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Open access

Milène Tetsi Nomigni, Sophie Ouzounian, Alice Benoit, Jacqueline Vadrot, Frédérique Tissier, Sylvie Renouf, Hervé Lefebvre, Sophie Christin-Maitre, and Estelle Louiset

Hirsutism induced by hyperandrogenism can be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, 21-hydroxylase (OH) deficiency or androgen-secreting tumors, including ovarian and adrenal tumors. Adrenal androgen-secreting tumors are frequently malignant. Adrenal oncocytomas represent rare causes of hyperandrogenism. The aim of the study was to investigate steroidogenic enzyme expression and steroid secretion in an androgen-secreting adrenal oncocytoma in a young woman presenting with hirsutism. Hyperandrogenism was diagnosed on the basis of elevated plasma Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone levels. Pelvic ultrasound was normal, CT scanning revealed a right adrenal mass. Androgens were assessed in adrenal and ovarian vein samples and proved a right adrenal origin. Adrenalectomy normalized androgen levels and the adrenal tumor was diagnosed as an oncocytoma. Real time-PCR, immunohistochemistry and cell culture studies were performed on tumor explants to investigate the steroid secretion profile. Among enzymes required for cortisol synthesis, 17α-OH and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (3β-HSD2) were highly expressed whereas 21-OH and 11β-OH were weakly produced at the mRNA and/or protein levels. Enzymes involved in testosterone production, 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3, were also detected. ACTH receptor was present in the tissue. Cortisol, Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone secretions by cultured cells were increased by ACTH. These results provide the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of abnormal expression profile of steroidogenic enzymes in an adrenocortical oncocytoma. Our results also indicate that Δ4-androstenedione hypersecretion resulted from high 17α-OH and 3β-HSD2 expression in combination with low expression of 21-OH and 11β-OH. Testosterone production was ascribed to occurrence of 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3. Finally, our results indicate that androgen secretion was stimulated by ACTH.

Open access

Yusaku Mori, Hiroyuki Shimizu, Hideki Kushima, Tomomi Saito, Munenori Hiromura, Michishige Terasaki, Masakazu Koshibu, Hirokazu Ohtaki, and Tsutomu Hirano

Nesfatin-1 is a novel anorexic peptide hormone that also exerts cardiovascular protective effects in rodent models. However, nesfatin-1 treatment at high doses also exerts vasopressor effects, which potentially limits its therapeutic application. Here, we evaluated the vasoprotective and vasopressor effects of nesfatin-1 at different doses in mouse models. Wild-type mice and those with the transgene nucleobindin-2, a precursor of nesfatin-1, were employed. Wild-type mice were randomly assigned to treatment with vehicle or nesfatin-1 at 0.2, 2.0 or 10 μg/kg/day (Nes-0.2, Nes-2, Nes-10, respectively). Subsequently, mice underwent femoral artery wire injury to induce arterial remodeling. After 4 weeks, injured arteries were collected for morphometric analysis. Compared with vehicle, nesfatin-1 treatments at 2.0 and 10 μg/kg/day decreased body weights and elevated plasma nesfatin-1 levels with no changes in systolic blood pressure. Furthermore, these treatments reduced neointimal hyperplasia without inducing undesirable remodeling in injured arteries. However, nesfatin-1 treatment at 0.2 μg/kg/day was insufficient to elevate plasma nesfatin-1 levels and showed no vascular effects. In nucleobindin-2-transgenic mice, blood pressure was slightly higher but neointimal area was lower than those observed in littermate controls. In cultured human vascular endothelial cells, nesfatin-1 concentration-dependently increased nitric oxide production. Additionally, nesfatin-1 increased AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, which was abolished by inhibiting liver kinase B1. We thus demonstrated that nesfatin-1 treatment at appropriate doses suppressed arterial remodeling without affecting blood pressure. Our findings indicate that nesfatin-1 can be a therapeutic target for improved treatment of peripheral artery disease.

Open access

Jean-Benoît Corcuff, Laurence Chardon, Ines El Hajji Ridah, and Julie Brossaud

Context

Biogenic amines such as 5-hydroxy-indole acetic acid (5HIAA) the main metabolite of serotonin or metanephrines (catecholamines metabolites) are used as biomarkers of neuroendocrine tumours.

Objective

To re-evaluate the recommendations for urinary sampling (preservatives, diet, drugs, etc.) as many of the reported analytical interferences supporting these recommendations are related to obsolete assays.

Methods

Bibliographic analysis of old and modern assays concerning preservation, extraction, assay and interferences.

Results

5HIAA may degrade as soon as urine is excreted. Thus, acids as preservatives (hydrochloric or acetic acid) have to be immediately added. Care should be taken not to decrease the pH under 2. Urine preservative for metanephrine assays is not mandatory. Diets including serotonin-, tryptophan- and dopamine-rich foods have to be avoided depending on the biomarkers investigated (bananas, plantain, nuts, etc.). Tryptophan-rich over-the-counter formulas have to be prohibited when 5HIAA has to be assayed. Acetaminophen may interfere with electrochemical detection depending on high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) parameters. No interference is known with mass spectrometric assays but with the one described for metanephrines determination. Some drugs interfere however with serotonin and catecholamines secretion and/or metabolism (monoamine oxidase inhibitors, serotonin or dopamine recapture inhibitors, etc.).

Conclusion

Revisited recommendations are provided for the diet, the drugs and the preservatives before HPLC coupled with electrochemical and mass spectrometry assays.

Open access

I Savchuk, M L Morvan, J P Antignac, K Gemzell-Danielsson, B Le Bizec, O Söder, and K Svechnikov

The onset of steroidogenesis in human fetal adrenal glands (HFA) during the first trimester is poorly investigated. An unresolved question is the capacity of the HFA to produce potent androgen DHT via conventional and/or the backdoor pathway(s) at the end of first trimester, when androgen-responsive organs are developed. Our aim was to explore steroidogenesis and the expression of steroidogenic enzymes and transcription factors in HFA at gestational weeks (GW) 9–12 with focus on their androgenic potential. Steroids in the HFA were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The expression of steroidogenic enzymes and transcription factors in the HFA at GW9–12 was investigated by qPCR, automated Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. We demonstrated that during GW9–12 HFA produced steroids of the ∆5, ∆4 and the backdoor pathways of the biosynthesis of DHT, though the latter was limited to production of 17α-OH-dihydroprogesterone, androsterone and androstanedione without further conversion to DHT. The only androgens identified in the HFA were testosterone and androsterone, a precursor in the biosynthesis of DHT. We also observed higher levels of CYP17A1 but low expression of 3βHSD2 at GW11–12 in the HFA. Elevated levels of CYP17A1 were associated with an increased expression of SF-1 and GATA-6. Altogether, our data demonstrate that of those steroids analyzed, the only potent androgen directly produced by the HFA at GW9–12 was testosterone. The onset of steroidogenesis in the HFA is a complex process that is regulated by the coordinated action of related transcription factors.

Open access

Eleftherios E. Deiktakis, Eleftheria Ieronymaki, Peter Zarén, Agnes Hagsund, Elin Wirestrand, Johan Malm, Christos Tsatsanis, Ilpo T Huhtaniemi, Aleksander Giwercman, and Yvonne Lundberg Giwercman

Objective: During androgen ablation in prostate cancer by the standard GnRH agonist treatment, only LH is permanently suppressed, while circulating FSH rebounds. We explored direct prostatic effects of add-back FSH, after androgen ablation with GnRH antagonist, permanently suppressing both gonadotropins.

Methods: The effects of recombinant human (rFSH) were examined in mice treated with vehicle (controls), GnRH antagonist degarelix (dgx), dgx + rFSH, dgx + flutamide, or dgx + rFSH + flutamide for four weeks. Prostates and testes sizes and expression of prostate-specific and/or androgen-responsive genes were measured. Additionally, 33 young men underwent dgx-treatment. Seventeen were supplemented with rFSH (weeks 1-5), and all with testosterone (weeks 4-5). Testosterone, gondotropins, PSA, and inhibin B was measured.

Results: In dgx and dgx + flutamide treated mice, prostate weight/body weight was 91% lower than in controls, but 41% and 11%, respectively, was regained by rFSH treatment (p=0.02). The levels of Svs6, Pbsn, Nkx3-1, Msmb and Inhibin b were elevated in dgx + rFSH treated animals compared with only dgx treated (all p<0.05). In men, serum inhibin B rose after dgx treatment but was subsequently suppressed by testosterone. rFSH add-back had no effect on PSA levels.

Conclusions: These data provide novel evidence for direct effects of FSH on prostate size and gene expression in chemically castrated mice. However, in chemically castrated men, FSH had no effect on PSA production. Whether FSH effects on prostate in humans also requires suppression of the residual adrenal-derived androgens and/or a longer period of rFSH stimulation, remains to be explored.

Open access

Emma Jernberg, Anders Bergh, and Pernilla Wikström

Prostate cancer (PC) remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men worldwide, despite continuously improved treatment strategies. Patients with metastatic disease are treated by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) that with time results in the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) usually established as metastases within bone tissue. The androgen receptor (AR) transcription factor is the main driver of CRPC development and of acquired resistance to drugs given for treatment of CRPC, while a minority of patients have CRPC that is non-AR driven. Molecular mechanisms behind epithelial AR reactivation in CRPC include AR gene amplification and overexpression, AR mutations, expression of constitutively active AR variants, intra-tumoural and adrenal androgen synthesis and promiscuous AR activation by other factors. This review will summarize AR alterations of clinical relevance for patients with CRPC, with focus on constitutively active AR variants, their possible association with AR amplification and structural rearrangements as well as their ability to predict patient resistance to AR targeting drugs. The review will also discuss AR signalling in the tumour microenvironment and its possible relevance for metastatic growth and therapy.

Open access

Stavroula A Paschou, Eleni Palioura, Dimitrios Ioannidis, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Argyro Panagiotakou, Vasiliki Loi, Georgios Karageorgos, Dimitrios G Goulis, and Andromachi Vryonidou

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of adrenal hyperandrogenism on insulin resistance and lipid profile in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Patients and methods

We studied 372 women with PCOS according to the NIH criteria. 232 age- and BMI-matched women served as controls in order to define adrenal hyperandrogenism (DHEA-S >95th percentile). Then, patients with PCOS were classified into two groups: with adrenal hyperandrogenism (PCOS-AH, n = 108) and without adrenal hyperandrogenism (PCOS-NAH, n = 264). Anthropometric measurements were recorded. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, lipid profile, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and androgen (TT, Δ4A, DHEA-S) concentrations were assessed. Free androgen index (FAI) and homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index were calculated.

Results

Women with PCOS-AH were younger than PCOS-NAH (P < 0.001), but did not differ in the degree and type of obesity. No differences were found in HOMA-IR, total cholesterol, HDL-c, LDL-c and triglyceride concentrations (in all comparisons, P > 0.05). These metabolic parameters did not differ between the two groups even after correction for age. Women with PCOS-AH had lower SHBG (29.2 ± 13.8 vs 32.4 ± 11.8 nmol/L, P = 0.025) and higher TT (1.0 ± 0.2 vs 0.8 ± 0.4 ng/mL, P = 0.05) and Δ4A (3.9 ± 1.2 vs 3.4 ± 1.0 ng/mL, P = 0.007) concentrations, as well as FAI (14.1 ± 8.0 vs 10.2 ± 5.0, P < 0.001). These results were confirmed by a multiple regression analysis model in which adrenal hyperandrogenism was negatively associated with age (P < 0.001) and SHBG concentrations (P = 0.02), but not with any metabolic parameter.

Conclusions

Women with PCOS and adrenal hyperandrogenism do not exhibit any deterioration in insulin resistance and lipid profile despite the higher degree of total androgens.

Open access

Takuhiro Sonoyama, Masakatsu Sone, Naohisa Tamura, Kyoko Honda, Daisuke Taura, Katsutoshi Kojima, Yorihide Fukuda, Naotetsu Kanamoto, Masako Miura, Akihiro Yasoda, Hiroshi Arai, Hiroshi Itoh, and Kazuwa Nakao

We recently reported that stimulation with high-dose ACTH caused different responses in terms of aldosterone secretion in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) and idiopathic hyperaldosteronism (IHA) in patients with primary aldosteronism (PA). However, the role of endogenous ACTH in aldosterone secretion in PA has not been systematically evaluated. In this study, we examined diurnal changes in plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC), and changes in PAC after dexamethasone administration in patients with suspected PA, in order to evaluate the effect of endogenous ACTH on aldosterone secretion. Seventy-three patients admitted to Kyoto University Hospital with suspected PA were included. The patients were classified into non-PA, IHA, and APA groups according to the results of captopril challenge test and adrenal venous sampling. PAC at 0900 h (PAC0900), 2300 h (PAC2300), and after 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test (PACdex) was measured and compared among the three groups. The PAC2300/PAC0900 and PACdex/PAC0900 ratios were also analyzed. PAC2300 and PACdex were lower than PAC0900 in all three groups. There were no significant differences in PAC2300/PAC0900 among the three groups. However, PACdex/PAC0900 was significantly lower in the APA group compared with the non-PA and IHA groups. The results of this study indicate that aldosterone secretion in APA patients is more strongly dependent on endogenous ACTH than in IHA and non-PA patients. The results also suggest that factors other than ACTH, such as clock genes, may cause diurnal changes in aldosterone secretion in IHA and non-PA patients.

Open access

Maria Angela D'amico, Barbara Ghinassi, Pascal Izzicupo, Lamberto Manzoli, and A Di Baldassarre

Chromogranin A (CgA (CHGA)) is the major soluble protein co-stored and co-released with catecholamines and can function as a pro-hormone by giving rise to several bioactive peptides. This review summarizes the physiological functions, the pathogenic implications, and the recent use of these molecules as biomarkers in several pathological conditions. A thorough literature review of the electronic healthcare databases MEDLINE, from January 1985 to September 2013, was conducted to identify articles and studies concerned with CgA and its processing. The search strategies utilized keywords such as chromogranin A, vasostatins 1 and 2, chromofungin, chromacin, pancreastatin, catestatin, WE14, chromostatin, GE25, parastatin, and serpinin and was supplemented by the screening of references from included papers and review articles. A total of 209 English-language, peer-reviewed original articles or reviews were examined. The analysis of the retrospective literature suggested that CgA and its several bioactive fragments exert a broad spectrum of regulatory activities by influencing the endocrine, the cardiovascular, and the immune systems and by affecting the glucose or calcium homeostasis. As some peptides exert similar effects, but others elicit opposite responses, the regulation of the CgA processing is critical to maintain homeostasis, whereas an unbalanced production of peptides that exert opposing effects can have a pathogenic role in several diseases. These clinical implications entail that CgA and its derived peptides are now used as diagnostic and prognostic markers or to monitor the response to pharmacological intervention not only in endocrine tumors, but also in cardiovascular, inflammatory, and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Open access

Michael J Gratz, Stavroula Stavrou, Christina Kuhn, Simone Hofmann, Kerstin Hermelink, Helene Heidegger, Stefan Hutter, Doris Mayr, Sven Mahner, Udo Jeschke, and Aurelia Vattai

Objectives

l-dopa decarboxylase (DDC) is responsible for the synthesis of dopamine. Dopamine, which binds to the D2-dopamine receptor (D2R), plays an important role in the maintenance of pregnancy. Aim of our study was the analysis of DDC and D2R expression in placentas of spontaneous miscarriages (SMs) and recurrent miscarriages (RMs) in comparison to healthy controls.

Methods

Patients with SM (n = 15) and RM (n = 15) were compared with patients from healthy pregnancies (n = 15) (pregnancy weeks 7–13 each). Placental tissue has been collected from SMs and RMs from the first trimester (Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, LMU Munich) and from abruptions (private practice, Munich). Placental cell lines, BeWo- and JEG-3 cells, were stimulated with the trace amines T0AM and T1AM in vitro.

Results

Levels of DDC and D2R in trophoblasts and the decidua were lower in RMs in comparison to healthy controls. Stimulation of BeWo cells with T1AM significantly reduced DDC mRNA and protein levels. Via double-immunofluorescence, a DDC-positive cell type beneath decidual stromal cells and foetal EVT in the decidua could be detected.

Conclusions

Downregulation of DDC and D2R in trophoblasts of RMs reflects a reduced signal cascade of catecholamines on the foetal side.