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Open access

Athanasios D Anastasilakis, Marina Tsoli, Gregory Kaltsas, and Polyzois Makras

Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare disease of not well-defined etiology that involves immune cell activation and frequently affects the skeleton. Bone involvement in LCH usually presents in the form of osteolytic lesions along with low bone mineral density. Various molecules involved in bone metabolism are implicated in the pathogenesis of LCH or may be affected during the course of the disease, including interleukins (ILs), tumor necrosis factor α, receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) and its soluble ligand RANKL, osteoprotegerin (OPG), periostin and sclerostin. Among them IL-17A, periostin and RANKL have been proposed as potential serum biomarkers for LCH, particularly as the interaction between RANK, RANKL and OPG not only regulates bone homeostasis through its effects on the osteoclasts but also affects the activation and survival of immune cells. Significant changes in circulating and lesional RANKL levels have been observed in LCH patients irrespective of bone involvement. Standard LCH management includes local or systematic administration of corticosteroids and chemotherapy. Given the implication of RANK, RANKL and OPG in the pathogenesis of the disease and the osteolytic nature of bone lesions, agents aiming at inhibiting the RANKL pathway and/or osteoclastic activation, such as bisphosphonates and denosumab, may have a role in the therapeutic approach of LCH although further clinical investigation is warranted.

Open access

Elinor Chelsom Vogt, Francisco Gómez Real, Eystein Sverre Husebye, Sigridur Björnsdottir, Bryndis Benediktsdottir, Randi Jacobsen Bertelsen, Pascal Demoly, Karl Anders Franklin, Leire Sainz de Aja Gallastegui, Francisco Javier Callejas González, Joachim Heinrich, Mathias Holm, Nils Oscar Jogi, Benedicte Leynaert, Eva Lindberg, Andrei Malinovschi, Jesús Martínez-Moratalla, Raúl Godoy Mayoral, Anna Oudin, Antonio Pereira-Vega, Chantal Raherison Semjen, Vivi Schlünssen, Kai Triebner, and Marianne Øksnes

Objective

To investigate markers of premature menopause (<40 years) and specifically the prevalence of autoimmune primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) in European women.

Design

Postmenopausal women were categorized according to age at menopause and self-reported reason for menopause in a cross-sectional analysis of 6870 women.

Methods

Variables associated with the timing of menopause and hormone measurements of 17β-estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone were explored using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Specific immunoprecipitating assays of steroidogenic autoantibodies against 21-hydroxylase (21-OH), side-chain cleavage enzyme (anti-SCC) and 17alpha-hydroxylase (17 OH), as well as NACHT leucine-rich-repeat protein 5 were used to identify women with likely autoimmune POI.

Results

Premature menopause was identified in 2.8% of women, and these women had higher frequencies of nulliparity (37.4% vs 19.7%), obesity (28.7% vs 21.4%), osteoporosis (17.1% vs 11.6%), hormone replacement therapy (59.1% vs 36.9%) and never smokers (60.1% vs 50.9%) (P < 0.05), compared to women with menopause ≥40 years. Iatrogenic causes were found in 91 (47%) and non-ovarian causes in 27 (14%) women, while 77 (39%) women were classified as POI of unknown cause, resulting in a 1.1% prevalence of idiopathic POI. After adjustments nulliparity was the only variable significantly associated with POI (odds ratio 2.46; 95% CI 1.63–3.42). Based on the presence of autoantibodies against 21 OH and SCC, 4.5% of POI cases were of likely autoimmune origin.

Conclusion

Idiopathic POI affects 1.1% of all women and almost half of the women with premature menopause. Autoimmunity explains 4.5% of these cases judged by positive steroidogenic autoantibodies.

Open access

Huda M Elsharkasi, Suet C Chen, Lewis Steell, Shuko Joseph, Naiemh Abdalrahaman, Christie McComb, Blair Johnston, John Foster, Sze Choong Wong, and S Faisal Ahmed

Objective

The aim of this study is to investigate the role of 3T-MRI in assessing musculoskeletal health in children and young people.

Design

Bone, muscle and bone marrow imaging was performed in 161 healthy participants with a median age of 15.0 years (range, 8.0, 30.0).

Methods

Detailed assessment of bone microarchitecture (constructive interference in the steady state (CISS) sequence, voxel size 0.2 × 0.2 × 0.4 mm3), bone geometry (T1-weighted turbo spin echo (TSE) sequence, voxel size 0.4 × 0.4 × 2 mm3) and bone marrow (1H-MRS, point resolved spectroscopy sequence (PRESS) (single voxel size 20 × 20 × 20 mm3) size and muscle adiposity (Dixon, voxel size 1.1 × 1.1 × 2 mm3).

Results

There was an inverse association of apparent bone volume/total volume (appBV/TV) with age (r = −0.5, P < 0.0005). Cortical area, endosteal and periosteal circumferences and muscle cross-sectional area showed a positive association to age (r > 0.49, P < 0.0001). In those over 17 years of age, these parameters were also higher in males than females (P < 0.05). This sex difference was also evident for appBV/TV and bone marrow adiposity (BMA) in the older participants (P < 0.05). AppBV/TV showed a negative correlation with BMA (r = −0.22, P =  0.01) which also showed an association with muscle adiposity (r = 0.24, P = 0.04). Cortical geometric parameters were highly correlated with muscle area (r > 0.57, P < 0.01).

Conclusions

In addition to providing deep insight into the normal relationships between bone, fat and muscle in young people, these novel data emphasize the role of MRI as a non-invasive method for performing a comprehensive and integrated assessment of musculoskeletal health in the growing skeleton.

Open access

Sofya Gronskaia, Galina Melnichenko, Liudmila Rozhinskaya, Tatiana Grebennikova, Elizaveta Mamedova, Ekaterina Pigarova, Elena Przhialkovskaya, Larisa Dzeranova, Ivan Dedov, Valentin Fadeyev, Maria Luisa Brandi, and Zhanna Belaya

Hypoparathyroidism and pseudohypoparathyroidism are rare endocrine disorders, characterized by low serum calcium due to inappropriate parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels or resistance to its action. There is little epidemiological information regarding chronic hypoparathyroidism in Russia. This study aims to build a registry database of Russian patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism who were referred for hospital treatment in order to conduct initial analysis of clinical presentations and hospital management. The Italian registry model was taken to be able to integrate our data in the future. Two hundred patients with hypoparathyroidism (n = 194) and pseudohypoparathyroidism (n = 6) were enrolled over 2 years (2017–2019). The most frequent cause of hypoparathyroidism was neck surgery (82.5%, mostly females), followed by idiopathic hypoparathyroidism (10%), syndromic forms of genetic hypoparathyroidism (4.5%) and forms of defective PTH action (3%). Calcium supplements and alfacalcidol were prescribed in most cases. However, a minority of patients (n = 6) needed to receive teriparatide as the only way to maintain calcium levels and to prevent symptoms of hypocalcemia. Consequently, substitution treatment with parathyroid hormone should be available in certain cases of hypoparathyroidism. This database will be useful to estimate the potential requirement for recombinant PTH in Russia and standards for clinical and therapeutic approaches.

Open access

A Chinoy, M Skae, A Babiker, D Kendall, M Z Mughal, and R Padidela

Background

Hypoparathyroidism is characterised by hypocalcaemia, and standard management is with an active vitamin D analogue and adequate oral calcium intake (dietary and/or supplements). Little is described in the literature about the impact of intercurrent illnesses on calcium homeostasis in children with hypoparathyroidism.

Methods

We describe three children with hypoparathyroidism in whom intercurrent illnesses led to hypocalcaemia and escalation of treatment with alfacalcidol (1-hydroxycholecalciferol) and calcium supplements.

Results

Three infants managed with standard treatment for hypoparathyroidism (two with homozygous mutations in GCMB2 gene and one with Sanjad-Sakati syndrome) developed symptomatic hypocalcaemia (two infants developed seizures) following respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses. Substantial increases in alfacalcidol doses (up to three times their pre-illness doses) and calcium supplementation were required to achieve acceptable serum calcium concentrations. However, following resolution of illness, these children developed an increase in serum calcium and hypercalciuria, necessitating rapid reduction to pre-illness dosages of alfacalcidol and oral calcium supplementation.

Conclusion

Intercurrent illness may precipitate symptomatic hypocalcaemia in children with hypoparathyroidism, necessitating increase in dosages of alfacalcidol and calcium supplements. Close monitoring is required on resolution of the intercurrent illness, with timely reduction of dosages of active analogues of vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent hypercalcaemia, hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis.

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

Jean-Philippe Bertocchio, Natalie Grosset, Lionel Groussin, Peter Kamenický, Fabrice Larceneux, Anne Lienhardt-Roussie, Agnès Linglart, Gérard Maruani, Eric Mirallie, François Pattou, Riyad N H Seervai, Coralie Sido, Caroline Silve, Aurélie Vilfaillot, Antoine Tabarin, Marie-Christine Vantyghem, Pascal Houillier, and the investigators of the Épi-Hypo study

Context

Recent guidelines have provided recommendations for the care of patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism. Very little is known about actual physicians’ practices or their adherence to such guidelines.

Objective

To describe the physicians’ practice patterns and their compliance with international guidelines.

Design

The cohort studies included were Épi-Hypo (118 physicians and 107 patients, from September 2016 to December 2019) and ePatients (110 patients, November 2019).

Methods

Internet-based cohorts involving all settings at a nationwide level (France). Participants were (i) physicians treating patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism and patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism either participating in the (ii) Épi-Hypo study (Épi-Hypo 2019 patients), or (iii) Hypoparathyroidism France, the national representative association (ePatients).

Results

The physicians’ specialties were mainly endocrinology (61%), nephrology (28%), family medicine (2.5%), pediatrics (2.5%), rheumatology (2%), or miscellaneous (4%) and 45% were practicing in public universities. The median number of pharmaceutical drug classes prescribed was three per patient. The combination of active vitamin D and calcium salt was given to 59 and 58% of ePatients and Épi-Hypo 2019 patients, respectively. Eighty-five percent of ePatients and 87% of physicians reported monitoring plasma calcium concentrations at a steady state at least twice a year. In 32 and 26% of cases, respectively, ePatients and physicians reported being fully in accordance with international guidelines that recommend targeting symptoms, plasma calcium and phosphate values, and urine calcium excretion.

Conclusions

The care of patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism involves physicians with very different practices, so guidelines should include and target other specialists as well as endocrinologists. Full adherence to the guidelines is low in France.

Open access

Marcela Moraes Mendes, Patricia Borges Botelho, and Helena Ribeiro

Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralisation, promotes maintenance of muscle function, and is crucial for musculoskeletal health. Low vitamin D status triggers secondary hyperparathyroidism, increases bone loss, and leads to muscle weakness. The primary physiologic function of vitamin D and its metabolites is maintaining calcium homeostasis for metabolic functioning, signal transduction, and neuromuscular activity. A considerable amount of human evidence supports the well-recognised contribution of adequate serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations for bone homeostasis maintenance and prevention and treatment strategies for osteoporosis when combined with adequate calcium intake. This paper aimed to review the literature published, mainly in the last 20 years, on the effect of vitamin D and its supplementation for musculoskeletal health in order to identify the aspects that remain unclear or controversial and therefore require further investigation and debate. There is a clear need for consistent data to establish realistic and meaningful recommendations of vitamin D status that consider different population groups and locations. Moreover, there is still a lack of consensus on thresholds for vitamin D deficiency and optimal status as well as toxicity, optimal intake of vitamin D, vitamin D supplement alone as a strategy to prevent fractures and falls, recommended sun exposure at different latitudes and for different skin pigmentations, and the extra skeletal effects of vitamin D.

Open access

Julia Herteux, Simon Johannes Geiger, Christina Starchl, Johanna Windisch, Theresa Lerchl, Adelina Tmava-Berisha, Gerit Wünsch, Kathrin Eller, Astrid Fahrleitner-Pammer, and Karin Amrein

Objective

Chronic hypoparathyroidism (HP) is associated with acute and chronic complications, especially those related to hypocalcemia. We aimed to analyze details on hospital admissions and the reported deaths in affected patients.

Design and methods

In a retrospective analysis, we reviewed the medical history of 198 patients diagnosed with chronic HP over a continuous period of up to 17 years at the Medical University Graz.

Results

The mean age in our mostly female cohort (70.2%) was 62.6 ± 18.7 years. The etiology was predominantly postsurgical (84.8%). About 87.4% of patients received standard medication (oral calcium/vitamin D), 15 patients (7.6%) used rhPTH1–84/Natpar® and 10 patients (4.5%) had no/unknown medication. Two hundred and nineteen emergency room (ER) visits and 627 hospitalizations were documented among 149 patients, and 49 patients (24.7%) did not record any hospital admissions. According to symptoms and decreased serum calcium levels, 12% of ER (n = 26) visits and 7% of hospitalizations (n = 44) were likely attributable to HP. A subgroup of 13 patients (6.5%) received kidney transplants prior to the HP diagnosis. In eight of these patients, parathyroidectomy for tertiary renal hyperparathyroidism was the cause of permanent HP. The mortality was 7.8% (n = 12), and the causes of death appeared to be unrelated to HP. Although the awareness for HP was low, calcium levels were documented in 71% (n = 447) of hospitalizations.

Conclusions

Acute symptoms directly related to HP did not represent the primary cause of ER visits. However, comorbidities (e.g. renal/cardiovascular diseases) associated with HP played a key role in hospitalizations and deaths.

Significance statement

Hypoparathyroidism (HP) is the most common complication after anterior neck surgery. Yet, it remains underdiagnosed as well as undertreated, and the burden of disease and long-term complications are usually underestimated. There are few detailed data on emergency room (ER) visits hospitalizations and death in patients with chronic HP, although acute symptoms due to hypo-/hypercalcemia are easily detectable. We show that HP is not the primary cause for presentation but that hypocalcemia is a typical laboratory finding (when ordered) and thus may contribute to subjective symptoms. Patients often present with renal/cardiovascular/oncologic illness for which HP is known to be a contributing factor. A small but very special group (n = 13, 6.5%) are patients after kidney transplantations who showed a high ER hospitalization rate. Surprisingly, HP was never the cause for their frequent hospitalizations but rather the result of chronic kidney disease. The most frequent cause for HP in these patients was parathyroidectomy due to tertiary hyperparathyroidism. The causes of death in 12 patients appeared to be unrelated to HP, but we found a high prevalence of chronic organ damages/comorbidities related to it in this group. Less than 25% documented HP correctly in the discharge letters, which indicates a high potential for improvement.

Open access

Alessandro Brancatella and Claudio Marcocci

Thyroid hormones stimulate bone turnover in adults by increasing osteoclastic bone resorption. TSH suppressive therapy is usually applied in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) to improve the disease outcome. Over the last decades several authors have closely monitored the potential harm suffered by the skeletal system. Several studies and meta-analyses have shown that chronic TSH suppressive therapy is safe in premenopausal women and men. Conversely, in postmenopausal women TSH suppressive therapy is associated with a decrease of bone mineral density, deterioration of bone architecture (quantitative CT, QCT; trabecular bone score, TBS), and, possibly, an increased risk of fractures. The TSH receptor is expressed in bone cells and the results of experimental studies in TSH receptor knockout mice and humans on whether low TSH levels, as opposed to solely high thyroid hormone levels, might contribute to bone loss in endogenous or exogenous thyrotoxicosis remain controversial. Recent guidelines on the use of TSH suppressive therapy in patients with DTC give value not only to its benefit on the outcome of the disease, but also to the risks associated with exogenous thyrotoxicosis, namely menopause, osteopenia or osteoporosis, age >60 years, and history of atrial fibrillation. Bone health (BMD and/or preferably TBS) should be evaluated in postmenopausal women under chronic TSH suppressive therapy or in those patients planning to be treated for several years. Antiresorptive therapy could also be considered in selected cases (increased risk of fracture or significant decline of BMD/TBS during therapy) to prevent bone loss.