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.
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Clara Odilia Sailer, Sophia Julia Wiedemann, Konrad Strauss, Ingeborg Schnyder, Wiebke Kristin Fenske, and Mirjam Christ-Crain
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boni Xiang, Ran Tao, Xinhua Liu, Xiaoming Zhu, Min He, Zengyi Ma, Yehong Yang, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yiming Li, Zhenwei Yao, Yongfei Wang, and Hongying Ye
The aim of this study was to evaluate thyroid functions in Cushing’s syndrome (CS), the dynamic changes of thyroid hormones and antithyroid antibodies in Cushing’s disease (CD) pre- and postoperatively.
Design and methods
This is a retrospective study enrolling 118 patients with CS (102 CD, 10 adrenal CS and 6 ectopic adrenocorticotropic syndrome (EAS)). Thyroid functions (thyroid-stimulation hormone (TSH), T3, free T3 (FT3), T4 and free T4 (FT4)) were measured in all CS at the time of diagnosis and in all CD 3 months after transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection. Postoperative hormone monitoring within 3 months was conducted in 9 CD patients completing remission. Twenty-eight remitted CD patients experienced hormone and antithyroid antibody evaluation preoperatively and on the 3rd, 6th and 12th month after surgery.
TSH, T3 and FT3 were below the reference range in 31%, 69% and 44% of the 118 CS patients. Remitted CD patients (81/102) had significantly higher TSH (P = 0.000), T3 (P = 0.000) and FT3 (P = 0.000) than those in the non-remission group (21/102). After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 showed a significant increase, with a few cases above the reference range. By 12 months, most CD patients’ thyroid functions returned to normal. Thyroid hormones (including TSH, T3 and FT3) were negatively associated with serum cortisol levels both before and after surgery. No significant changes of antithyroid autoantibodies were observed.
TSH, T3 and FT3 are suppressed in endogenous hypercortisolemia. After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 increased significantly, even above the reference range, but returned to normal 1 year after surgery in most cases. Antithyroid antibodies did not change significantly after remission of CD.
Luca Persani, Biagio Cangiano, and Marco Bonomi
Central hypothyrodism (CeH) is a hypothyroid state caused by an insufficient stimulation by thyrotropin (TSH) of an otherwise normal thyroid gland. Several advancements, including the recent publication of expert guidelines for CeH diagnosis and management, have been made in recent years thus increasing the clinical awareness on this condition. Here, we reviewed the recent advancements and give expert opinions on critical issues. Indeed, CeH can be the consequence of various disorders affecting either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. Recent data enlarged the list of candidate genes for heritable CeH and a genetic origin may be the underlying cause for CeH discovered in pediatric or even adult patients without apparent pituitary lesions. This raises the doubt that the frequency of CeH may be underestimated. CeH is most frequently diagnosed as a consequence of the biochemical assessments in patients with hypothalamic/pituitary lesions. In contrast with primary hypothyroidism, low FT4 with low/normal TSH levels are the biochemical hallmark of CeH, and adequate thyroid hormone replacement leads to the suppression of residual TSH secretion. Thus, CeH often represents a clinical challenge because physicians cannot rely on the use of the ‘reflex TSH strategy’ for screening or therapy monitoring. Nevertheless, in contrast with general assumption, the finding of normal TSH levels may indicate thyroxine under-replacement in CeH patients. The clinical management of CeH is further complicated by the combination with multiple pituitary deficiencies, as the introduction of sex steroids or GH replacements may uncover latent forms of CeH or increase the thyroxine requirements.
Milena Kloter, Claudia Gregoriano, Ellen Haag, Alexander Kutz, Beat Mueller, and Philipp Schuetz
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).
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).
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.
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.
Amir Bashkin, Eliran Yaakobi, Marina Nodelman, and Ohad Ronen
TSH routine testing in hospitalized patients has low efficacy, but may be beneficial in a selected subgroup of patients. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of routine thyroid function tests among patients admitted to internal medicine departments. It is a retrospective study. A randomly selected cohort of hospitalized patients with abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood tests drawn as part of admission protocol. Patient data were collected from the electronic medical files and analyzed for its efficacy. TSH as a screening test was proven unnecessary in 75% (174) of the study population. Leading causes were non-thyroidal illness syndrome, drugs affecting the test results and subclinical disorders. TSH testing was found to be clinically helpful in only 9 patients; however, all of them had other clinical need for TSH testing. We found a clinically abnormal TSH in 20 patients, hypothyroidism in 11 patients and thyrotoxicosis in 9 patients. Low efficacy ascribed to TSH screening test by this study correlates with recent recommendations that indicate TSH screening in admitted patients only with accompanying clinical suspicion. Most probably, the majority of patients found by screening to have thyrotoxicosis have non-thyroidal illness or drug effects so the threshold for FT4 to diagnose overt thyrotoxicosis should be higher than that in ambulatory patients. In elderly patients, clinically relevant TSH disturbances are more frequent and are harder to diagnose, therefore, TSH screening in this group of patients might be beneficial.
Jiashu Li, Aihua Liu, Haixia Liu, Chenyan Li, Weiwei Wang, Cheng Han, Xinyi Wang, Yuanyuan Zhang, Weiping Teng, and Zhongyan Shan
Thyroid dysfunction is a frequently found endocrine disorder among reproductively aged women. Subclinical hypothyroidism is the most common condition of thyroid disorders during pregnancy and is defined as manifesting a thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration exceeding the trimester-specific reference value, with a normal free thyroxine concentration. Here, we evaluated the prospective association between spontaneous miscarriage and first-trimester thyroid function. We conducted a case–control study (421 cases and 1684 controls) that was nested. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), thyroid-peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) status were measured. We found that higher TSH was related to spontaneous miscarriage (OR 1.21; 95% CI, 1.13–1.30, P < 0.001). Compared with women with TSH levels of 0.4–<2.5 mIU/L, the risk of miscarriage was increased in women with TSH levels of 2.5–<4.87 mIU/L (OR 1.47; 95% CI, 1.16–1.87) and TSH greater than 4.87 mIU/L (OR 1.97; 95% CI, 1.22–3.18). After controlling for the confounding factor, TPOAb positivity status and FT4, the results were similar. The present study showed that higher TSH was associated with miscarriage in early pregnancy. In fact, TSH levels between 2.5 and 4.87 mIU/L increased the risk for miscarriage, with TSH greater than 4.87 mIU/L increasing the risk even further.
Alessandro Brancatella and Claudio Marcocci
Thyroid hormones stimulate bone turnover in adults by increasing osteoclastic bone resorption. TSH suppressive therapy is usually applied in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) to improve the disease outcome. Over the last decades several authors have closely monitored the potential harm suffered by the skeletal system. Several studies and meta-analyses have shown that chronic TSH suppressive therapy is safe in premenopausal women and men. Conversely, in postmenopausal women TSH suppressive therapy is associated with a decrease of bone mineral density, deterioration of bone architecture (quantitative CT, QCT; trabecular bone score, TBS), and, possibly, an increased risk of fractures. The TSH receptor is expressed in bone cells and the results of experimental studies in TSH receptor knockout mice and humans on whether low TSH levels, as opposed to solely high thyroid hormone levels, might contribute to bone loss in endogenous or exogenous thyrotoxicosis remain controversial. Recent guidelines on the use of TSH suppressive therapy in patients with DTC give value not only to its benefit on the outcome of the disease, but also to the risks associated with exogenous thyrotoxicosis, namely menopause, osteopenia or osteoporosis, age >60 years, and history of atrial fibrillation. Bone health (BMD and/or preferably TBS) should be evaluated in postmenopausal women under chronic TSH suppressive therapy or in those patients planning to be treated for several years. Antiresorptive therapy could also be considered in selected cases (increased risk of fracture or significant decline of BMD/TBS during therapy) to prevent bone loss.