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Open access

Benedetta Zampetti, Erika Grossrubatscher, Paolo Dalino Ciaramella, Edoardo Boccardi, and Paola Loli

Simultaneous bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling (BIPSS) plays a crucial role in the diagnostic work-up of Cushing’s syndrome. It is the most accurate procedure in the differential diagnosis of hypercortisolism of pituitary or ectopic origin, as compared with clinical, biochemical and imaging analyses, with a sensitivity and specificity of 88–100% and 67–100%, respectively. In the setting of hypercortisolemia, ACTH levels obtained from venous drainage of the pituitary are expected to be higher than the levels of peripheral blood, thus suggesting pituitary ACTH excess as the cause of hypercortisolism. Direct stimulation of the pituitary corticotroph with corticotrophin-releasing hormone enhances the sensitivity of the procedure. The procedure must be undertaken in the presence of hypercortisolemia, which suppresses both the basal and stimulated secretory activity of normal corticotrophic cells: ACTH measured in the sinus is, therefore, the result of the secretory activity of the tumor tissue. The poor accuracy in lateralization of BIPSS (positive predictive value of 50–70%) makes interpetrosal ACTH gradient alone not sufficient for the localization of the tumor. An accurate exploration of the gland is recommended if a tumor is not found in the predicted area. Despite the fact that BIPSS is an invasive procedure, the occurrence of adverse events is extremely rare, particularly if it is performed by experienced operators in referral centres.

Open access

Sweta Budyal, Swati Sachin Jadhav, Rajeev Kasaliwal, Hiren Patt, Shruti Khare, Vyankatesh Shivane, Anurag R Lila, Tushar Bandgar, and Nalini S Shah

Variable prevalence of subclinical Cushing's syndrome (SCS) has been reported in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), making the need for screening in this population uncertain. It is unknown if this variability is solely due to study-related methodological differences or a reflection of true differences in ethnic predisposition. The objective of this study is to explore the prevalence of SCS in Asian Indian patients with T2DM. In this prospective single center study conducted in a tertiary care referral center, 993 T2DM outpatients without any discriminatory clinical features (easy bruising, facial plethora, proximal muscle weakness, and/or striae) of hypercortisolism underwent an overnight 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (ODST). ODST serum cortisol ≥1.8 μg/dl was considered positive, and those with positive results were subjected to 48 h, 2 mg/day low dose DST (LDDST). A stepwise evaluation for endogenous hypercortisolism was planned for patients with LDDST serum cortisol ≥1.8 μg/dl. Patients with positive ODST and negative LDDST were followed up clinically and re-evaluated a year later for the development of clinically evident Cushing's syndrome (CS). In this largest single center study reported to date, we found 37 out of 993 (3.72%) patients had ODST serum cortisol ≥1.8 μg/dl. None of them had LDDST cortisol ≥1.8 μg/dl, nor did they develop clinically evident CS over a follow-up period of 1 year. Specificity of ODST for screening of CS was 96.3% in our cohort. None of the T2DM outpatients in our cohort had SCS, hence cautioning against routine biochemical screening for SCS in this cohort. We suggest screening be based on clinical suspicion only.

Open access

Lang Qin, Xiaoming Zhu, Xiaoxia Liu, Meifang Zeng, Ran Tao, Yan Zhuang, Yiting Zhou, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yehong Yang, Yiming Li, Yongfei Wang, and Hongying Ye

Introduction

The purpose of the study was to describe lipid profile and explore pathogenetic role of LDL-c on hypertension in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD). Hypertension is a common feature in patients with CD. Previous study found low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) uptake in vascular cells might be involved in vascular remodeling in patients with CD. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between lipid profile and the blood pressure in patients with CD.

Methods

This retrospective study included 84 patients referred to Huashan Hospital for the evaluation and diagnosis of CD from January 2012 to December 2013. All subjects had detailed clinical evaluation by the same group of endocrinology specialists to avoid subjective influences.

Results

We found that high LDL-c patients had significant higher body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), cholesterol (CHO), triglyceride (TG), and apolipoproteinB (apoB) (P < 0.05). An association was detected between SBP values and lipids profile including CHO, TG, LDL-c, apolipoproteinA (apoA), apoB and lipoprotein(a) (LP(a)). After adjustment for all covariates, the LDL-c remained positively associated with SBP. In patients with or without taking statins, patients with LDL-c ≥3.37 mmol/L had higher SBP than patients with LDL-c <3.37 mmol/L. Then, LDL-c was coded using restricted cubic splines (RCS) function with three knots located at the 5th, 50th and 95th percentiles of the distribution of LDL-c. Compared to individuals with 3.215 mmol/L of LDL-c, individuals with 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 mmol/L of LDL-c had differences of 3.86, 8.53 and 14.11 mmHg in SBP, respectively.

Conclusions

An independent association between LDL-c and SBP was found in patients with CD. We speculate that LDL-c may be a pathogenic factor for hypertension in those patients.

Open access

Nidan Qiao

Introduction

It is unclear whether the proportions of remission and the recurrence rates differ between endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (TS) and microscopic TS in Cushing’s disease (CD); thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate studies of endoscopic TS and microscopic TS.

Methods

We conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed to identify relevant studies. Remission and recurrence were used as outcome measures following surgical treatment of CD.

Results

A total of 24 cohort studies involving 1670 adult patients were included in the comparison. Among these studies, 702 patients across 9 studies underwent endoscopic TS, and 968 patients across 15 studies underwent microscopic TS. Similar baseline characteristics were observed in both groups. There was no significant difference in remission between the two groups: 79.7% (95% CI: 73.1–85.0%) in the endoscopic group and 76.9% (95% CI: 71.3–81.6%) in the microscopic group (P = 0.485). It appears that patients who underwent endoscopic surgery experience recurrence less often than patients who underwent microscopic surgery, with recurrence proportions of 11.0% and 15.9%, respectively (P = 0.134). However, if follow-up time is taken into account, both groups had a recurrence rate of approximately 4% per person per year (95% CI: 3.1–5.4% and 3.6–5.1%, P = 0.651).

Conclusions

We found that remission proportion and recurrence rate were the same in patients who underwent endoscopic TS as in patients who underwent microscopic TS. The definition of diagnosis, remission and recurrence should always be considered in the studies assessing therapeutic efficacy in CD.

Open access

Prachi Bansal, Anurag Lila, Manjunath Goroshi, Swati Jadhav, Nilesh Lomte, Kunal Thakkar, Atul Goel, Abhidha Shah, Shilpa Sankhe, Naina Goel, Neelam Jaguste, Tushar Bandgar, and Nalini Shah

Purpose

Transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) is the primary treatment modality for Cushing’s disease (CD). However, the predictors of post-operative remission and recurrence remain debatable. Thus, we studied the post-operative remission and long-term recurrence rates, as well as their respective predictive factors.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of case records of 230 CD patients who underwent primary microscopic TSS at our tertiary care referral centre between 1987 and 2015 was undertaken. Demographic features, pre- and post-operative hormonal values, MRI findings, histopathological features and follow-up data were recorded. Remission and recurrence rates as well as their respective predictive factors were studied.

Results

Overall, the post-operative remission rate was 65.6% (early remission 46%; delayed remission 19.6%), while the recurrence rate was 41% at mean follow-up of 74 ± 61.1 months (12–270 months). Significantly higher early remission rates were observed in patients with microadenoma vs macroadenoma (51.7% vs 30.6%, P = 0.005) and those with unequivocal vs equivocal MRI for microadenoma (55.8% vs 38.5%, P = 0.007). Patients with invasive macroadenoma had poorer (4.5% vs 45%, P = 0.001) remission rates. Recurrence rates were higher in patients with delayed remission than those with early remission (61.5% vs 30.8%, P = 0.001). Duration of post-operative hypocortisolemia ≥13 months predicted sustained remission with 100% specificity and 46.4% sensitivity. Recurrence could be detected significantly earlier (27.7 vs 69.2 months, P < 0.001) in patients with available serial follow-up biochemistry as compared to those with infrequent follow-up after remission.

Conclusion

In our study, remission and recurrence rates were similar to that of reported literature, but proportion of delayed remission was relatively higher. Negative/equivocal MRI findings and presence of macroadenoma, especially those with cavernous sinus invasion were predictors of poor remission rates. In addition to early remission, longer duration of post-operative hypocortisolism is an important predictor of sustained remission. Regular biochemical surveillance may help in identifying recurrence early.

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

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

Hershel Raff and Hariprasad Trivedi

Objective

Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) can display the features of endogenous hypercortisolism but are difficult to evaluate for Cushing's syndrome. We evaluated the circadian rhythm of plasma compared with salivary cortisol in subjects with ESRD.

Design

Plasma and salivary cortisol and plasma ACTH samples were drawn frequently over 24 h in an inpatient research unit in stable ESRD subjects on daytime chronic hemodialysis (n=16) vs controls (n=8).

Methods

Plasma cortisol was measured every 2 h from 0800 to 0600 h the following day. Salivary cortisol was measured every 2 h, except between 2400 and 0400 h (sleep time). Plasma ACTH measured in a subset of samples and C-reactive protein (CRP) was measured as a marker of a subclinical inflammatory state in all subjects.

Results

ESRD subjects had a discernable circadian rhythm in plasma and salivary cortisol, but with a significantly higher nadir (1800–2400 h) compared with the controls (P=0.016–<0.001). After excluding four ESRD subjects without a normal circadian rhythm, the ESRD subjects still had higher nadir plasma and salivary cortisol and plasma ACTH compared with controls. There was no difference in the correlation of salivary and plasma cortisol in control vs ESRD subjects. ESRD subjects had higher CRP levels compared with controls.

Conclusions

ESRD subjects had increased late-night plasma and salivary cortisol and plasma ACTH levels. Late-night salivary cortisol is a reliable index of plasma cortisol in ESRD patients.

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.