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Open access

Hong Jiang, WenJie Yang, QingFang Sun, Chang Liu, and LiuGuan Bian

The adverse effects of hypercortisolism on the human brain have been highlighted in previous studies of Cushing’s disease (CD). However, the relative alterations in regional hypercortisolism in the brain remain unclear. Thus, we investigated regional volumetric alterations in CD patients. We also analyzed the associations between these volumetric changes and clinical characteristics. The study participants comprised of active CD (n = 60), short-term-remitted CD (n = 28), and long-term-remitted CD (n = 32) patients as well as healthy control subjects (n = 66). Gray matter volumes (GMVs) were measured via voxel-based morphometry. The GMVs of substructures were defined using the automated anatomical labeling (AAL) atlas. Trends toward normalization in GMV were found in most brain substructures of CD patients. Different trends, including enlarged, irreversible, and unaffected, were observed in the other subregions, such as the amygdala, thalamus, and caudate. Morphological changes in GMVs after the resolution of hypercortisolism are a complex phenomenon; the characteristics of these changes significantly differ within the brain substructures.

Open access

Nidan Qiao

Introduction

Machine learning methods in sellar region diseases present a particular challenge because of the complexity and the necessity for reproducibility. This systematic review aims to compile the current literature on sellar region diseases that utilized machine learning methods and to propose a quality assessment tool and reporting checklist for future studies.

Methods

PubMed and Web of Science were searched to identify relevant studies. The quality assessment included five categories: unmet needs, reproducibility, robustness, generalizability and clinical significance.

Results

Seventeen studies were included with the diagnosis of general pituitary neoplasms, acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, craniopharyngioma and growth hormone deficiency. 87.5% of the studies arbitrarily chose one or two machine learning models. One study chose ensemble models, and one study compared several models. 43.8% of studies did not provide the platform for model training, and roughly half did not offer parameters or hyperparameters. 62.5% of the studies provided a valid method to avoid over-fitting, but only five reported variations in the validation statistics. Only one study validated the algorithm in a different external database. Four studies reported how to interpret the predictors, and most studies (68.8%) suggested possible clinical applications of the developed algorithm. The workflow of a machine-learning study and the recommended reporting items were also provided based on the results.

Conclusions

Machine learning methods were used to predict diagnosis and posttreatment outcomes in sellar region diseases. Though most studies had substantial unmet need and proposed possible clinical application, replicability, robustness and generalizability were major limits in current studies.

Open access

Benedetta Zampetti, Erika Grossrubatscher, Paolo Dalino Ciaramella, Edoardo Boccardi, and Paola Loli

Simultaneous bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling (BIPSS) plays a crucial role in the diagnostic work-up of Cushing’s syndrome. It is the most accurate procedure in the differential diagnosis of hypercortisolism of pituitary or ectopic origin, as compared with clinical, biochemical and imaging analyses, with a sensitivity and specificity of 88–100% and 67–100%, respectively. In the setting of hypercortisolemia, ACTH levels obtained from venous drainage of the pituitary are expected to be higher than the levels of peripheral blood, thus suggesting pituitary ACTH excess as the cause of hypercortisolism. Direct stimulation of the pituitary corticotroph with corticotrophin-releasing hormone enhances the sensitivity of the procedure. The procedure must be undertaken in the presence of hypercortisolemia, which suppresses both the basal and stimulated secretory activity of normal corticotrophic cells: ACTH measured in the sinus is, therefore, the result of the secretory activity of the tumor tissue. The poor accuracy in lateralization of BIPSS (positive predictive value of 50–70%) makes interpetrosal ACTH gradient alone not sufficient for the localization of the tumor. An accurate exploration of the gland is recommended if a tumor is not found in the predicted area. Despite the fact that BIPSS is an invasive procedure, the occurrence of adverse events is extremely rare, particularly if it is performed by experienced operators in referral centres.

Open access

Nidan Qiao

Introduction

It is unclear whether the proportions of remission and the recurrence rates differ between endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (TS) and microscopic TS in Cushing’s disease (CD); thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate studies of endoscopic TS and microscopic TS.

Methods

We conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed to identify relevant studies. Remission and recurrence were used as outcome measures following surgical treatment of CD.

Results

A total of 24 cohort studies involving 1670 adult patients were included in the comparison. Among these studies, 702 patients across 9 studies underwent endoscopic TS, and 968 patients across 15 studies underwent microscopic TS. Similar baseline characteristics were observed in both groups. There was no significant difference in remission between the two groups: 79.7% (95% CI: 73.1–85.0%) in the endoscopic group and 76.9% (95% CI: 71.3–81.6%) in the microscopic group (P = 0.485). It appears that patients who underwent endoscopic surgery experience recurrence less often than patients who underwent microscopic surgery, with recurrence proportions of 11.0% and 15.9%, respectively (P = 0.134). However, if follow-up time is taken into account, both groups had a recurrence rate of approximately 4% per person per year (95% CI: 3.1–5.4% and 3.6–5.1%, P = 0.651).

Conclusions

We found that remission proportion and recurrence rate were the same in patients who underwent endoscopic TS as in patients who underwent microscopic TS. The definition of diagnosis, remission and recurrence should always be considered in the studies assessing therapeutic efficacy in CD.

Open access

Prachi Bansal, Anurag Lila, Manjunath Goroshi, Swati Jadhav, Nilesh Lomte, Kunal Thakkar, Atul Goel, Abhidha Shah, Shilpa Sankhe, Naina Goel, Neelam Jaguste, Tushar Bandgar, and Nalini Shah

Purpose

Transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) is the primary treatment modality for Cushing’s disease (CD). However, the predictors of post-operative remission and recurrence remain debatable. Thus, we studied the post-operative remission and long-term recurrence rates, as well as their respective predictive factors.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of case records of 230 CD patients who underwent primary microscopic TSS at our tertiary care referral centre between 1987 and 2015 was undertaken. Demographic features, pre- and post-operative hormonal values, MRI findings, histopathological features and follow-up data were recorded. Remission and recurrence rates as well as their respective predictive factors were studied.

Results

Overall, the post-operative remission rate was 65.6% (early remission 46%; delayed remission 19.6%), while the recurrence rate was 41% at mean follow-up of 74 ± 61.1 months (12–270 months). Significantly higher early remission rates were observed in patients with microadenoma vs macroadenoma (51.7% vs 30.6%, P = 0.005) and those with unequivocal vs equivocal MRI for microadenoma (55.8% vs 38.5%, P = 0.007). Patients with invasive macroadenoma had poorer (4.5% vs 45%, P = 0.001) remission rates. Recurrence rates were higher in patients with delayed remission than those with early remission (61.5% vs 30.8%, P = 0.001). Duration of post-operative hypocortisolemia ≥13 months predicted sustained remission with 100% specificity and 46.4% sensitivity. Recurrence could be detected significantly earlier (27.7 vs 69.2 months, P < 0.001) in patients with available serial follow-up biochemistry as compared to those with infrequent follow-up after remission.

Conclusion

In our study, remission and recurrence rates were similar to that of reported literature, but proportion of delayed remission was relatively higher. Negative/equivocal MRI findings and presence of macroadenoma, especially those with cavernous sinus invasion were predictors of poor remission rates. In addition to early remission, longer duration of post-operative hypocortisolism is an important predictor of sustained remission. Regular biochemical surveillance may help in identifying recurrence early.

Open access

Lang Qin, Xiaoming Zhu, Xiaoxia Liu, Meifang Zeng, Ran Tao, Yan Zhuang, Yiting Zhou, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yehong Yang, Yiming Li, Yongfei Wang, and Hongying Ye

Introduction

The purpose of the study was to describe lipid profile and explore pathogenetic role of LDL-c on hypertension in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD). Hypertension is a common feature in patients with CD. Previous study found low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) uptake in vascular cells might be involved in vascular remodeling in patients with CD. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between lipid profile and the blood pressure in patients with CD.

Methods

This retrospective study included 84 patients referred to Huashan Hospital for the evaluation and diagnosis of CD from January 2012 to December 2013. All subjects had detailed clinical evaluation by the same group of endocrinology specialists to avoid subjective influences.

Results

We found that high LDL-c patients had significant higher body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), cholesterol (CHO), triglyceride (TG), and apolipoproteinB (apoB) (P < 0.05). An association was detected between SBP values and lipids profile including CHO, TG, LDL-c, apolipoproteinA (apoA), apoB and lipoprotein(a) (LP(a)). After adjustment for all covariates, the LDL-c remained positively associated with SBP. In patients with or without taking statins, patients with LDL-c ≥3.37 mmol/L had higher SBP than patients with LDL-c <3.37 mmol/L. Then, LDL-c was coded using restricted cubic splines (RCS) function with three knots located at the 5th, 50th and 95th percentiles of the distribution of LDL-c. Compared to individuals with 3.215 mmol/L of LDL-c, individuals with 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 mmol/L of LDL-c had differences of 3.86, 8.53 and 14.11 mmHg in SBP, respectively.

Conclusions

An independent association between LDL-c and SBP was found in patients with CD. We speculate that LDL-c may be a pathogenic factor for hypertension in those patients.

Open access

Ferdinand Roelfsema, Peter Y Liu, Rebecca Yang, Paul Takahashi, and Johannes D Veldhuis

Background:

Interleukin-2 (IL-2), one of the proinflammatory cytokines, is used in the treatment of certain malignancies. In some studies, transient increases in cortisol and ACTH secretion occurred. Thus, this agent may be used as an experimental probe of adrenal cortisol secretion.

Objective:

This study quantifies the effects of low and moderate doses of IL-2 on cortisol secretion and assesses the modulation by age, dose and body composition.

Site:

Mayo Clinical Translational Research Unit.

Subjects:

Study comprised 35 healthy men, 17 young and 18 older.

Methods:

Randomized prospective double-blind saline-controlled study of IL-2 administration in two doses with concurrent 10-min blood sampling for 24 h.

Outcome measures:

Deconvolution analysis and approximate entropy of cortisol secretion.

Results:

Low-dose IL-2 administration increased nocturnal pulsatile cortisol secretion from 1460 ± 160 to 2120 ± 220 nmol/L/8 h in young subjects and from 1680 ± 105 to 1960 ± 125 nmol/L/8 h (treatment P < 0.0001, but more in young than older, P = 0.02). Comparable results were obtained for total cortisol secretion (P treatment <0.0001, age effect P = 0.005). The higher IL-2 dose caused a large increase in young (P < 0.0001), but not in older (P = 0.90) subjects. This dose also increased approximate entropy from 0.877 ± 0.041 to 1.024 ± 0.049 (P = 0.008), pointing to reduced secretory orderliness. Incremental cortisol (nocturnal) secretion correlated negatively with visceral fat mass (R = −0.41, P = 0.019).

Conclusion:

In healthy men, IL-2 injection drives pulsatile cortisol secretion in a dose-dependent way in young, but not older, individuals and erodes cortisol secretory orderliness at a higher dose in young subjects. Cortisol responses are diminished with increasing abdominal visceral fat mass.

Open access

Filippo Ceccato, Elisa Selmin, Chiara Sabbadin, Miriam Dalla Costa, Giorgia Antonelli, Mario Plebani, Mattia Barbot, Corrado Betterle, Marco Boscaro, and Carla Scaroni

Introduction and Aim

The purpose of replacement therapy in adrenal insufficiency (AI) is mimicking endogenous cortisol levels as closely as possible: dual release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) has been introduced to replicate the circadian cortisol rhythm. Multiple daily saliva collections could be used to assess the cortisol rhythm during real life: our aim was to study the salivary cortisol profile in AI.

Materials and Methods

We prospectively evaluated, in an observational study, 18 adult outpatients with AI (11 primary and 7 secondary AI), switched from conventional treatment (conv-HC, 25 mg/day) to the same dose of DR-HC. We collected six samples of saliva in a day, measuring cortisol (F) and cortisone (E) with LC-MS/MS. Forty-three matched healthy subjects served as controls.

Results

F levels were similar in the morning (and higher than controls) in patients treated with conv-HC or DR-HC; otherwise F levels and exposure were lower in the afternoon and evening in patients with DR-HC, achieving a cortisol profile closer to healthy controls. Daily cortisol exposure, measured with area under the curve, was lower with DR-HC. Morning F and E presented sensitivity and specificity >90% to diagnose AI (respectively threshold of 3 and 9.45 nmol/L). Total cholesterol and HbA1c levels reduced with DR-HC.

Conclusions

Salivary cortisol daily curve could be used as a new tool to assess the cortisol profiles in patients treated with conv-HC and DR-HC. A lower daily cortisol exposure was achieved with DR-HC (despite the same HC dose), especially in the afternoon-evening.

Open access

Milène Tetsi Nomigni, Sophie Ouzounian, Alice Benoit, Jacqueline Vadrot, Frédérique Tissier, Sylvie Renouf, Hervé Lefebvre, Sophie Christin-Maitre, and Estelle Louiset

Hirsutism induced by hyperandrogenism can be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, 21-hydroxylase (OH) deficiency or androgen-secreting tumors, including ovarian and adrenal tumors. Adrenal androgen-secreting tumors are frequently malignant. Adrenal oncocytomas represent rare causes of hyperandrogenism. The aim of the study was to investigate steroidogenic enzyme expression and steroid secretion in an androgen-secreting adrenal oncocytoma in a young woman presenting with hirsutism. Hyperandrogenism was diagnosed on the basis of elevated plasma Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone levels. Pelvic ultrasound was normal, CT scanning revealed a right adrenal mass. Androgens were assessed in adrenal and ovarian vein samples and proved a right adrenal origin. Adrenalectomy normalized androgen levels and the adrenal tumor was diagnosed as an oncocytoma. Real time-PCR, immunohistochemistry and cell culture studies were performed on tumor explants to investigate the steroid secretion profile. Among enzymes required for cortisol synthesis, 17α-OH and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (3β-HSD2) were highly expressed whereas 21-OH and 11β-OH were weakly produced at the mRNA and/or protein levels. Enzymes involved in testosterone production, 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3, were also detected. ACTH receptor was present in the tissue. Cortisol, Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone secretions by cultured cells were increased by ACTH. These results provide the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of abnormal expression profile of steroidogenic enzymes in an adrenocortical oncocytoma. Our results also indicate that Δ4-androstenedione hypersecretion resulted from high 17α-OH and 3β-HSD2 expression in combination with low expression of 21-OH and 11β-OH. Testosterone production was ascribed to occurrence of 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3. Finally, our results indicate that androgen secretion was stimulated by ACTH.

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.