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Hypokalemia: a clinical update

Efstratios Kardalas, Stavroula A Paschou, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Giovanna Muscogiuri, Gerasimos Siasos, and Andromachi Vryonidou

Hypokalemia is a common electrolyte disturbance, especially in hospitalized patients. It can have various causes, including endocrine ones. Sometimes, hypokalemia requires urgent medical attention. The aim of this review is to present updated information regarding: (1) the definition and prevalence of hypokalemia, (2) the physiology of potassium homeostasis, (3) the various causes leading to hypokalemia, (4) the diagnostic steps for the assessment of hypokalemia and (5) the appropriate treatment of hypokalemia depending on the cause. Practical algorithms for the optimal diagnostic, treatment and follow-up strategy are presented, while an individualized approach is emphasized.

Open access

On type 1 diabetes mellitus pathogenesis

Stavroula A Paschou, Nektaria Papadopoulou-Marketou, George P Chrousos, and Christina Kanaka-Gantenbein

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) results from the autoimmune destruction of β cells of the endocrine pancreas. Pathogenesis of T1DM is different from that of type 2 diabetes mellitus, where both insulin resistance and reduced secretion of insulin by the β cells play a synergistic role. We will present genetic, environmental and immunologic factors that destroy β cells of the endocrine pancreas and lead to insulin deficiency. The process of autoimmune destruction takes place in genetically susceptible individuals under the triggering effect of one or more environmental factors and usually progresses over a period of many months to years, during which period patients are asymptomatic and euglycemic, but positive for relevant autoantibodies. Symptomatic hyperglycemia and frank diabetes occur after a long latency period, which reflects the large percentage of β cells that need to be destroyed before overt diabetes become evident.

Open access

Adrenal hyperandrogenism does not deteriorate insulin resistance and lipid profile in women with PCOS

Stavroula A Paschou, Eleni Palioura, Dimitrios Ioannidis, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Argyro Panagiotakou, Vasiliki Loi, Georgios Karageorgos, Dimitrios G Goulis, and Andromachi Vryonidou


The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of adrenal hyperandrogenism on insulin resistance and lipid profile in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Patients and methods

We studied 372 women with PCOS according to the NIH criteria. 232 age- and BMI-matched women served as controls in order to define adrenal hyperandrogenism (DHEA-S >95th percentile). Then, patients with PCOS were classified into two groups: with adrenal hyperandrogenism (PCOS-AH, n = 108) and without adrenal hyperandrogenism (PCOS-NAH, n = 264). Anthropometric measurements were recorded. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, lipid profile, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and androgen (TT, Δ4A, DHEA-S) concentrations were assessed. Free androgen index (FAI) and homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index were calculated.


Women with PCOS-AH were younger than PCOS-NAH (P < 0.001), but did not differ in the degree and type of obesity. No differences were found in HOMA-IR, total cholesterol, HDL-c, LDL-c and triglyceride concentrations (in all comparisons, P > 0.05). These metabolic parameters did not differ between the two groups even after correction for age. Women with PCOS-AH had lower SHBG (29.2 ± 13.8 vs 32.4 ± 11.8 nmol/L, P = 0.025) and higher TT (1.0 ± 0.2 vs 0.8 ± 0.4 ng/mL, P = 0.05) and Δ4A (3.9 ± 1.2 vs 3.4 ± 1.0 ng/mL, P = 0.007) concentrations, as well as FAI (14.1 ± 8.0 vs 10.2 ± 5.0, P < 0.001). These results were confirmed by a multiple regression analysis model in which adrenal hyperandrogenism was negatively associated with age (P < 0.001) and SHBG concentrations (P = 0.02), but not with any metabolic parameter.


Women with PCOS and adrenal hyperandrogenism do not exhibit any deterioration in insulin resistance and lipid profile despite the higher degree of total androgens.

Open access

Early and late endocrine complications of COVID-19

Paraskevi Kazakou, Stavroula A Paschou, Theodora Psaltopoulou, Maria Gavriatopoulou, Eleni Korompoki, Katerina Stefanaki, Fotini Kanouta, Georgia N Kassi, Meletios-Athanasios Dimopoulos, and Asimina Mitrakou

Endocrine system plays a vital role in controlling human homeostasis. Understanding the possible effects of COVID-19 on endocrine glands is crucial to prevent and manage endocrine disorders before and during hospitalization in COVID-19-infected patients as well as to follow them up properly upon recovery. Many endocrine glands such as pancreas, hypothalamus and pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands, testes, and ovaries have been found to express angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptors, the main binding site of the virus. Since the pandemic outbreak, various publications focus on the aggravation of preexisting endocrine diseases by COVID-19 infection or the adverse prognosis of the disease in endocrine patients. However, data on endocrine disorders both during the phase of the infection (early complications) and upon recovery (late complications) are scarce. The aim of this review is to identify and discuss early and late endocrine complications of COVID-19. The majority of the available data refer to glucose dysregulation and its reciprocal effect on COVID-19 infection with the main interest focusing on the presentation of new onset of diabetes mellitus. Thyroid dysfunction with low triiodothyronine, low thyroid stimulating hormone, or subacute thyroiditis has been reported. Adrenal dysregulation and impaired spermatogenesis in affected men have been also reported. Complications of other endocrine glands are still not clear. Considering the recent onset of COVID-19 infection, the available follow-up data are limited, and therefore, long-term studies are required to evaluate certain effects of COVID-19 on the endocrine glands.