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Open access

Lia Ferreira, João Silva, Susana Garrido, Carlos Bello, Diana Oliveira, Hélder Simões, Isabel Paiva, Joana Guimarães, Marta Ferreira, Teresa Pereira, Rita Bettencourt-Silva, Ana Filipa Martins, Tiago Silva, Vera Fernandes, Maria Lopes Pereira, and Adrenal Tumors Study Group of the Portuguese Society of Endocrinology

Introduction

Primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) is a rare but severe and potentially life-threatening condition. No previous studies have characterized Portuguese patients with PAI.

Aims

To characterize the clinical presentation, diagnostic workup, treatment and follow‐up of Portuguese patients with confirmed PAI.

Methods

This multicentre retrospective study examined PAI patients in 12 Portuguese hospitals.

Results

We investigated 278 patients with PAI (55.8% were females), with a mean age of 33.6 ± 19.3 years at diagnosis. The most frequent presenting clinical features were asthenia (60.1%), mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation (55.0%) and weight loss (43.2%); 29.1% of the patients presented with adrenal crisis. Diagnosis was established by high plasma ACTH and low serum cortisol in most patients (43.9%). The most common aetiology of PAI was autoimmune adrenalitis (61.0%). There were 38 idiopathic cases. Autoimmune comorbidities were found in 70% of the patients, the most frequent being autoimmune thyroiditis (60.7%) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (17.3%). Seventy-nine percent were treated with hydrocortisone (mean dose 26.3 ± 8.3 mg/day) mostly in three (57.5%) or two (37.4%) daily doses. The remaining patients were treated with prednisolone (10.1%), dexamethasone (6.2%) and methylprednisolone (0.7%); 66.2% were also on fludrocortisone (median dose of 100 µg/day). Since diagnosis, 33.5% of patients were hospitalized for disease decompensation. In the last appointment, 17.2% of patients had complaints (7.6% asthenia and 6.5% depression) and 9.7% had electrolyte disturbances.

Conclusion

This is the first multicentre Portuguese study regarding PAI. The results emphasize the need for standardization in diagnostic tests and etiological investigation and provide a framework for improving treatment.

Open access

Nilesh Lomte, Tushar Bandgar, Shruti Khare, Swati Jadhav, Anurag Lila, Manjunath Goroshi, Rajeev Kasaliwal, Kranti Khadilkar, and Nalini S Shah

Background

Bilateral adrenal masses may have aetiologies like hyperplasia and infiltrative lesions, besides tumours. Hyperplastic and infiltrative lesions may have coexisting hypocortisolism. Bilateral tumours are likely to have hereditary/syndromic associations. The data on clinical profile of bilateral adrenal masses are limited.

Aims

To analyse clinical, biochemical and radiological features, and management outcomes in patients with bilateral adrenal masses.

Methods

Retrospective analysis of 70 patients with bilateral adrenal masses presenting to a single tertiary care endocrine centre from western India (2002–2015).

Results

The most common aetiology was pheochromocytoma (40%), followed by tuberculosis (27.1%), primary adrenal lymphoma (PAL) (10%), metastases (5.7%), non-functioning adenomas (4.3%), primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (4.3%), and others (8.6%). Age at presentation was less in patients with pheochromocytoma (33 years) and tuberculosis (41 years) compared with PAL (48 years) and metastases (61 years) (P<0.001). The presenting symptoms for pheochromocytoma were hyperadrenergic spells (54%) and abdominal pain (29%), whereas tuberculosis presented with adrenal insufficiency (AI) (95%). The presenting symptoms for PAL were AI (57%) and abdominal pain (43%), whereas all cases of metastasis had abdominal pain. Mean size of adrenal masses was the largest in lymphoma (5.5cm) followed by pheochromocytoma (4.8cm), metastasis (4cm) and tuberculosis (2.1cm) (P<0.001). Biochemically, most patients with pheochromocytoma (92.8%) had catecholamine excess. Hypocortisolism was common in tuberculosis (100%) and PAL (71.4%) and absent with metastases (P<0.001).

Conclusion

In evaluation of bilateral adrenal masses, age at presentation, presenting symptoms, lesion size, and biochemical features are helpful in delineating varied underlying aetiologies.

Open access

Mardia López-Alarcón, Jessie N Zurita-Cruz, Alonso Torres-Rodríguez, Karla Bedia-Mejía, Manuel Pérez-Güemez, Leonel Jaramillo-Villanueva, Mario E Rendón-Macías, Jose R Fernández, and Patricia Martínez-Maroñas

Childhood obesity is associated with stress. However, most treatment strategies include only dietary and physical activity approaches. Mindfulness may assist in weight reduction, but its effectiveness is unclear. We assessed the effect of mindfulness on stress, appetite regulators, and weight of children with obesity and anxiety. A clinical study was conducted in a pediatric hospital. Eligible children were 10–14 years old, BMI ≥95th percentile, Spence anxiety score ≥55, and who were not taking any medication or supplementation. Participants were assigned to receive an 8-week conventional nutritional intervention (CNI) or an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention plus CNI (MND-CNI). Anthropometry, body composition, leptin, insulin, ghrelin, cortisol, and Spence scores were measured at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Anthropometry was analyzed again 8 weeks after concluding interventions. Log-transformed and delta values were calculated for analysis. Thirty-three MND-CNI and 12 CNI children finished interventions; 17 MND-CNI children accomplished 16 weeks. At the end of the intervention, significant reductions in anxiety score (−6.21 ± 1.10), BMI (−0.45 ± 1.2 kg/m2), body fat (−1.28 ± 0.25%), ghrelin (−0.71 ± 0.37 pg/mL), and serum cortisol (−1.42 ± 0.94 µg/dL) were observed in MND-CNI children. Changes in anxiety score, ghrelin, and cortisol were different between groups (P < 0.05). Children who completed 16 weeks decreased BMI after intervention (−0.944 ± 0.20 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and remained lower 8 weeks later (−0.706 ± 0.19 kg/m2, P = 0.001). We concluded that mindfulness is a promising tool as an adjunctive therapy for childhood obesity. However, our findings need confirmation in a larger sample population.

Open access

Lawrence D Hayes, Peter Herbert, Nicholas F Sculthorpe, and Fergal M Grace

As the impact of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on systemic hormones in aging men is unstudied to date, we investigated whether total testosterone (TT), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), free testosterone (free-T) and cortisol (all in serum) were altered following HIIT in a cohort of 22 lifelong sedentary (62 ± 2 years) older men. As HIIT requires preconditioning exercise in sedentary cohorts, participants were tested at three phases, each separated by six-week training; baseline (phase A), following conditioning exercise (phase B) and post-HIIT (phase C). Each measurement phase used identical methods. TT was significantly increased following HIIT (~17%; P < 0.001) with most increase occurring during preconditioning (~10%; P = 0.007). Free-T was unaffected by conditioning exercise (P = 0.102) but was significantly higher following HIIT compared to baseline (~4.5%; P = 0.023). Cortisol remained unchanged from A to C (P = 0.138). The present data indicate a combination of preconditioning, and HIIT increases TT and SHBG in sedentary older males, with the HIIT stimulus accounting for a small but statistically significant increase in free-T. Further study is required to determine the biological importance of small improvements in free-T in aging men.

Open access

R Walia, M Singla, K Vaiphei, S Kumar, and A Bhansali

Objective

To study the clinical profile and the management of patients with disorders of sex development (DSD).

Design and setting

Retrospective study from a tertiary care hospital of North India.

Methods and patients

One hundred ninety-four patients of DSD registered in the Endocrine clinic of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh between 1995 and 2014 were included.

Results

One hundred and two patients (52.5%) had 46,XY DSD and seventy-four patients (38.1%) had 46,XX DSD. Sex chromosome DSD was identified in seven (3.6%) patients. Of 102 patients with 46,XY DSD, 32 (31.4%) had androgen insensitivity syndrome and 26 (25.5%) had androgen biosynthetic defect. Of the 74 patients with 46,XX DSD, 52 (70.27%) had congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and eight (10.8%) had ovotesticular DSD. Five patients with sex chromosome DSD had mixed gonadal dysgenesis. Excluding CAH, majority of the patients (90%) presented in the post-pubertal period. One-fourth of the patients with simple virilising CAH were reared as males because of strong male gender identity and behaviour and firm insistence by the parents. Corrective surgeries were performed in twenty patients (20%) of 46,XY DSD without hormonal evaluation prior to the presentation.

Conclusion

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is the most common DSD in the present series. Most common XY DSD is androgen insensitivity syndrome, while CAH is the most common XX DSD. Delayed diagnosis is a common feature, and corrective surgeries are performed without seeking a definite diagnosis.

Open access

Robert I Menzies, Xin Zhao, Linda J Mullins, John J Mullins, Carolynn Cairns, Nicola Wrobel, Donald R Dunbar, Matthew A Bailey, and Christopher J Kenyon

Chronic ACTH exposure is associated with adrenal hypertrophy and steroidogenesis. The underlying molecular processes in mice have been analysed by microarray, histological and immunohistochemical techniques. Synacthen infused for 2 weeks markedly increased adrenal mass and plasma corticosterone levels. Microarray analysis found greater than 2-fold changes in expression of 928 genes (P < 0.001; 397 up, 531 down). These clustered in pathways involved in signalling, sterol/lipid metabolism, cell proliferation/hypertrophy and apoptosis. Signalling genes included some implicated in adrenal adenomas but also upregulated genes associated with cyclic AMP and downregulated genes associated with aldosterone synthesis. Sterol metabolism genes were those promoting cholesterol supply (Scarb1, Sqle, Apoa1) and disposal (Cyp27a1, Cyp7b1). Oil red O staining showed lipid depletion consistent with reduced expression of genes involved in lipid synthesis. Genes involved in steroidogenesis (Star, Cyp11a1, Cyp11b1) were modestly affected (P < 0.05; <1.3-fold). Increased Ki67, Ccna2, Ccnb2 and Tk1 expression complemented immunohistochemical evidence of a 3-fold change in cell proliferation. Growth arrest genes, Cdkn1a and Cdkn1c, which are known to be active in hypertrophied cells, were increased >4-fold and cross-sectional area of fasciculata cells was 2-fold greater. In contrast, genes associated with apoptosis (eg Casp12, Clu,) were downregulated and apoptotic cells (Tunel staining) were fewer (P < 0.001) and more widely distributed throughout the cortex. In summary, long-term steroidogenesis with ACTH excess is sustained by genes controlling cholesterol supply and adrenal mass. ACTH effects on adrenal morphology and genes controlling cell hypertrophy, proliferation and apoptosis suggest the involvement of different cell types and separate molecular pathways.

Open access

Peter Wolf, Yvonne Winhofer, Martin Krššák, and Michael Krebs

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in general population. Besides well-known risk factors such as hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance and dyslipidemia, growing evidence suggests that hormonal changes in various endocrine diseases also impact the cardiac morphology and function. Recent studies highlight the importance of ectopic intracellular myocardial and pericardial lipid deposition, since even slight changes of these fat depots are associated with alterations in cardiac performance. In this review, we overview the effects of hormones, including insulin, thyroid hormones, growth hormone and cortisol, on heart function, focusing on their impact on myocardial lipid metabolism, cardiac substrate utilization and ectopic lipid deposition, in order to highlight the important role of even subtle hormonal changes for heart function in various endocrine and metabolic diseases.

Open access

Ermina Bach, Niels Møller, Jens Otto L Jørgensen, Mads Buhl, and Holger Jon Møller

Aims/hypothesis

The macrophage-specific glycoprotein sCD163 has emerged as a biomarker of low-grade inflammation in the metabolic syndrome and related disorders. High sCD163 levels are seen in acute sepsis as a result of direct lipopolysaccharide-mediated shedding of the protein from macrophage surfaces including Kupffer cells. The aim of this study was to investigate if low-grade endotoxinemia in human subjects results in increasing levels of sCD163 in a cortisol-dependent manner.

Methods

We studied eight male hypopituitary patients and eight age- and gender-matched healthy controls during intravenous low-dose LPS or placebo infusion administered continuously over 360 min. Furthermore, we studied eight healthy volunteers with bilateral femoral vein and artery catheters during a 360-min infusion with saline and low-dose LPS in each leg respectively.

Results:

Systemic low-grade endotoxinemia resulted in a gradual increase in sCD163 from 1.65 ± 0.51 mg/L (placebo) to 1.92 ± 0.46 mg/L (LPS) at 220 min, P = 0.005 and from 1.66 ± 0.42 mg/L (placebo) to 2.19 ± 0.56 mg/L (LPS) at 340 min, P = 0.006. A very similar response was observed in hypopituitary patients: from 1.59 ± 0.53 mg/L (placebo) to 1.83 ± 0.45 mg/L (LPS) at 220 min, P = 0.021 and from 1.52 ± 0.53 mg/L (placebo) to 2.03 ± 0.44 mg/L (LPS) at 340 min, P < 0.001. As opposed to systemic treatment, continuous femoral artery infusion did not result in increased sCD163.

Conclusion:

Systemic low-grade endotoxinemia resulted in increased sCD163 to levels seen in the metabolic syndrome in both controls and hypopituitary patients. This suggests a direct and cortisol-independent effect of LPS on the shedding of sCD163. We observed no effect of local endotoxinemia on levels of serum sCD163.

Open access

Hauke Thomsen, Xinjun Li, Kristina Sundquist, Jan Sundquist, Asta Försti, and Kari Hemminki

Design

Addison’s disease (AD) is a rare autoimmune disease (AID) of the adrenal cortex, present as an isolated AD or part of autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes (APSs) 1 and 2. Although AD patients present with a number of AID co-morbidities, population-based family studies are scarce, and we aimed to carry out an unbiased study on AD and related AIDs.

Methods

We collected data on patients diagnosed with AIDs in Swedish hospitals and calculated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) in families for concordant AD and for other AIDs, the latter as discordant relative risks.

Results

The number of AD patients was 2852, which accounted for 0.4% of all hospitalized AIDs. A total of 62 persons (3.6%) were diagnosed with familial AD. The SIR for siblings was remarkably high, reaching 909 for singleton siblings diagnosed before age 10 years. It was 32 in those diagnosed past age 29 years and the risk for twins was 323. SIR was 9.44 for offspring of affected parents. AD was associated with 11 other AIDs, including thyroid AIDs and type 1 diabetes and some rarer AIDs such as Guillain–Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, polymyalgia rheumatica and Sjögren’s syndrome.

Conclusions

The familial risk for AD was very high implicating genetic etiology, which for juvenile siblings may be ascribed to APS-1. The adult part of sibling risk was probably contributed by recessive polygenic inheritance. AD was associated with many common AIDs; some of these were known co-morbidities in AD patients while some other appeared to more specific for a familial setting.

Open access

Kate E Lines, Mahsa Javid, Anita A C Reed, Gerard V Walls, Mark Stevenson, Michelle Simon, Kreepa G Kooblall, Sian E Piret, Paul T Christie, Paul J Newey, Ann-Marie Mallon, and Rajesh V Thakker

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), an autosomal dominant disorder caused by MEN1 germline mutations, is characterised by parathyroid, pancreatic and pituitary tumours. MEN1 mutations also cause familial isolated primary hyperparathyroidism (FIHP), a milder condition causing hyperparathyroidism only. Identical mutations can cause either MEN1 or FIHP in different families, thereby implicating a role for genetic modifiers in altering phenotypic expression of tumours. We therefore investigated the effects of genetic background and potential for genetic modifiers on tumour development in adult Men1+/- mice, which develop tumours of the parathyroids, pancreatic islets, anterior pituitary, adrenal cortex and gonads, that had been backcrossed to generate C57BL/6 and 129S6/SvEv congenic strains. A total of 275 Men1+/- mice, aged 5–26 months were macroscopically studied, and this revealed that genetic background significantly influenced the development of pituitary, adrenal and ovarian tumours, which occurred in mice over 12 months of age and more frequently in C57BL/6 females, 129S6/SvEv males and 129S6/SvEv females, respectively. Moreover, pituitary and adrenal tumours developed earlier, in C57BL/6 males and 129S6/SvEv females, respectively, and pancreatic and testicular tumours developed earlier in 129S6/SvEv males. Furthermore, glucagon-positive staining pancreatic tumours occurred more frequently in 129S6/SvEv Men1+/- mice. Whole genome sequence analysis of 129S6/SvEv and C57BL/6 Men1+/- mice revealed >54,000 different variants in >300 genes. These included, Coq7, Dmpk, Ccne2, Kras, Wnt2b, Il3ra and Tnfrsf10a, and qRT-PCR analysis revealed that Kras was significantly higher in pituitaries of male 129S6/SvEv mice. Thus, our results demonstrate that Kras and other genes could represent possible genetic modifiers of Men1.