 years.

Methods: Serum A4 and T were measured by tandem mass spectrometry, DHEAS by immunoassay. Patients with at least one increased androgen underwent phenotyping by clinical notes review.

Results: In 487 children with simultaneous DHEAS, A4, and T measurements, we identified 199 with androgen excess (140 pre- and 59 post-pubertal). Premature adrenarche (PA) was the most common pre-pubertal diagnosis (61%), characterized by DHEAS excess in 85%, while A4 and T were only increased in 26% and 9%, respectively. PCOS was diagnosed in 40% of post-pubertal subjects, presenting equally frequent with isolated excess of DHEAS (29%) or T (25%) or increases in both A4 and T (25%). CAH patients (6%) predominantly had A4 excess (86%); T and DHEAS were increased in 50% and 33%, respectively. Concentrations increased above the two-fold upper limit of normal were mostly observed in PA for serum DHEAS (>20fold in the single case of adrenocortical carcinoma), and in CAH for serum androstenedione.

Conclusions: Patterns and severity of childhood androgen excess provides pointers to the underlying diagnosis and can be used to guide further investigations.

Open access

Susanne Thiele, Giovanna Mantovani, Anne Barlier, Valentina Boldrin, Paolo Bordogna, Luisa De Sanctis, Francesca M Elli, Kathleen Freson, Intza Garin, Virginie Grybek, Patrick Hanna, Benedetta Izzi, Olaf Hiort, Beatriz Lecumberri, Arrate Pereda, Vrinda Saraff, Caroline Silve, Serap Turan, Alessia Usardi, Ralf Werner, Guiomar Perez de Nanclares and Agnès Linglart

Objective

Disorders caused by impairments in the parathyroid hormone (PTH) signalling pathway are historically classified under the term pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP), which encompasses rare, related and highly heterogeneous diseases with demonstrated (epi)genetic causes. The actual classification is based on the presence or absence of specific clinical and biochemical signs together with an in vivo response to exogenous PTH and the results of an in vitro assay to measure Gsa protein activity. However, this classification disregards other related diseases such as acrodysostosis (ACRDYS) or progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH), as well as recent findings of clinical and genetic/epigenetic background of the different subtypes. Therefore, the EuroPHP network decided to develop a new classification that encompasses all disorders with impairments in PTH and/or PTHrP cAMP-mediated pathway.

Design and methods

Extensive review of the literature was performed. Several meetings were organised to discuss about a new, more effective and accurate way to describe disorders caused by abnormalities of the PTH/PTHrP signalling pathway.

Results and conclusions

After determining the major and minor criteria to be considered for the diagnosis of these disorders, we proposed to group them under the term ‘inactivating PTH/PTHrP signalling disorder’ (iPPSD). This terminology: (i) defines the common mechanism responsible for all diseases; (ii) does not require a confirmed genetic defect; (iii) avoids ambiguous terms like ‘pseudo’ and (iv) eliminates the clinical or molecular overlap between diseases. We believe that the use of this nomenclature and classification will facilitate the development of rationale and comprehensive international guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of iPPSDs.