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Open access

Boni Xiang, Ran Tao, Xinhua Liu, Xiaoming Zhu, Min He, Zengyi Ma, Yehong Yang, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yiming Li, Zhenwei Yao, Yongfei Wang and Hongying Ye

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate thyroid functions in Cushing’s syndrome (CS), the dynamic changes of thyroid hormones and antithyroid antibodies in Cushing’s disease (CD) pre- and postoperatively.

Design and methods

This is a retrospective study enrolling 118 patients with CS (102 CD, 10 adrenal CS and 6 ectopic adrenocorticotropic syndrome (EAS)). Thyroid functions (thyroid-stimulation hormone (TSH), T3, free T3 (FT3), T4 and free T4 (FT4)) were measured in all CS at the time of diagnosis and in all CD 3 months after transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection. Postoperative hormone monitoring within 3 months was conducted in 9 CD patients completing remission. Twenty-eight remitted CD patients experienced hormone and antithyroid antibody evaluation preoperatively and on the 3rd, 6th and 12th month after surgery.

Results

TSH, T3 and FT3 were below the reference range in 31%, 69% and 44% of the 118 CS patients. Remitted CD patients (81/102) had significantly higher TSH (P = 0.000), T3 (P = 0.000) and FT3 (P = 0.000) than those in the non-remission group (21/102). After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 showed a significant increase, with a few cases above the reference range. By 12 months, most CD patients’ thyroid functions returned to normal. Thyroid hormones (including TSH, T3 and FT3) were negatively associated with serum cortisol levels both before and after surgery. No significant changes of antithyroid autoantibodies were observed.

Conclusions

TSH, T3 and FT3 are suppressed in endogenous hypercortisolemia. After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 increased significantly, even above the reference range, but returned to normal 1 year after surgery in most cases. Antithyroid antibodies did not change significantly after remission of CD.

Open access

Yongping Liu, Shuo Wang, Qingling Guo, Yongze Li, Jing Qin, Na Zhao, Yushu Li, Zhongyan Shan and Weiping Teng

Objective

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is characterized by elevated specific auto-antibodies, including TgAb and TPOAb. Increasing evidence has demonstrated the essential role of Th17 cells in HT. However, the underlying mechanism is still unclear. Semaphorin 5A (Sema 5A) is involved in several autoimmune diseases through the regulation of immune cells. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of Sema 5A in HT.

Methods

We measured serum Sema 5A levels in HT (n = 92) and healthy controls (n = 111) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RNA levels of Sema 5A and their receptors (plexin-A1 and plexin-B3), as well as several cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-17), were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 23 patients with HT and 31 controls. In addition, we investigated the relationship between serum Sema 5A and HT.

Results

Serum Sema 5A in HT increased significantly compared with healthy controls (P < 0.001). Moreover, serum Sema 5A levels were positively correlated with TgAb (r = 0.511, P < 0.001), TPOAb (r = 0.423, P < 0.001), TSH (r = 0.349, P < 0.001) and IL-17 mRNA expression (r = 0.442, P < 0.001). Increased Sema 5A RNA expression was observed (P = 0.041) in HT compared with controls. In receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, serum Sema 5A predicted HT with a sensitivity of 79.35% and specificity of 96.40%, and the area under the curve of the ROC curve was 0.836 (95% CI: 0.778–0.884, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

These data demonstrated elevated serum Sema 5A in HT patients for the first time. Serum Sema 5A levels were correlated with thyroid auto-antibodies and IL-17 mRNA expression. Sema 5A may be involved in immune response of HT patients.

Open access

Ning Yao, Chunbei Zhou, Jun Xie, Xinshu Li, Qianru Zhou, Jing Chen and Shuang Zhou

Objective

The remarkable success of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) elimination in China has been achieved through a mandatory universal salt iodization (USI) program. The study aims to estimate the relationship between urinary iodine concentration (UIC) and iodine content in edible salt to assess the current iodine nutritional status of school aged children.

Methods

A total of 5565 students from 26 of 39 districts/counties in Chongqing participated in the study, UIC and iodine content in table salt were measured. Thyroid volumes of 3311 students were examined by ultrasound and goiter prevalence was calculated.

Results

The overall median UIC of students was 222 μg/L (IQR: 150-313 μg/L). Median UIC was significantly different among groups with non-iodized salt (iodine content <5 mg/kg), inadequately iodized salt (between 5 and 21 mg/kg), adequately iodized (between 21 and 39 mg/kg) and excessively iodized (>39 mg/kg) salt (P < 0.01). The total goiter rate was 1.9% (60/3111) and 6.0% (186/3111) according to Chinese national and WHO reference values, respectively. Thyroid volume and goiter prevalence were not different within the three iodine nutritional status groups (insufficient, adequate and excessive, P > 0.05).

Conclusions

The efficient implementation of current USI program is able to reduce the goiter prevalence in Chongqing as a low incidence of goiter in school aged children is observed in this study. The widened UIC range of 100–299 μg/L indicating sufficient iodine intake is considered safe with a slim chance of causing goiter or thyroid dysfunction. Further researches were needed to evaluate the applicability of WHO reference in goiter diagnose in Chongqing or identifying more accurate criteria of normal thyroid volume of local students in the future.

Open access

Adriano N Cury, Verônica T Meira, Osmar Monte, Marília Marone, Nilza M Scalissi, Cristiane Kochi, Luís E P Calliari and Carlos A Longui

Background/aims

Treatments for Graves' disease (GD) in children and adolescents include oral antithyroid drugs (ATDs), near total thyroidectomy, and radioactive iodine (RAI). ATDs remain the preferred choice in this age group, but because persistent remission occurs in 30% of cases, RAI is becoming a common option for definitive therapy.

Methods

We performed a review of 65 medical records of GD patients under age 19 years who were followed between 1985 and 2005.

Results

The prevalence of GD was higher in females (3:1) and during puberty (for both genders). If no remission was detected during ATD treatment, RAI was indicated when the following criteria were present: non-compliance, relapse, or side effects that were related to ATDs, large goiter, and long-term use of ATDs. The majority of patients developed hypothyroidism within 6 months after RAI. A progressive higher dose regimen was implemented in the last 10 years of the study period. A second RAI dose was necessary in eight cases. During the follow-up period, three pregnancies occurred. One patient with a thyroid nodule and benign cytology was detected.

Conclusions

RAI therapy is effective and safe in the treatment of GD in children and adolescents.

Open access

Jia Liu, Min Liu, Zhe Chen, Yumei Jia and Guang Wang

Objective

Autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) is the most common autoimmune thyroid disease. Longitudinal relaxation time mapping (T1-mapping) measured by MRI is a new technique for assessing interstitial fibrosis of some organs, such as heart and liver. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between T1-mapping value and thyroid function and determine the usefulness of T1-mapping in identifying thyroid destruction in AIT patients.

Methods

This case–control study recruited 57 drug-naïve AIT patients and 17 healthy controls. All participants were given thyroid MRI, and T1-mapping values were measured using a modified look-locker inversion-recovery sequence.

Results

AIT patients had significantly higher thyroid T1-mapping values than the healthy controls (1.077 ± 177 vs 778 ± 82.9 ms; P < 0.01). A significant increase in thyroid T1-mapping values was presented along with the increased severity of thyroid dysfunction (P < 0.01). Correlation analyses showed that increased thyroid T1-mapping values were associated with higher TSH and lower FT3 and FT4 levels (TSH: r = 0.75; FT3: r = −0.47; FT4: r = −0.72; all P < 0.01). Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis revealed a high diagnostic value of T1-mapping values for the degree of thyroid destruction (area under the curve was 0.95, 95% CI: 0.90–0.99, P < 0.01).

Conclusions

AIT patients have higher thyroid T1-mapping values than the healthy controls, and the T1-mapping values increased with the progression of thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid T1-mapping value might be a new index to quantitatively evaluate the degree of thyroid destruction in AIT patients.

Open access

Susana Pastor, Abdelmounaim Akdi, Eddy R González, Juan Castell, Josefina Biarnés, Ricard Marcos and Antonia Velázquez

Thyroid hormone receptors, THRA and THRB, together with the TSH receptor, TSHR, are key regulators of thyroid function. Alterations in the genes of these receptors (THRA, THRB and TSHR) have been related to thyroid diseases, including thyroid cancer. Moreover, there is evidence suggesting that predisposition to differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) is related to common genetic variants with low penetrance that interact with each other and with environmental factors. In this study, we investigated the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the THRA (one SNP), THRB (three SNPs) and TSHR (two SNPs) genes with DTC risk. A case–control association study was conducted with 398 patients with sporadic DTC and 479 healthy controls from a Spanish population. Among the polymorphisms studied, only THRA-rs939348 was found to be associated with an increased risk of DTC (recessive model, odds ratio=1.80, 95% confidence interval=1.03–3.14, P=0.037). Gene–gene interaction analysis using the genotype data of this study together with our previous genotype data on TG and TRHR indicated a combined effect of the pairwises: THRB-TG (P interaction=0.014, THRB-rs3752874 with TG-rs2076740; P interaction=0.099, THRB-rs844107 with TG-rs2076740) and THRB-TRHR (P interaction=0.0024, THRB-rs3752874 with TRHR-rs4129682) for DTC risk in a Spanish population. Our results confirm that THRA is a risk factor for DTC, and we show for the first time the combined effect of THRB and TG or TRHR on DTC susceptibility, supporting the importance of gene–gene interaction in thyroid cancer risk.

Open access

Christin Krause, Martina Grohs, Alexander T El Gammal, Stefan Wolter, Hendrik Lehnert, Oliver Mann, Jens Mittag and Henriette Kirchner

Hepatic thyroid hormone signaling has an important role in the development and progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). While the systemic levels of thyroid hormone might remain stable, there is evidence that the intracellular signaling machinery consisting of transporters, deiodinases and receptors could be altered in NASH. However, clinical material from human liver biopsies of individuals with NASH has not been studied to date. In a cross-sectional study, we analyzed 85 liver biopsies from patients with different stages of NASH that underwent bariatric surgery. Using qPCR, we analyzed gene expression of thyroid hormone transporters NTCP (SLC10A1), MCT8 (SLC16A2) and OATP1C1 (SLCO1C1), thyroid hormone receptor α and β (THRA and THRB) and deiodinase type I, II and III (DIO1, DIO2, DIO3). The expression was correlated with serum TSH, triglyceride, HbA1c and NASH score and corrected for age or gender if required. While DIO2, DIO3 and SLCO1C1 were not expressed in human liver, we observed a significant negative correlation of THRB and DIO1 with age, and SLC16A2 with gender. THRB expression was also negatively associated with serum triglyceride levels and HbA1c. More importantly, its expression was inversely correlated with NASH score and further declined with age. Our data provide unique insight into the mRNA expression of thyroid hormone transporters, deiodinases and receptors in the human liver. The findings allow important conclusions on the intrahepatic mechanisms governing thyroid hormone action, indicating a possible tissue resistance to the circulating hormone in NASH, which becomes more prominent in advanced age.

Open access

M von Wolff, C T Nakas, M Tobler, T M Merz, M P Hilty, J D Veldhuis, A R Huber and J Pichler Hefti

Humans cannot live at very high altitude for reasons, which are not completely understood. Since these reasons are not restricted to cardiorespiratory changes alone, changes in the endocrine system might also be involved. Therefore, hormonal changes during prolonged hypobaric hypoxia were comprehensively assessed to determine effects of altitude and hypoxia on stress, thyroid and gonadal hypothalamus–pituitary hormone axes. Twenty-one male and 19 female participants were examined repetitively during a high-altitude expedition. Cortisol, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), fT4 and fT3 and in males follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and total testosterone were analysed as well as parameters of hypoxemia, such as SaO2 and paO2 at 550 m (baseline) (n = 40), during ascent at 4844 m (n = 38), 6022 m (n = 31) and 7050 m (n = 13), at 4844 m (n = 29) after acclimatization and after the expedition (n = 38). Correlation analysis of hormone concentrations with oxygen parameters and with altitude revealed statistical association in most cases only with altitude. Adrenal, thyroid and gonadal axes were affected by increasing altitude. Adrenal axis and prolactin were first supressed at 4844 m and then activated with increasing altitude; thyroid and gonadal axes were directly activated or suppressed respectively with increasing altitude. Acclimatisation at 4844 m led to normalization of adrenal and gonadal but not of thyroid axes. In conclusion, acclimatization partly leads to a normalization of the adrenal, thyroid and gonadal axes at around 5000 m. However, at higher altitude, endocrine dysregulation is pronounced and might contribute to the physical degradation found at high altitude.

Open access

Jakob Kirkegård, Dora Körmendiné Farkas, Jens Otto Lunde Jørgensen and Deirdre P Cronin-Fenton

Objective

The association between thyroid dysfunction and gastrointestinal cancer is unclear.

Design

We conducted a nationwide population-based cohort study to examine this potential association.

Methods

We used Danish medical registries to assemble a nationwide population-based cohort of patients diagnosed with hyperthyroid or hypothyroid disease from 1978 to 2013. We computed standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with corresponding 95% CIs as measures of the relative risk of each cancer, comparing patients with thyroid dysfunction with that expected in the general population.

Results

We included 163,972 patients, of which 92,783 had hyperthyroidism and 71,189 had hypothyroidism. In general, we found an increased risk of all gastrointestinal cancers within the first year after thyroid disease diagnosis. After more than 5 years of follow-up, patients with hyperthyroidism had a slightly increased risk of pancreatic and gallbladder and biliary tract cancer. Patients with hypothyroidism had a slightly increased risk of stomach, anal, liver, gallbladder and biliary tract, and pancreatic cancer after more than 5 years of follow-up, but the observed numbers of cancers were in general similar to the expected.

Conclusions

The increased risks of all gastrointestinal cancers in the first year following hyper- or hypothyroidism diagnosis are likely due to detection bias. After more than 5 years of follow-up, there does not seem to be a consistent causal association between thyroid disease and gastrointestinal cancer.

Open access

Anna Olsson-Brown, Rosemary Lord, Joseph Sacco, Jonathan Wagg, Mark Coles and Munir Pirmohamed

Introduction

Immune checkpoint inhibitors can lead to thyroid dysfunction. However, the understanding of the clinical phenotype of ICI-induced thyroid dysfunction in the real-world population is limited. The purpose of this study was to characterise the clinical patterns of dysfunction and evaluate the demographic, biochemical and immunological features associated with this patient cohort.

Materials and methods

To characterise the longitudinal clinical course of thyroid dysfunction in patients from a single, UK regional cancer centre, a retrospective review of patients was conducted. Inclusion criteria included all patients treated with antiPD-1 checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), either as monotherapy (pembrolizumab/nivolumab) or in combination with a CTLA-4 inhibitor (ipilimumab). Patterns of toxicity were evaluated together with assessment of antibody titres.

Results

Over 16 months, thyroid dysfunction was seen in 13/90 and 3/13 patients treated with anti-PD1 monotherapy and in combination with ipilimumab, respectively. Patients either developed hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism (12/16) or de novo hypothyroidism (4/16). Most patients were female (n = 11). All patients required thyroid replacement therapy. There was no relationship between clinical pattern of dysfunction and the presence of thyroid autoantibodies.

Conclusions

There are two distinct patterns of thyroid dysfunction in ICI-treated patients. Patients with thyroiditis develop subsequent hypothyroidism in the vast majority of cases. The potential benefit from steroids or other therapy to manage the hyperthyroid phase remains unclear. Early detection of these patients through appropriate monitoring will improve clinical management and early hormone replacement, reducing the symptomatic burden of hypothyroidism.