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Open access

Guido Zavatta and Bart L Clarke

The first adjunctive hormone therapy for chronic hypoparathyroidism, recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1–84) (rhPTH(1–84)) was approved by the FDA in January 2015. Since the approval of rhPTH(1–84), growing interest has developed in other agents to treat this disorder in both the scientific community and among pharmaceutical companies. For several reasons, conventional therapy with calcium and activated vitamin D supplementation, magnesium supplementation as needed, and occasionally thiazide-type diuretic therapy remains the mainstay of treatment, while endocrinologists and patients are constantly challenged by limitations of conventional treatment. Serum calcium fluctuations, increased urinary calcium, hyperphosphatemia, and a constellation of symptoms that limit mental and physical functioning are frequently associated with conventional therapy. Understanding how conventional treatment and hormone therapy work in terms of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is key to effectively managing chronic hypoparathyroidism. Multiple questions remain regarding the effectiveness of PTH adjunctive therapy in preventing or slowing the onset and progression of the classical complications of hypoparathyroidism, such as chronic kidney disease, calcium-containing kidney stones, cataracts, or basal ganglia calcification. Several studies point toward an improvement in the quality of life during replacement therapy. This review will discuss current clinical and research challenges posed by treatment of chronic hypoparathyroidism.

Key points:

  • Conventional therapy with calcium and activated forms of vitamin D are currently the mainstays of treatment for most patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism.

  • Hormone therapy can be administered through FDA-approved once-daily rhPTH(1–84), or off-label multiple-daily injections of teriparatide. The former is the only FDA-approved drug, with safety and efficacy supported by a randomized placebo-controlled trial and open-label long-term extension trial data.

  • Twice-daily teriparatide has been used in children safely for up to 10 years.

  • New pharmacological options that replace the deficient hormone wi ll likely be available within the next few years.

Open access

Lisa Arnetz, Neda Rajamand Ekberg, Kerstin Brismar, and Michael Alvarsson

Objective

Dysfunction of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis has been implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D). The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of T2D and gender on the HPA axis.

Methods

Synthetic ACTH (1 μg) was administered to 21 subjects with T2D (age 62 (54–70) years, 11 men/ten women, HbA1c 49±2 mmol/mol, treated with diet or oral antidiabetic drugs) and 38 controls (age 58 (41–67) years, 20 men/18 women). Fasting basal B-glucose, serum cortisol, insulin, IGF1 and IGFBP1 concentrations were measured, and sampling for all but IGF1 was repeated 30, 60, and 90 min after ACTH injection. Patients took 0.25 mg dexamethasone at 2200–2300 h and returned the next morning for the measurement of serum cortisol concentration.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Results

Patients with T2D had similar fasting serum cortisol, IGF1 and IGFBP1 concentrations; however, serum cortisol concentration after administration of dexamethasone did not differ between the groups. Healthy women exhibited higher peak cortisol levels compared with healthy men (675±26 vs 582±21 nmol/l, P=0.014), while the peak levels were equally high in men and women with T2D, resulting in a higher peak level in men with T2D compared with healthy men (691±42 vs 582±21 nmol/l, P=0.024). Serum cortisol concentration after administration of dexamethasone did not differ between the groups, nor did IGF1 and IGFBP1.

Novelty of the findings

Some studies have previously indicated disturbed regulation of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D); however, much remains unknown in this area. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that the gender difference in the adrenal response to ACTH (with greater reactivity in women) is abolished in T2D. While the clinical implications cannot be determined by this paper, it is known that gender differences exist in the pathogenesis and complications of T2D. Thus, our findings suggest that further research into gender differences in the HPA axis is warranted.

Conclusions

Gender differences in adrenal response to ACTH were abolished in T2D. Men with T2D had a higher peak cortisol compared with controls. Further studies are needed to elucidate the clinical implications.

Open access

Robert Rapaport, Jan M Wit, and Martin O Savage

The terms ‘idiopathic short stature’ (ISS) and ‘small for gestational age’ (SGA) were first used in the 1970s and 1980s. ISS described non-syndromic short children with undefined aetiology who did not have growth hormone (GH) deficiency, chromosomal defects, chronic illness, dysmorphic features or low birth weight. Despite originating in the pre-molecular era, ISS is still used as a diagnostic label today. The term ‘SGA’ was adopted by paediatric endocrinologists to describe children born with low birth weight and/or length, some of whom may experience lack of catch-up growth and present with short stature. GH treatment was approved by the FDA for short children born SGA in 2001, and by the EMA in 2003, and for the treatment of ISS in the US, but not Europe, in 2003. These approvals strengthened the terms ‘SGA’ and ‘ISS’ as clinical entities. While clinical and hormonal diagnostic techniques remain important, it is the emergence of genetic investigations that have led to numerous molecular discoveries in both ISS and SGA subjects. The primary message of this article is that the labels ISS and SGA are not definitive diagnoses. We propose that the three disciplines of clinical evaluation, hormonal investigation and genetic sequencing should have equal status in the hierarchy of short stature assessments and should complement each other to identify the true pathogenesis in poorly growing patients.

Open access

Caroline Culen, Diana-Alexandra Ertl, Katharina Schubert, Lisa Bartha-Doering, and Gabriele Haeusler

Turner syndrome (TS), although considered a rare disease, is the most common sex chromosome abnormality in women, with an incident of 1 in 2500 female births. TS is characterized by distinctive physical features such as short stature, ovarian dysgenesis, an increased risk for heart and renal defects as well as a specific cognitive and psychosocial phenotype. Given the complexity of the condition, patients face manifold difficulties which increase over the lifespan. Furthermore, failures during the transitional phase to adult care result in moderate health outcomes and decreased quality of life. Guidelines on the optimal screening procedures and medical treatment are easy to find. However, recommendations for the treatment of the incriminating psychosocial aspects in TS are scarce. In this work, we first reviewed the literature on the cognitive and psychosocial development of girls with TS compared with normal development, from disclosure to young adulthood, and then introduce a psychosocial approach to counseling and treating patients with TS, including recommendations for age-appropriate psychological diagnostics. With this work, we aim to facilitate the integration of emphasized psychosocial care in state-of-the-art treatment for girls and women with TS.