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Open access

Kathrin R Frey, Tina Kienitz, Julia Schulz, Manfred Ventz, Kathrin Zopf, and Marcus Quinkler

Context

Patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) or congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) receive life-long glucocorticoid (GC) therapy. Daily GC doses are often above the physiological cortisol production rate and can cause long-term morbidities such as osteoporosis. No prospective trial has investigated the long-term effect of different GC therapies on bone mineral density (BMD) in those patients.

Objectives

To determine if patients on hydrocortisone (HC) or prednisolone show changes in BMD after follow-up of 5.5 years. To investigate if BMD is altered after switching from immediate- to modified-release HC.

Design and patients

Prospective, observational, longitudinal study with evaluation of BMD by DXA at visit1, after 2.2 ± 0.4 (visit2) and after 5.5 ± 0.8 years (visit3) included 36 PAI and 8 CAH patients. Thirteen patients received prednisolone (age 52.5 ± 14.8 years; 8 women) and 31 patients received immediate-release HC (age 48.9 ± 15.8 years; 22 women). Twelve patients on immediate-release switched to modified-release HC at visit2.

Results

Prednisolone showed significantly lower Z-scores compared to HC at femoral neck (−0.85 ± 0.80 vs −0.25 ± 1.16, P < 0.05), trochanter (−0.96 ± 0.62 vs 0.51 ± 1.07, P < 0.05) and total hip (−0.78 ± 0.55 vs 0.36 ± 1.04, P < 0.05), but not at lumbar spine, throughout the study. Prednisolone dose decreased by 8% over study time, but no significant effect was seen on BMD. BMD did not change significantly after switching from immediate- to modified-release HC.

Conclusions

The use of prednisolone as hormone replacement therapy results in significantly lower BMD compared to HC. Patients on low-dose HC replacement therapy showed unchanged Z-scores within the normal reference range during the study period.

Open access

Kaisu Luiro, Kristiina Aittomäki, Pekka Jousilahti, and Juha S Tapanainen

Objective

To study the use of hormone therapy (HT), morbidity and reproductive outcomes of women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) due to FSH-resistant ovaries (FSHRO).

Design

A prospective follow-up study in a university-based tertiary clinic setting.

Methods

Twenty-six women with an inactivating A189V FSH receptor mutation were investigated by means of a health questionnaire and clinical examination. Twenty-two returned the health questionnaire and 14 were clinically examined. Main outcome measures in the health questionnaire were reported as HT, morbidity, medication and infertility treatment outcomes. In the clinical study, risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) were compared to age-matched controls from a national population survey (FINRISK). Average number of controls was 326 per FSHRO subject (range 178–430). Bone mineral density and whole-body composition were analyzed with DXA. Psychological and sexual well-being was assessed with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI21), Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaires.

Results

HT was initiated late (median 18 years of age) compared with normal puberty and the median time of use was shorter (20–22 years) than the normal fertile period. Osteopenia was detected in 9/14 of the FSHRO women despite HT. No major risk factors for CVD or diabetes were found.

Conclusions

HT of 20 years seems to be associated with a similar cardiovascular and metabolic risk factor profile as in the population control group. However, optimal bone health may require an early-onset and longer period of HT, which would better correspond to the natural fertile period.

Open access

Karoline Winckler, Lise Tarnow, Louise Lundby-Christensen, Thomas P Almdal, Niels Wiinberg, Pia Eiken, Trine W Boesgaard, and the CIMT trial group

Despite aggressive treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) still have increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The primary aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional association between total (25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D)) and risk of CVD in patients with T2D. Secondary objective was to examine the association between 25(OH)D and bone health. A Danish cohort of patients with T2D participating in a randomised clinical trial were analysed. In total 415 patients (68% men, age 60±9 years (mean±s.d.), duration of diabetes 12±6 years), including 294 patients (71%) treated with insulin. Carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) and arterial stiffness (carotid artery distensibility coefficient (DC) and Young's elastic modulus (YEM)) were measured by ultrasound scan as indicators of CVD. Bone health was assessed by bone mineral density and trabecular bone score measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. In this cohort, 214 patients (52%) were vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D <50 nmol/l). Carotid IMT was 0.793±0.137 mm, DC was 0.0030±0.001 mmHg, YEM was 2354±1038 mmHg and 13 (3%) of the patients were diagnosed with osteoporosis. A 25(OH)D level was not associated with carotid IMT or arterial stiffness (P>0.3) or bone health (P>0.6) after adjustment for CVD risk factors. In conclusion, 25(OH)D status was not associated with carotid IMT, arterial stiffness or bone health in this cohort of patients with T2D. To explore these associations and the association with other biomarkers further, multicentre studies with large numbers of patients are required.

Open access

Frederic Schrøder Arendrup, Severine Mazaud-Guittot, Bernard Jégou, and David Møbjerg Kristensen

Concern has been raised over chemical-induced disruption of ovary development during fetal life resulting in long-lasting consequences only manifesting themselves much later during adulthood. A growing body of evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to the mild analgesic acetaminophen/paracetamol can cause such a scenario. Therefore, in this review, we discuss three recent reports that collectively indicate that prenatal exposure in a period of 13.5 days post coitum in both rats and mouse can result in reduced female reproductive health. The combined data show that the exposure results in the reduction of primordial follicles, irregular menstrual cycle, premature absence of corpus luteum, as well as reduced fertility, resembling premature ovarian insufficiency syndrome in humans that is linked to premature menopause. This could especially affect the Western parts of the world, where the age for childbirth is continuously being increased and acetaminophen is recommended during pregnancy for pain and fever. We therefore highlight an urgent need for more studies to verify these data including both experimental and epidemiological approaches.

Open access

Clarissa Souza Barthem, Camila Lüdke Rossetti, Denise P Carvalho, and Wagner Seixas da-Silva

Estradiol has been used to prevent metabolic diseases, bone loss and menopausal symptoms, even though it might raise the risk of cancer. Metformin is usually prescribed for type 2 diabetes mellitus and lowers food intake and body mass while improving insulin resistance and the lipid profile. Ovariectomized rats show increased body mass, insulin resistance and changes in the lipid profile. Thus, the aim of this work was to evaluate whether metformin could prevent the early metabolic dysfunction that occurs early after ovariectomy. Female Wistar rats were divided into the following groups: SHAM-operated (SHAM), ovariectomized (OVX), ovariectomized + estradiol (OVX + E2) and ovariectomized + metformin (OVX + M). Treatment with metformin diminished approximately 50% of the mass gain observed in ovariectomized animals and reduced both the serum and hepatic triglyceride levels. The hepatic levels of phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (pAMPK) decreased after OVX, and the expression of the inactive form of hepatic acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) was also reduced. Metformin was able to increase the levels of pAMPK in the liver of OVX animals, sustaining the balance between the inactive and total forms of ACC. Estradiol effects were similar to those of metformin but with different proportions. Our results suggest that metformin ameliorates the early alterations of metabolic parameters and rescues hepatic AMPK phosphorylation and ACC inactivation observed in ovariectomized rats.

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

E Vignali, F Cetani, S Chiavistelli, A Meola, F Saponaro, R Centoni, L Cianferotti, and C Marcocci

We investigated the prevalence of normocalcemic primary hyperparathyroidism (NPHPT) in the adult population living in a village in Southern Italy. All residents in 2010 (n=2045) were invited by calls and 1046 individuals accepted to participate. Medical history, calcium intake, calcium, albumin, creatinine, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 25OHD were evaluated. NPHPT was defined by normal albumin-adjusted serum calcium, elevated plasma PTH, and exclusion of common causes of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) (serum 25OHD <30 ng/ml, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min per 1.73 m2 and thiazide diuretics use), overt gastrointestinal and metabolic bone diseases. Complete data were available for 685 of 1046 subjects. Twenty subjects did not meet the inclusion criteria and 341 could not be evaluated because of thawing of plasma samples. Classical PHPT was diagnosed in four women (0.58%). For diagnosing NPHPT the upper normal limit of PTH was established in the sample of the population (n=100) who had 25OHD ≥30 ng/ml and eGFR ≥60 ml/min per 1.73 m2 and was set at the mean+3s.d. Three males (0.44%) met the diagnostic criteria of NPHPT. These subjects were younger and with lower BMI than those with classical PHPT. Our data suggest, in line with previous studies, that NPHPT might be a distinct clinical entity, being either an early phenotype of asymptomatic PHPT or a distinct variant of it. However, we cannot exclude that NPHPT might also represent an early phase of non-classical SHPT, since other variables, in addition to those currently taken into account for the diagnosis of NPHPT, might cumulate in a normocalcemic subject to increase PTH secretion.

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.

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

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.