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Open access

Clara Odilia Sailer, Sophia Julia Wiedemann, Konrad Strauss, Ingeborg Schnyder, Wiebke Kristin Fenske, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Osmotic stimulus or stress results in vasopressin release. Animal and human in vitro studies have shown that inflammatory parameters, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), increase in parallel in the central nervous system and bronchial, corneal or intestinal epithelial cell lines in response to osmotic stimulus. Whether osmotic stimulus directly causes a systemic inflammatory response in humans is unknown. We therefore investigated the influence of osmotic stimulus on circulatory markers of systemic inflammation in healthy volunteers. In this prospective cohort study, 44 healthy volunteers underwent a standardized test protocol with an osmotic stimulus leading into the hyperosmotic/hypernatremic range (serum sodium ≥150 mmol/L) by hypertonic saline infusion. Copeptin – a marker indicating vasopressin activity – serum sodium and osmolality, plasma IL-8 and TNF-α were measured at baseline and directly after osmotic stimulus. Median (range) serum sodium increased from 141 mmol/L (136, 147) to 151 mmol/L (145, 154) (P < 0.01), serum osmolality increased from 295 mmol/L (281, 306) to 315 mmol/L (304, 325) (P < 0.01). Median (range) copeptin increased from 4.3 pg/L (1.1, 21.4) to 28.8 pg/L (19.9, 43.4) (P < 0.01). Median (range) IL-8 levels showed a trend to decrease from 0.79 pg/mL (0.37, 1.6) to 0.7 pg/mL (0.4, 1.9) (P < 0.09) and TNF-α levels decreased from 0.53 pg/mL (0.11, 1.1) to 0.45 pg/mL (0.12, 0.97) (P < 0.036). Contrary to data obtained in vitro, circulating proinflammatory cytokines tend to or decrease in human plasma after osmotic stimulus. In this study, osmotic stimulus does not increase circulating markers of systemic inflammation.

Open access

Kush Dev Singh Jarial, Anil Bhansali, Vivek Gupta, Paramjeet Singh, Kanchan K Mukherjee, Akhilesh Sharma, Rakesh K Vashishtha, Suja P Sukumar, Naresh Sachdeva, and Rama Walia

Context

Bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling (BIPSS) using hCRH is currently considered the ‘gold standard’ test for the differential diagnosis of ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome (CS). Vasopressin is more potent than CRH to stimulate ACTH secretion as shown in animal studies; however, no comparative data of its use are available during BIPSS.

Objective

To study the diagnostic accuracy and comparison of hCRH and lysine vasopressin (LVP) stimulation during BIPSS.

Patients and methods

29 patients (27-Cushing’s disease, 2-ectopic CS; confirmed on histopathology) underwent BIPSS and were included for the study. Patients were randomized to receive hCRH, 5 U LVP or 10 U LVP during BIPSS for ACTH stimulation. BIPSS and contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CEMRI) were compared with intra-operative findings of trans-sphenoidal surgery (TSS) for localization and lateralization of the ACTH source.

Results

BIPSS correctly localized the source of ACTH excess in 29/29 of the patients with accuracy of 26/26 patients, using any of the agent, whereas sensitivity and PPV for lateralization with hCRH, 5 U LVP and 10 U LVP was seen in 10/10, 6/10; 10/10,8/10 and 7/7,6/7 patients respectively. Concordance of BIPSS with TSS was seen in 20/27, CEMRI with BIPSS in 16/24 and CEMRI with TSS in 18/24 of patients for lateralizing the adenoma. Most of the side effects were transient and were comparable in all the three groups.

Conclusion

BIPSS using either hCRH or LVP (5 U or 10 U) confirmed the source of ACTH excess in all the patients, while 10 U LVP correctly lateralized the pituitary adenoma in three fourth of the patients.

Open access

Janko Sattler, Jinwen Tu, Shihani Stoner, Jingbao Li, Frank Buttgereit, Markus J Seibel, Hong Zhou, and Mark S Cooper

Patients with chronic immune-mediated arthritis exhibit abnormal hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. The basis for this abnormality is not known. Immune-mediated arthritis is associated with increased extra-adrenal synthesis of active glucocorticoids by the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) enzyme. 11β-HSD1 is expressed in the central nervous system, including regions involved in HPA axis regulation. We examined whether altered 11β-HSD1 expression within these regions contributes to HPA axis dysregulation during arthritis. The expression of 11β-HSD1, and other components of glucocorticoid signaling, were examined in various brain regions and the pituitary gland of mice with experimentally induced arthritis. Two arthritis protocols were employed: The K/BxN spontaneous arthritis model for chronic arthritis and the K/BxN serum transfer arthritis model for acute arthritis. 11β-HSD1 mRNA (Hsd11b1) was expressed in the hippocampus, hypothalamus, cortex, cerebellum and pituitary gland. Hypothalamic Hsd11b1 expression did not change in response to arthritis in either model. Pituitary Hsd11b1 expression was however significantly increased in both chronic and acute arthritis models. Hippocampal Hsd11b1 was decreased in acute but not chronic arthritis. Chronic, but not acute, arthritis was associated with a reduction in hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone and arginine vasopressin expression. In both models, serum adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone levels were no different from non-inflammatory controls. These findings demonstrate inflammation-dependent regulation of Hsd11b1 expression in the pituitary gland and hippocampus. The upregulation of 11β-HSD1 expression in the pituitary during both chronic and acute arthritis, and thus, an increase in glucocorticoid negative feedback, could contribute to the abnormalities in HPA axis activity seen in immune-mediated arthritis.

Open access

Milena Kloter, Claudia Gregoriano, Ellen Haag, Alexander Kutz, Beat Mueller, and Philipp Schuetz

Objective

Systemic infections and sepsis lead to strong activation of the vasopressin system, which is pivotal for stimulation of the endocrine stress response and, in addition, has vasoconstrictive and immunomodulatory effects. Our aim was to assess the significance of the vasopressor system through measurement of C-terminal proAVP (copeptin) regarding mortality prediction in a large prospective cohort of patients with systemic infection.

Design and methods

This secondary analysis of the observational cohort TRIAGE study included consecutive, adult, medical patients with an initial diagnosis of infection seeking emergency department care. We used multivariable regression analysis to assess associations of copeptin levels in addition to the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score with 30-day mortality. Discrimination was assessed by calculation of the area under the curve (AUC).

Results

Overall, 45 of 609 (7.4%) patients with infection died within 30 days. Non-survivors had a marked upregulation of the vasopressin system with a more than four-fold increase in admission copeptin levels compared to non-survivors (199.9 ± 204.7 vs 46.6 ± 77.2 pmol/L). In a statistical model, copeptin was significantly associated with mortality (adjusted odds ratio of 1.04, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.07, P = 0.002). Regarding discrimination, copeptin alone showed an AUC of 0.82, while adding copeptin to the SOFA score significantly improved its prognostic ability (AUC 0.83 vs 0.86, P = 0.027).

Conclusion

Activation of the vasopressin system mirrored by an increase in copeptin levels provided significant information regarding mortality risk and improved the SOFA score for prediction of sepsis mortality.

Open access

Anastasia P Athanasoulia-Kaspar, Kathrin H Popp, and Gunter Karl Stalla

The dopaminergic treatment represents the primary treatment in prolactinomas, which are the most common pituitary adenomas and account for about 40% of all pituitary tumours with an annual incidence of six to ten cases per million population. The dopaminergic treatment includes ergot and non-ergot derivatives with high affinity for the dopamine receptors D1 or/and D2. Through the activation of the dopaminergic pathway on pituitary lactotrophs, the dopamine agonists inhibit the prolactin synthesis and secretion, therefore normalizing the prolactin levels and restoring eugonadism, but they also lead to tumour shrinkage. Treatment with dopamine agonists has been associated – apart from the common side effects such as gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness and hypotension – with neuropsychiatric side effects such as impulse control disorders (e.g. pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, hypersexuality and binge eating) and also with behavioral changes from low mood, irritability and verbal aggressiveness up to psychotic and manic symptoms and paranoid delusions not only in patients with prolactinomas but also in patients with Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome. They usually have de novo onset after initiation of the dopaminergic treatment and have been mainly reported in patients with Parkinson’s disease, who are being treated with higher doses of dopamine agonists. Moreover, dopamine and prolactin seem to play an essential role in the metabolic pathway. Patients with hyperprolactinemia tend to have increased body weight and an altered metabolic profile with hyperinsulinemia and increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus in comparison to healthy individuals and patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas. Treatment with dopamine agonists in these patients in short-term studies seems to lead to weight loss and amelioration of the metabolic changes. Together these observations provide evidence that dopamine and prolactin have a crucial role both in the regard and metabolic system, findings that merit further investigation in long-term studies.

Open access

Anastasia K Armeni, Konstantinos Assimakopoulos, Dimitra Marioli, Vassiliki Koika, Euthychia Michaelidou, Niki Mourtzi, Gregoris Iconomou, and Neoklis A Georgopoulos

Over the past decades, research attention has increasingly been paid to the neurobiological component of sexual behavior. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation of estrogen receptor α (ERA) gene polymorphism (rs2234693-PvuII) (T→C substitution) and oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism (rs53576) (G→A substitution) with sexuality parameters of young, healthy women. One hundred thirty-three Greek heterosexual women, students in higher education institutions, 20–25 years of age, sexually active, with normal menstrual cycles (28–35 days), were recruited in the study. Exclusion criteria were chronic and/or major psychiatric diseases, use of oral contraceptive pills (OCs), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid diseases as well as drugs that are implicated in hypothalamus–pituitary–gonadal axis. T allele (wildtype) of rs2234693 (PvuII) polymorphism of ERA gene was correlated with increased levels of arousal and lubrication, whereas A allele (polymorphic) of rs53576 (OXTR) polymorphism was correlated with increased arousal levels. The simultaneous presence of both T allele of rs2234693 (PvuII) and A allele of rs53576 (OXTR) polymorphisms (T + A group) was correlated with increased arousal, orgasm levels as well as female sexual function index full score. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the interaction between ERA and OXTR with regard to sexual function in women. Female sexuality is a complex behavioral trait that encompasses both biological and psychological components. It seems that variability in female sexual response stems from genetic variability that characterizes endocrine, neurotransmitter and central nervous system influences.

Open access

M von Wolff, C T Nakas, M Tobler, T M Merz, M P Hilty, J D Veldhuis, A R Huber, and J Pichler Hefti

Humans cannot live at very high altitude for reasons, which are not completely understood. Since these reasons are not restricted to cardiorespiratory changes alone, changes in the endocrine system might also be involved. Therefore, hormonal changes during prolonged hypobaric hypoxia were comprehensively assessed to determine effects of altitude and hypoxia on stress, thyroid and gonadal hypothalamus–pituitary hormone axes. Twenty-one male and 19 female participants were examined repetitively during a high-altitude expedition. Cortisol, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), fT4 and fT3 and in males follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and total testosterone were analysed as well as parameters of hypoxemia, such as SaO2 and paO2 at 550 m (baseline) (n = 40), during ascent at 4844 m (n = 38), 6022 m (n = 31) and 7050 m (n = 13), at 4844 m (n = 29) after acclimatization and after the expedition (n = 38). Correlation analysis of hormone concentrations with oxygen parameters and with altitude revealed statistical association in most cases only with altitude. Adrenal, thyroid and gonadal axes were affected by increasing altitude. Adrenal axis and prolactin were first supressed at 4844 m and then activated with increasing altitude; thyroid and gonadal axes were directly activated or suppressed respectively with increasing altitude. Acclimatisation at 4844 m led to normalization of adrenal and gonadal but not of thyroid axes. In conclusion, acclimatization partly leads to a normalization of the adrenal, thyroid and gonadal axes at around 5000 m. However, at higher altitude, endocrine dysregulation is pronounced and might contribute to the physical degradation found at high altitude.

Open access

M de Fost, S M Oussaada, E Endert, G E Linthorst, M J Serlie, M R Soeters, J H DeVries, P H Bisschop, and E Fliers

The water deprivation test is the gold standard test to differentiate central or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (DI) from primary polydipsia (PP) in patients with polyuria and polydipsia. Few studies have addressed the diagnostic performance of this test. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the standard water deprivation test, including plasma arginine vasopressin (AVP) measurements, in 40 consecutive patients with polyuria. We compared initial test results with the final clinical diagnosis, i.e., no DI, central DI, or nephrogenic DI. The median length of follow-up was 8 years. In a subset of ten patients, the novel marker copeptin (CP) was measured in plasma. Using the final diagnosis as a gold standard, a threshold for urine osmolality of >800 mOsmol/kg after water deprivation yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 96 and 100%, respectively, for diagnosing PP. Sensitivity increased to 100% if the cut-off value for urine osmolality was set at 680 mOsmol/kg. Plasma AVP levels did not differ between patient groups and did not differentiate among central DI, nephrogenic DI, or PP. In all three patients with central DI, plasma CP was <2.5 pmol/l with plasma osmolality >290 mOsmol/kg, and >2.5 pmol/l in patients without DI. The optimal cut-off value for differentiating PP from DI during a water deprivation test was urine osmolality >680 mOsmol/kg. Differentiating between central and nephrogenic DI should be based on clinical judgment as AVP levels did not discriminate.

Open access

S E Baldeweg, S Ball, A Brooke, H K Gleeson, M J Levy, M Prentice, J Wass, and the Society for Endocrinology Clinical Committee

Cranial diabetes insipidus (CDI) is a treatable chronic condition that can potentially develop into a life-threatening medical emergency. CDI is due to the relative or absolute lack of the posterior pituitary hormone vasopressin (AVP), also known as anti-diuretic hormone. AVP deficiency results in uncontrolled diuresis. Complete deficiency can lead to polyuria exceeding 10 L/24 h. Given a functioning thirst mechanism and free access to water, patients with CDI can normally maintain adequate fluid balance through increased drinking. Desmopressin (DDAVP, a synthetic AVP analogue) reduces uncontrolled water excretion in CDI and is commonly used in treatment. Critically, loss of thirst perception (through primary pathology or reduced consciousness) or limited access to water (through non-availability, disability or inter-current illness) in a patient with CDI can lead to life-threatening dehydration. This position can be further exacerbated through the omission of DDAVP. Recent data have highlighted serious adverse events (including deaths) in patients with CDI. These adverse outcomes and deaths have occurred through a combination of lack of knowledge and treatment failures by health professionals. Here, with our guideline, we recommend treatment pathways for patients with known CDI admitted to hospital. Following these guidelines is essential for the safe management of patients with CDI.

Open access

Milica Popovic, Fahim Ebrahimi, Sandrine Andrea Urwyler, Marc Yves Donath, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) was suggested to contribute to cardiovascular risk and type 2 diabetes in patients with metabolic syndrome. The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1 is able to induce AVP secretion and plays a causal role in cardiovascular mortality and type 2 diabetes. We investigated in two studies whether copeptin levels – the surrogate marker for AVP – are regulated by IL-1-mediated chronic inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome. Study A was a prospective, interventional, single-arm study (2014–2016). Study B was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study (2016–2017). n = 73 (Study A) and n = 66 (Study B) adult patients with metabolic syndrome were treated with 100 mg anakinra or placebo (only in study B) twice daily for 1 day (study A) and 28 days (study B). Fasting blood samples were drawn at day 1, 7, and 28 of treatment for measurement of serum copeptin. Patients with chronic low-grade inflammation (C-reactive protein levels ≥2 mg/L) and BMI >35 kg/m2 had higher baseline copeptin levels (7.7 (IQR 4.9–11.9) vs 5.8 (IQR 3.9–9.3) pmol/L, P inflamm = 0.009; 7.8 (IQR 5.4–11.7) vs 4.9 (IQR 3.7–9.8) pmol/L, P BMI = 0.008). Copeptin levels did not change either in the anakinra or in the placebo group and remained stable throughout the treatment (P = 0.44). Subgroup analyses did not reveal effect modifications. Therefore, we conclude that, although IL-1-mediated inflammation is associated with increased circulating copeptin levels, antagonizing IL-1 does not significantly alter copeptin levels in patients with metabolic syndrome.