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Open access

Rachel K Rowe, Benjamin M Rumney, Hazel G May, Paska Permana, P David Adelson, S Mitchell Harman, Jonathan Lifshitz, and Theresa C Thomas

As many as 20–55% of patients with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience chronic endocrine dysfunction, leading to impaired quality of life, impaired rehabilitation efforts and lowered life expectancy. Endocrine dysfunction after TBI is thought to result from acceleration–deceleration forces to the brain within the skull, creating enduring hypothalamic and pituitary neuropathology, and subsequent hypothalamic–pituitary endocrine (HPE) dysfunction. These experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that a single diffuse TBI results in chronic dysfunction of corticosterone (CORT), a glucocorticoid released in response to stress and testosterone. We used a rodent model of diffuse TBI induced by midline fluid percussion injury (mFPI). At 2months postinjury compared with uninjured control animals, circulating levels of CORT were evaluated at rest, under restraint stress and in response to dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticoid commonly used to test HPE axis regulation. Testosterone was evaluated at rest. Further, we assessed changes in injury-induced neuron morphology (Golgi stain), neuropathology (silver stain) and activated astrocytes (GFAP) in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. Resting plasma CORT levels were decreased at 2months postinjury and there was a blunted CORT increase in response to restraint induced stress. No changes in testosterone were measured. These changes in CORT were observed concomitantly with altered complexity of neuron processes in the PVN over time, devoid of neuropathology or astrocytosis. Results provide evidence that a single moderate diffuse TBI leads to changes in CORT function, which can contribute to the persistence of symptoms related to endocrine dysfunction. Future experiments aim to evaluate additional HP-related hormones and endocrine circuit pathology following diffuse TBI.

Open access

Earn H Gan, Wendy Robson, Peter Murphy, Robert Pickard, Simon Pearce, and Rachel Oldershaw

Background

The highly plastic nature of adrenal cortex suggests the presence of adrenocortical stem cells (ACSC), but the exact in vivo identity of ACSC remains elusive. A few studies have demonstrated the differentiation of adipose or bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) into steroid-producing cells. We therefore investigated the isolation of multipotent MSC from human adrenal cortex.

Methods

Human adrenals were obtained as discarded surgical material. Single-cell suspensions from human adrenal cortex (n = 3) were cultured onto either complete growth medium (CM) or MSC growth promotion medium (MGPM) in hypoxic condition. Following ex vivo expansion, their multilineage differentiation capacity was evaluated. Phenotype markers were analysed by immunocytochemistry and flow cytometry for cell-surface antigens associated with bone marrow MSCs and adrenocortical-specific phenotype. Expression of mRNAs for pluripotency markers was assessed by q-PCR.

Results

The formation of colony-forming unit fibroblasts comprising adherent cells with fibroblast-like morphology were observed from the monolayer cell culture, in both CM and MGPM. Cells derived from MGPM revealed differentiation towards osteogenic and adipogenic cell lineages. These cells expressed cell-surface MSC markers (CD44, CD90, CD105 and CD166) but did not express the haematopoietic, lymphocytic or HLA-DR markers. Flow cytometry demonstrated significantly higher expression of GLI1 in cell population harvested from MGPM, which were highly proliferative. They also exhibited increased expression of the pluripotency markers.

Conclusion

Our study demonstrates that human adrenal cortex harbours a mesenchymal stem cell-like population. Understanding the cell biology of adrenal cortex- derived MSCs will inform regenerative medicine approaches in autoimmune Addison’s disease.

Open access

Sofia S Pereira, Tiago Morais, Madalena M Costa, Mariana P Monteiro, and Duarte Pignatelli

Malignant adrenocortical tumors (ACTs) are rare and highly aggressive; conversely, benign tumors are common and frequently found incidentally (the so-called incidentalomas). Currently, the use of molecular markers in the diagnosis of ACTs is still controversial. The aim of this study was to analyze the molecular profile of different ACTs with the purpose of identifying markers useful for differentiating between these tumors. The ACTs that were studied (n=31) included nonfunctioning adenomas (ACAn)/incidentalomas (n=13), functioning adenomas with Cushing's syndrome (ACAc) (n=7), and carcinomas (n=11); normal adrenal glands (n=12) were used as controls. For each sample, the percentage area stained for the markers StAR, IGF2, IGF1R, p53, MDM2, p21, p27, cyclin D1, Ki-67, β-catenin, and E-cadherin was quantified using a morphometric computerized tool. IGF2, p27, cyclin D1, and Ki-67 were the markers for which the percentage of stained area was significantly higher in carcinoma samples than in adenoma samples. Ki-67 and p27 were the markers that exhibited the highest discriminative power for differential diagnosis between carcinomas and all type of adenomas, while IGF2 and StAR were only found to be useful for differentiating between carcinomas and ACAn and between carcinomas and ACAc respectively. The usefulness of Ki-67 has been recognized before in the differential diagnosis of malignant tumors. The additional use of p27 as an elective marker to distinguish benign ACTs from malignant ACTs should be considered.

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

Carla Scaroni, Nora M Albiger, Serena Palmieri, Davide Iacuaniello, Chiara Graziadio, Luca Damiani, Marialuisa Zilio, Antonio Stigliano, Annamaria Colao, Rosario Pivonello, and the Altogether to Beat Cushing’s Syndrome (ABC) study group

The distinction between pseudo-Cushing’s states (PCS) and Cushing’s syndrome (CS) poses a significant clinical challenge even for expert endocrinologists. A patient’s clinical history can sometimes help to distinguish between them (as in the case of alcoholic individuals), but the overlap in clinical and laboratory findings makes it difficult to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. We aim to describe the most common situations that can give rise to a condition resembling overt endogenous hypercortisolism and try to answer questions that physicians often face in clinical practice. It is important to know the relative prevalence of these different situations, bearing in mind that most of the conditions generating PCS are relatively common (such as metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome), while CS is rare in the general population. Physicians should consider CS in the presence of additional features. Appropriate treatment of underlying conditions is essential as it can reverse the hormonal abnormalities associated with PCS. Close surveillance and a thorough assessment of a patient’s hormone status will ultimately orient the diagnosis and treatment options over time.

Open access

Karim Gariani, Pedro Marques-Vidal, Gérard Waeber, Peter Vollenweider, and François R Jornayvaz

Background

Excessive glucocorticoid secretion has been associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and other features of the metabolic syndrome. We aimed to evaluate whether basal or evening salivary cortisol may predict the occurrence of incident insulin resistance (IR) or T2DM.

Method

This was a prospective, population-based study derived from the CoLaus/PsyCoLaus study including 1525 participants (aged 57.7 ± 10.3 years; 725 women). A total of 1149 individuals were free from T2DM at baseline. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin were measured after a follow-up of 5.3 years. Basal and evening salivary cortisol were measured at baseline. The association between basal or evening salivary cortisol level and incidence of IR or T2DM were analyzed by logistic regression, and the results were expressed for each independent variable as ORs and 95% CI.

Results

After a median follow-up of 5.3 years, a total of 376 subjects (24.7%) developed IR and 32 subjects (2.1%) developed T2DM. Basal and evening salivary cortisol divided in quartiles were not associated with incidence of IR or T2DM. Multivariable analysis for age, gender, body mass index, physical activity and smoking status showed no association between basal or evening salivary cortisol and incidence of IR or T2DM.

Conclusion

In the CoLaus/PsyCoLaus study of healthy adults, neither basal nor evening salivary cortisol was associated with incident IR or T2DM.

Open access

C E Higham, A Olsson-Brown, P Carroll, T Cooksley, J Larkin, P Lorigan, D Morganstein, P J Trainer, and the Society for Endocrinology Clinical Committee

Immunotherapy treatment with checkpoint inhibitors (CPI) (CTLA-4 and PD-1 inhibitors) significantly improves survival in a number of cancers. Treatment can be limited by immune-mediated adverse effects including endocrinopathies such as hypophysitis, adrenalitis, thyroiditis and diabetes mellitus. If endocrinopathies (particularly hypocortisolemia) are not recognized early, they can be fatal. The diagnosis and management of endocrinopathies can be complicated by simultaneous multi-organ immune adverse effects. Here, we present Endocrine Emergency Guidance for the acute management of the endocrine complications of checkpoint inhibitor therapy, the first specialty-specific guidance with Endocrinology, Oncology and Acute Medicine input and endorsed by the Society for Endocrinology Clinical Committee. We present algorithms for management: endocrine assessment and management of patients in the first 24 hours who present life-threateningly unwell (CTCAE grade 3–4) and the appropriate management of mild-moderately unwell patients (CTCAE grade 1–2) presenting with features compatible with an endocrinopathy. Other important considerations in relation to hypohysitis and the maintenance of glucocorticoid therapy are discussed.

Open access

Yue-Yue Wang, Qian Wu, Lu Chen, Wen Chen, Tao Yang, Xiao-Quan Xu, Fei-Yun Wu, Hao Hu, and Huan-Huan Chen

Purpose

To evaluate the value of MRI-based texture analysis of extraocular muscle (EOM) and orbital fat (OF) in monitoring and predicting the response to glucocorticoid (GC) therapy in patients with thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO).

Methods

Thirty-seven active and moderate-to-severe TAO patients (responders, n = 23; unresponders, n = 14) were retrospectively enrolled. MRI-based texture parameters (entropy, uniformity, skewness and kurtosis) of EOM and OF were measured before and after GC therapy, and compared between groups. Correlations between the changes of clinical activity score (CAS) and imaging parameters before and after treatment were assessed. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to evaluate the predictive value of identified variables.

Results

Responsive TAOs showed significantly decreased entropy and increased uniformity at EOM and OF after GC therapy (P < 0.01), while unresponders showed no significance. Changes of entropy and uniformity at EOM and OF were significantly correlated with changes of CAS before and after treatment (P < 0.05). Responders showed significantly lower entropy and higher uniformity at EOM than unresponders before treatment (P < 0.01). Entropy and uniformity of EOM and disease duration were identified as independent predictors for responsive TAOs. Combination of all three variables demonstrated optimal efficiency (area under curve, 0.802) and sensitivity (82.6%), and disease duration alone demonstrated optimal specificity (100%) for predicting responsive TAOs.

Conclusion

MRI-based texture analysis can reflect histopathological heterogeneity of orbital tissues. It could be useful for monitoring and predicting the response to GC in TAO patients.

Open access

Iulia Soare, Anca Sirbu, Mihai Mircea Diculescu, Bogdan Radu Mateescu, Cristian Tieranu, Sorina Martin, Carmen Gabriela Barbu, Mirela Ionescu, and Simona Fica

Background and aim

Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a common complication in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, debates are ongoing with regard to the other involved factors, especially in younger patients. This study aimed to evaluate the parameters that contribute to decreased BMD, focusing on premenopausal women and men aged <50 years.

Methods

This study included 81 patients with IBD and 81 age-, sex- and BMI-matched controls. Blood tests were conducted on IBD patients, and a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan was performed on both groups.

Results

Low BMD and fragility fracture were found to be more prevalent in IBD patients than in healthy subjects (49.3% vs 23.4%, P = 0.001 and 9.8% vs 1.2%, P = 0.01, respectively). Patients with low BMD were older, with a longer disease duration, higher faecal calprotectin (FC) levels and lower magnesium and lean mass (appreciated as appendicular skeletal muscle index (ASMI)). Multiple regression analysis revealed that ASMI, age and use of glucocorticoids were the independent parameters for decreased BMD. Although 91.3% of the patients had a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of <30 ng/mL, it was not a statistically significant factor for decreased BMD.

Conclusion

In our study, the levels of vitamin D did not seem to have an important impact on BMD. Conversely, FC, magnesium and lean mass are important factors, suggesting that good control of disease, adequate magnesium intake and increased lean mass can have a good impact on bone metabolism in patients with IBD.

Open access

Chunliang Yang, Junyi Li, Fei Sun, Haifeng Zhou, Jia Yang, and Chao Yang

Hyperglycemia is the consequence of blood glucose dysregulation and a driving force of diabetic complications including retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular diseases. The serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase-1 (SGK1) has been suggested in the modulation of various pathophysiological activities. However, the role of SGK1 in blood glucose homeostasis remains less appreciated. In this review, we intend to summarize the function of SGK1 in glucose level regulation and to examine the evidence supporting the therapeutic potential of SGK1 inhibitors in hyperglycemia. Ample evidence points to the controversial roles of SGK1 in pancreatic insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity, which reflects the complex interplay between SGK1 activation and blood glucose fluctuation. Furthermore, SGK1 is engaged in glucose absorption and excretion in intestine and kidney and participates in the progression of hyperglycemia-induced secondary organ damage. As a net effect, blockage of SGK1 activation via either pharmacological inhibition or genetic manipulation seems to be helpful in glucose control at varying diabetic stages.