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Open access

Marianne C Astor, Kristian Løvås, Anette S B Wolff, Bjørn Nedrebø, Eirik Bratland, Jon Steen-Johnsen, and Eystein S Husebye

Primary hypomagnesemia with secondary hypocalcemia (HSH) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by neuromuscular symptoms in infancy due to extremely low levels of serum magnesium and moderate to severe hypocalcemia. Homozygous mutations in the magnesium transporter gene transient receptor potential cation channel member 6 (TRPM6) cause the disease. HSH can be misdiagnosed as primary hypoparathyroidism. The aim of this study was to describe the genetic, clinical and biochemical features of patients clinically diagnosed with HSH in a Norwegian cohort. Five patients in four families with clinical features of HSH were identified, including one during a national survey of hypoparathyroidism. The clinical history of the patients and their families were reviewed and gene analyses of TRPM6 performed. Four of five patients presented with generalized seizures in infancy and extremely low levels of serum magnesium accompanied by moderate hypocalcemia. Two of the patients had an older sibling who died in infancy. Four novel mutations and one large deletion in TRPM6 were identified. In one patient two linked homozygous mutations were located in exon 22 (p.F978L) and exon 23 (p.G1042V). Two families had an identical mutation in exon 25 (p.E1155X). The fourth patient had a missense mutation in exon 4 (p.H61N) combined with a large deletion in the C-terminal end of the gene. HSH is a potentially lethal condition that can be misdiagnosed as primary hypoparathyroidism. The diagnosis is easily made if serum magnesium is measured. When treated appropriately with high doses of oral magnesium supplementation, severe hypomagnesemia is uncommon and the long-term prognosis seems to be good.

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

Rui-yi Tang, Rong Chen, Miao Ma, Shou-qing Lin, Yi-wen Zhang, and Ya-ping Wang

Objective

To evaluate the clinical features of Chinese women with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH).

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the clinical characteristics, laboratory and imaging findings, therapeutic management and fertility outcomes of 138 women with IHH. All patients had been treated and followed up at an academic medical centre during 1990–2016.

Results

Among the 138 patients, 82 patients (59.4%) were diagnosed with normosmic IHH and 56 patients (40.6%) were diagnosed with Kallmann syndrome (KS). The patients with IHH experienced occasional menses (4.3%), spontaneous thelarche (45.7%) or spontaneous pubarche (50.7%). Women with thelarche had a higher percentage of pubarche (P< 0.001) and higher gonadotropin concentrations (P< 0.01). Olfactory bulb/sulci abnormalities were found during the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of all patients with KS. Most patients with IHH had osteopenia and low bone age. Among the 16 women who received gonadotropin-releasing hormone treatment, ovulation induction or assisted reproductive technology, the clinical pregnancy rate was 81.3% and the live birth rate was 68.8%.

Conclusions

The present study revealed that the phenotypic spectrum of women with IHH is broader than typical primary amenorrhoea with no secondary sexual development, including occasional menses, spontaneous thelarche or pubarche. MRI of the olfactory system can facilitate the diagnosis of KS. Pregnancy can be achieved after receiving appropriate treatment.

Open access

Tingting Jia, Ya-nan Wang, Dongjiao Zhang, and Xin Xu

Diabetes-induced advanced glycation end products (AGEs) overproduction would result in compromised osseointegration of titanium implant and high rate of implantation failure. 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25VD3) plays a vital role in osteogenesis, whereas its effects on the osseointegration and the underlying mechanism are unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate that 1,25VD3 might promote the defensive ability of osseointegration through suppressing AGEs/RAGE in type 2 diabetes mellitus. In animal study, streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats accepted implant surgery, with or without 1,25VD3 intervention for 12 weeks. After killing, the serum AGEs level, bone microarchitecture and biomechanical index of rats were measured systematically. In vitro study, osteoblasts differentiation capacity was analyzed by alizarin red staining, alkaline phosphatase assay and Western blotting, after treatment with BSA, AGEs, AGEs with RAGE inhibitor and AGEs with 1,25VD3. And the expression of RAGE protein was detected to explore the mechanism. Results showed that 1,25VD3 could reverse the impaired osseointegration and mechanical strength, which possibly resulted from the increased AGEs. Moreover, 1,25VD3 could ameliorate AGEs-induced damage of cell osteogenic differentiation, as well as downregulating the RAGE expression. These data may provide a theoretical basis that 1,25VD3 could work as an adjuvant treatment against poor osseointegration in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Open access

Sarah Zaheer, Kayla Meyer, Rebecca Easly, Omar Bayomy, Janet Leung, Andrew W Koefoed, Mahyar Heydarpour, Roy Freeman, and Gail K Adler

Glucocorticoid use is the most common cause of secondary osteoporosis. Poor skeletal health related to glucocorticoid use is thought to involve inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, a key pathway in osteoblastogenesis. Sclerostin, a peptide produced primarily by osteocytes, is an antagonist of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, raising the possibility that sclerostin is involved in glucocorticoids’ adverse effects on bone. The aim of this study was to determine whether an acute infusion of cosyntropin (i.e. ACTH(1–24)), which increases endogenous cortisol, increases serum sclerostin levels as compared to a placebo infusion. This study was performed using blood samples obtained from a previously published, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over study among healthy men and women who received infusions of placebo or cosyntropin after being supine and fasted overnight (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02339506). A total of 17 participants were analyzed. There was a strong correlation (R2 = 0.65, P < 0.0001) between the two baseline sclerostin measurements measured at the start of each visit, and men had a significantly higher average baseline sclerostin compared to women. As anticipated, cosyntropin significantly increased serum cortisol levels, whereas cortisol levels fell during placebo infusion, consistent with the diurnal variation in cortisol. There was no significant effect of cosyntropin as compared to placebo infusions on serum sclerostin over 6–24 h (P = 0.10). In conclusion, this randomized, placebo-controlled study was unable to detect a significant effect of a cosyntropin infusion on serum sclerostin levels in healthy men and women.

Open access

Yuan Liu, Siyi Guo, Jinsong Wu, Rongai Wang, Jinbo Liu, Yan Liu, Bin Lv, Nan Liu, Ling Jiang, and Xiaoli Zhang

The clinical presentation of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) differs between patients from developed and developing countries. In China, the clinical pattern has changed over the past few decades. Our aim was to elucidate general changes in the clinical characteristics of PHPT from 2010 to 2021. We enrolled 343 patients with PHPT at the Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, China, from January 2010 to May 2021, including both surgical and non-surgical patients. Patients were divided into two subgroups, 2010–2016 (group A, n  = 152) and 2017–2021 (group B, n  = 191), based on the time span. We compared clinical manifestations and laboratory result data between these two groups. The mean patient age was 52.59 ± 13.55 years, and the male-to-female ratio was 1:2.54. Of the 343 patients, 183 (53.35%) had symptomatic PHPT; bone pain, urolithiasis, and fatigue were the most common symptoms. Post-operative pathology showed that 96.20% of the patients had parathyroid adenoma, whereas 2.41% had parathyroid carcinoma. Great changes occurred between 2010 and 2021; the percentage of patients with asymptomatic PHPT (aPHPT) increased from 36.18% in group A to 54.97% in group B. Moreover, patients in group B showed significantly lower serum calcium, alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, and urinary phosphate levels but higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels than those in group A. Clinical presentations in group B were also milder. In conclusion, the clinical characteristics of Chinese PHPT patients changed dramatically from 2010 to 2021, with asymptomatic PHPT (aPHPT becoming the predominant type over the last 3 years.

Open access

Rimesh Pal, Sanjay Kumar Bhadada, Awesh Singhare, Anil Bhansali, Sadishkumar Kamalanathan, Manoj Chadha, Phulrenu Chauhan, Ashwani Sood, Vandana Dhiman, Dinesh Chandra Sharma, Uma Nahar Saikia, Debajyoti Chatterjee, and Vikas Agashe

Tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO) is a rare paraneoplastic syndrome characterized by recalcitrant hypophosphatemia. Reports from the Indian subcontinent are scarce, with most being single center experiences involving few patients. Herein, we conducted a retrospective analysis of 30 patients of TIO diagnosed at three tertiary care hospitals in India. Patients with persistent hypophosphatemia (despite correction of hypovitaminosis D), normocalcemia, elevated alkaline phosphatase, low TmP/GFR and elevated or ‘inappropriately normal’ FGF23 levels were labeled as having TIO. They were sequentially subjected to functional followed by anatomical imaging. Patients with a well-localized tumor underwent excision; others were put on phosphorous and calcitriol supplementation. The mean age at presentation was 39.6 years with female:male ratio of 3:2. Bone pain (83.3%) and proximal myopathy (70%) were the chief complaints; 40% of cases had fractures. The mean delay in diagnosis was 3.8 years. Tumors were clinically detectable in four patients (13.3%). The mean serum phosphate was 0.50 mmol/L with a median serum FGF23 level of 518 RU/mL. Somatostatin receptor-based scintigraphy was found to be superior to FDG-PET in tumor localization. Lower extremities were the most common site of the tumor (72%). Tumor size was positively correlated with serum FGF23 levels. Twenty-two patients underwent tumor resection and 16 of them had phosphaturic mesenchymal tumors. Surgical excision led to cure in 72.7% of patients whereas disease persistence and disease recurrence were seen in 18.2% and 9.1% of cases, respectively. At the last follow-up, serum phosphate in the surgically treated group was significantly higher than in the medically managed group.

Open access

Paal Methlie, Steinar Hustad, Ralf Kellman, Bjørg Almås, Martina M Erichsen, Eystein S Husebye, and Kristian Løvås

Objective

Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) offers superior analytical specificity compared with immunoassays, but it is not available in many regions and hospitals due to expensive instrumentation and tedious sample preparation. Thus, we developed an automated, high-throughput LC–MS/MS assay for simultaneous quantification of ten endogenous and synthetic steroids targeting diseases of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and gonads.

Methods

Deuterated internal standards were added to 85 μl serum and processed by liquid–liquid extraction. Cortisol, cortisone, prednisolone, prednisone, 11-deoxycortisol, dexamethasone, testosterone, androstenedione and progesterone were resolved by ultra-high-pressure chromatography on a reversed-phase column in 6.1 min and detected by triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry. The method was used to assess steroid profiles in women with Addison's disease (AD, n=156) and blood donors (BDs, n=102).

Results

Precisions ranged from 4.5 to 10.1% relative standard deviations (RSD), accuracies from 95 to 108% and extraction recoveries from 60 to 84%. The method was practically free of matrix effects and robust to individual differences in serum composition. Most postmenopausal AD women had extremely low androstenedione concentrations, below 0.14 nmol/l, and median testosterone concentrations of 0.15 nmol/l (interquartile range 0.00–0.41), considerably lower than those of postmenopausal BDs (1.28 nmol/l (0.96–1.64) and 0.65 nmol/l (0.56–1.10) respectively). AD women in fertile years had androstenedione concentrations of 1.18 nmol/l (0.71–1.76) and testosterone concentrations of 0.44 nmol/l (0.22–0.63), approximately half of those found in BDs of corresponding age.

Conclusion

This LC–MS/MS assay provides highly sensitive and specific assessments of glucocorticoids and androgens with low sample volumes and is suitable for endocrine laboratories and research. Its utility has been demonstrated in a large cohort of women with AD, and the data suggest that women with AD are particularly androgen deficient after menopause.

Open access

Emanuelle Nunes-Souza, Mônica Evelise Silveira, Monalisa Castilho Mendes, Seigo Nagashima, Caroline Busatta Vaz de Paula, Guilherme Guilherme Vieira Cavalcante da Silva, Giovanna Silva Barbosa, Julia Belgrowicz Martins, Lúcia de Noronha, Luana Lenzi, José Renato Sales Barbosa, Rayssa Danilow Fachin Donin, Juliana Ferreira de Moura, Gislaine Custódio, Cleber Machado-Souza, Enzo Lalli, and Bonald Cavalcante de Figueiredo

Objective

Adaptive changes in DHEA and sulfated-DHEA (DHEAS) production from adrenal zona reticularis (ZR) have been observed in normal and pathological conditions. Here we used three different cohorts to assess timing differences in DHEAS blood level changes and characterize the relationship between early blood DHEAS reduction and cell number changes in women ZR.

Materials and methods

DHEAS plasma samples (n = 463) were analyzed in 166 healthy prepubertal girls before pubarche (<9 years) and 324 serum samples from 268 adult females (31.9–83.8 years) without conditions affecting steroidogenesis. Guided by DHEAS blood levels reduction rate, we selected the age range for ZR cell counting using DHEA/DHEAS and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), tumor suppressor and cell stress marker, immunostaining, and hematoxylin stained nuclei of 14 post-mortem adrenal glands.

Results

We confirmed that overweight girls exhibited higher and earlier DHEAS levels and no difference was found compared with the average European and South American girls with a similar body mass index (BMI). Adrenopause onset threshold (AOT) defined as DHEAS blood levels <2040 nmol/L was identified in >35% of the females >40 years old and associated with significantly reduced ZR cell number (based on PTEN and hematoxylin signals). ZR cell loss may in part account for lower DHEA/DHEAS expression, but most cells remain alive with lower DHEA/DHEAS biosynthesis.

Conclusion

The timely relation between significant reduction of blood DHEAS levels and decreased ZR cell number at the beginning of the 40s suggests that adrenopause is an additional burden for a significant number of middle-aged women, and may become an emergent problem associated with further sex steroids reduction during the menopausal transition.

Open access

Anna Eremkina, Julia Krupinova, Ekaterina Dobreva, Anna Gorbacheva, Ekaterina Bibik, Margarita Samsonova, Alina Ajnetdinova, and Natalya Mokrysheva

Hypercalcemic crisis is a severe but rare complication of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), and data on denosumab treatment of patients with this disease is still very limited. The aim of this paper is to investigate the hypocalcemic effect of denosumab in PHPT patients with severe hypercalcemia when surgery should be delayed or is impossible for some reasons. We performed a retrospective study of 10 patients. The analysis included the use of biochemical markers of calcium-phosphorus metabolism, which were followed after the administration of 60 mg of denosumab. The trend to calcium reduction was already determined on the 3rd day after denosumab administration. In most cases the decrease in serum calcium level to the range of 2.8 mmol/L on average or lower was observed on the 7th day (P = 0.002). In addition to a significant increase in calcium levels we confirmed a significant increase in the estimated glomerular filtration rate on 7th day (P = 0.012). After that, seven patients underwent successful parathyroidectomy and achieved eucalcemia or hypocalcemia, one patient developed the recurrence of parathyroid cancer after initial surgery, while two patients with severe cardiovascular pathology refused surgery. Our study shows that denosumab is a useful tool in PHPT-associated hypercalcemia before surgery or if surgery is contraindicated.