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Open access

Roberto Cosimo Melcangi, Livio Casarini, Marco Marino, Daniele Santi, Samantha Sperduti, Silvia Giatti, Silvia Diviccaro, Maria Grimoldi, Donatella Caruso, Guido Cavaletti and Manuela Simoni

Context

Post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) occurs in patients with androgenic alopecia after suspension of the finasteride treatment, leading to a large variety of persistent side effects. Despite the severity of the clinical picture, the mechanism underlying the PFS symptoms onset and persistence is still unclear.

Objective

To study whether epigenetic modifications occur in PFS patients.

Methods

Retrospective analysis of a multicentric, prospective, longitudinal, case–control clinical trial, enrolling 16 PFS patients, compared to 20 age-matched healthy men. Main outcomes were methylation pattern of SRD5A1 and SRD5A2 promoters and concentration of 11 neuroactive steroids, measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples.

Results

SRD5A1 and SRD5A2 methylation analysis was performed in all blood samples (n = 16 PFS patients and n = 20 controls), in 16 CSF samples from PFS patients and in 13 CSF samples from controls. The SRD5A2 promoter was more frequently methylated in CSF of PFS patients compared to controls (56.3 vs 7.7%). No promoter methylation was detected in blood samples in both groups. No methylation occurred in the SRD5A1 promoter of both groups. Unmethylated controls compared to unmethylated SRD5A2 patients showed higher pregnenolone, dihydrotestosterone and dihydroprogesterone, together with lower testosterone CSF levels. Andrological and neurological assessments did not differ between methylated and unmethylated subjects.

Conclusions

For the first time, we demonstrate a tissue-specific methylation pattern of SRD5A2 promoter in PFS patients. Although we cannot conclude whether this pattern is prenatally established or induced by finasteride treatment, it could represent an important mechanism of neuroactive steroid levels and behavioural disturbances previously described in PFS.

Open access

Giulia Bresciani, Angeliki Ditsiou, Chiara Cilibrasi, Viviana Vella, Federico Rea, Marco Schiavon, Narciso Giorgio Cavallesco, Georgios Giamas, Maria Chiara Zatelli and Teresa Gagliano

Broncho-pulmonary neuroendocrine neoplasms (BP-NENs) are neoplasms orphan of an efficient therapy. Available medical treatments derived from clinical trials are not specific for the management of this malignancy. Sunitinib is a multi-receptor tyrosine-kinases (RTKs) inhibitor that has already shown its efficacy in NENs, but there are no available data about its action in BP-NENs. Therefore, our aim was to understand the effects of RTKs inhibition promoted by sunitinib in order to evaluate new putative targets useful in malignancy treatment. Since our results underlined a role for EGFR and IGF1R in modulating sunitinib antiproliferative action, we investigated the effects of erlotinib, an EGFR inhibitor, and linsitinib, an IGF1R inhibitor, in order to understand their function in regulating cells behaviour. Cell viability and caspase activation were evaluated on two immortalised human BP-NEN cell lines and primary cultures. Our results showed that after treatment with sunitinib and/or IGF1, EGF and VEGF, the antiproliferative effect of sunitinib was counteracted by EGF and IGF1 but not by VEGF. Therefore, we evaluated with AlphaScreen technology the phosphorylated EGFR and IGF1R levels in primary cultures treated with sunitinib and/or EGF and IGF1. Results showed a decrease of p-IGF1R after treatment with sunitinib and an increase after co-treatment with IGF1. Then, we assessed cell viability and caspase activation on BP-NEN cell lines after treatment with linsitinib and/or erlotinib. Results demonstrate that these two agents have a stronger antiproliferative effect compared to sunitinib. In conclusion, our results suggest that IGF1R and EGF1R could represent putative molecular targets in BP-NENs treatment.

Open access

Joana Simões-Pereira, Daniel Macedo and Maria João Bugalho

Introduction

Metastases to central nervous system (M1-CNS) are rarely reported in thyroid cancer (TC) patients. We aimed to characterize patients with M1-CNS from TC followed in our department.

Methods

Review of the medical records of 27 patients with TC-related M1-CNS.

Results

Mean age at TC diagnosis was 56.9 ± 19.1 years. Papillary TC (55.6%) was the commonest histological type, followed by poorly differentiated (18.5%), medullary (11.1%), follicular (7.4%) and Hürthle cell (7.4%) carcinomas. Angioinvasion and extrathyroidal extension were observed in a high number of patients. At M1-CNS diagnosis, other distant metastases were already present in 77.8% of the patients. Treatment directed to M1-CNS was offered to 20 (74%) patients: 1 was submitted to surgery, 18 to radiotherapy (either whole-brain radiotherapy or stereotaxic radiosurgery or both) and 4 to surgery and radiotherapy. Four patients received cytotoxic chemotherapy and one was submitted to 131I. Median survival since M1-CNS detection was 5.0 months. The only factor associated with better survival was surgery to brain metastases (P = 0.012).

Conclusions

The management of these patients is very challenging given the inexistence of effective treatments, except for brain surgery in selected cases.

Open access

Ananda A Santana-Ribeiro, Giulliani A Moreira-Brasileiro, Manuel H Aguiar-Oliveira, Roberto Salvatori, Vitor O Carvalho, Claudia K Alvim-Pereira, Carlos R Araújo-Daniel, Júlia G Reis-Costa, Alana L Andrade-Guimarães, Alécia A Oliveira-Santos, Edgar R Vieira and Miburge B Gois-Junior

Objectives

Walking and postural balance are extremely important to obtain food and to work. Both are critical for quality of life and ability to survive. While walking reflects musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary systems, postural balance depends on body size, muscle tone, visual, vestibular and nervous systems. Since GH and IGF-I act on all these systems, we decided to study those parameters in a cohort of individuals with severe short stature due to untreated isolated GH deficiency (IGHD) caused by a mutation in the GHRH receptor gene. These IGHD subjects, despite reduction in muscle mass, are very active and have normal longevity.

Methods

In a cross-sectional study, we assessed walking (by a 6-min walk test), postural balance (by force platform) and fall risk (by the 'Timed Up and Go' test) in 31 IGHD and 40 matched health controls.

Results

The percentage of the walked distance measured in relation to the predicted one was similar in groups, but higher in IGHD, when corrected by the leg length. Absolute postural balance data showed similar velocity of unipodal support in the two groups, and better values, with open and closed eyes and unipodal support, in IGHD, but these differences became non-significant when corrected for height and lower-limb length. The time in 'Timed Up and Go' test was higher in IGHD cohort, but still below the cut-off value for fall risk.

Conclusion

IGHD subjects exhibit satisfactory walking and postural balance, without increase in fall risk.

Open access

K E Lines, R P Vas Nunes, M Frost, C J Yates, M Stevenson and R V Thakker

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by occurrence of parathyroid tumours and neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) of the pancreatic islets and anterior pituitary. The MEN1 gene, encoding menin, is a tumour suppressor, but its precise role in initiating in vivo tumourigenesis remains to be elucidated. The availability of a temporally controlled conditional MEN1 mouse model would greatly facilitate the study of such early tumourigenic events, and overcome the limitations of other MEN1 knockout models, in which menin is lost from conception or tumour development occurs asynchronously. To generate a temporally controlled conditional mouse model, we crossbred mice with the MEN1 gene floxed by LoxP sites (Men1 L/L), and mice expressing tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase under the control of the rat insulin promoter (RIP2-CreER), to establish a pancreatic β-cell-specific NET model under temporal control (Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER). Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER mice aged ~3 months were given tamoxifen in the diet for 5 days, and pancreata harvested 2–2.5, 2.9–3.5 and 4.5–5.5 months later. Control mice did not express Cre and did not receive tamoxifen. Immunostaining of pancreata from tamoxifen-treated Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER mice, compared to control mice, showed at all ages: loss of menin in all islets; increased islet area (>4.2-fold); increased proliferation of insulin immunostaining β-cells (>2.3-fold) and decreased proliferation of glucagon immunostaining α-cells (>1.7-fold). There were no gender and apoptotic or proliferation differences, and extra-pancreatic tumours were not detected. Thus, we have established a mouse model (Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER) to study early events in the development of pancreatic β-cell NETs.

Open access

Hershel Raff and Hariprasad Trivedi

Objective

Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) can display the features of endogenous hypercortisolism but are difficult to evaluate for Cushing's syndrome. We evaluated the circadian rhythm of plasma compared with salivary cortisol in subjects with ESRD.

Design

Plasma and salivary cortisol and plasma ACTH samples were drawn frequently over 24 h in an inpatient research unit in stable ESRD subjects on daytime chronic hemodialysis (n=16) vs controls (n=8).

Methods

Plasma cortisol was measured every 2 h from 0800 to 0600 h the following day. Salivary cortisol was measured every 2 h, except between 2400 and 0400 h (sleep time). Plasma ACTH measured in a subset of samples and C-reactive protein (CRP) was measured as a marker of a subclinical inflammatory state in all subjects.

Results

ESRD subjects had a discernable circadian rhythm in plasma and salivary cortisol, but with a significantly higher nadir (1800–2400 h) compared with the controls (P=0.016–<0.001). After excluding four ESRD subjects without a normal circadian rhythm, the ESRD subjects still had higher nadir plasma and salivary cortisol and plasma ACTH compared with controls. There was no difference in the correlation of salivary and plasma cortisol in control vs ESRD subjects. ESRD subjects had higher CRP levels compared with controls.

Conclusions

ESRD subjects had increased late-night plasma and salivary cortisol and plasma ACTH levels. Late-night salivary cortisol is a reliable index of plasma cortisol in ESRD patients.

Open access

Eva O Melin, Jonatan Dereke, Maria Thunander and Magnus Hillman

Objective

Depression has been associated with diabetic retinopathy and increased plasma levels of galectin-3, a lectin expressed in activated macrophages. Increased levels of sCD163, the soluble form of a macrophage expressed scavenger receptor involved in several inflammatory processes, have been demonstrated in the vitreous of the eye in type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients with severe diabetic retinopathy. The aim was to explore whether circulating sCD163 was associated with diabetic retinopathy, depression and/or galectin-3 in T1D patients, controlling for gender, metabolic factors, other diabetes complications, life style and medication.

Design

Cross sectional.

Methods

Two hundred eighty-seven T1D patients, men 56%, age 18–59 years, diabetes duration ≥1 year, were consecutively recruited from one specialist diabetes clinic. Depression was assessed by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Depression subscale. Blood samples, anthropometrics and blood pressure values were collected, supplemented with data from electronic medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Registry. High plasma sCD163 was defined as ≥0.575 mg/L (corresponding to the 80th percentile) and high plasma galectin-3 as ≥4.659 µg/L (corresponding to the 95th percentile).

Results

The prevalence of depression was 10%, antidepressant medication 8%, diabetic retinopathy 72%, high sCD163 20% and high galectin 3 5%. High galectin-3 (AOR 9.7), antidepressants (AOR 3.8), diabetic retinopathy (AOR 2.4) and systolic blood pressure (per mmHg) (AOR 1.03) were associated with high sCD163.

Conclusions

This is the first study to show that circulating sCD163 was independently associated with galectin-3, the use of antidepressants and diabetic retinopathy, in patients with T1D. Depression was not associated with sCD163.

Open access

Lia Ferreira, João Silva, Susana Garrido, Carlos Bello, Diana Oliveira, Hélder Simões, Isabel Paiva, Joana Guimarães, Marta Ferreira, Teresa Pereira, Rita Bettencourt-Silva, Ana Filipa Martins, Tiago Silva, Vera Fernandes, Maria Lopes Pereira and Adrenal Tumors Study Group of the Portuguese Society of Endocrinology

Introduction

Primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) is a rare but severe and potentially life-threatening condition. No previous studies have characterized Portuguese patients with PAI.

Aims

To characterize the clinical presentation, diagnostic workup, treatment and follow‐up of Portuguese patients with confirmed PAI.

Methods

This multicentre retrospective study examined PAI patients in 12 Portuguese hospitals.

Results

We investigated 278 patients with PAI (55.8% were females), with a mean age of 33.6 ± 19.3 years at diagnosis. The most frequent presenting clinical features were asthenia (60.1%), mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation (55.0%) and weight loss (43.2%); 29.1% of the patients presented with adrenal crisis. Diagnosis was established by high plasma ACTH and low serum cortisol in most patients (43.9%). The most common aetiology of PAI was autoimmune adrenalitis (61.0%). There were 38 idiopathic cases. Autoimmune comorbidities were found in 70% of the patients, the most frequent being autoimmune thyroiditis (60.7%) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (17.3%). Seventy-nine percent were treated with hydrocortisone (mean dose 26.3 ± 8.3 mg/day) mostly in three (57.5%) or two (37.4%) daily doses. The remaining patients were treated with prednisolone (10.1%), dexamethasone (6.2%) and methylprednisolone (0.7%); 66.2% were also on fludrocortisone (median dose of 100 µg/day). Since diagnosis, 33.5% of patients were hospitalized for disease decompensation. In the last appointment, 17.2% of patients had complaints (7.6% asthenia and 6.5% depression) and 9.7% had electrolyte disturbances.

Conclusion

This is the first multicentre Portuguese study regarding PAI. The results emphasize the need for standardization in diagnostic tests and etiological investigation and provide a framework for improving treatment.

Open access

Eva Olga Melin, Magnus Hillman and Mona Landin-Olsson

Objective

To explore associations between high midnight salivary cortisol (MSC) secretion and high blood pressure (BP) in type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Methods

Cross-sectional study of 196 adult patients with T1D (54% men). Associations between high MSC (≥9.3 nmol/L) and high systolic BP (>130 mmHg), and high diastolic BP (>80 mmHg) were explored for all patients, users and non-users of antihypertensive drugs (AHD). Adjustments were performed for age, sex, diabetes-related variables, p-creatinine, smoking, physical inactivity, depression and medication.

Results

The prevalence of high MSC differed between patients with high and low systolic BP in all 196 patients: 39 vs 13% (P = 0.001); in 60 users of AHD: 37 vs 12% (P = 0.039), and in 136 non-users of AHD: 43 vs 13% (P = 0.012). Significant associations with high systolic BP were for all patients: physical inactivity (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 6.5), high MSC (AOR 3.9), abdominal obesity (AOR 3.7), AHD (AOR 2.9), age (per year) (AOR 1.07), and p-creatinine (per µmol/L) (AOR 1.03); for 60 users of AHD: high MSC (AOR 4.1) and age (per year) (AOR 1.11); for 136 non-users of AHD: abdominal obesity (AOR 27.4), physical inactivity (AOR 14.7), male sex (AOR 9.0), smoking (AOR 7.9), and age (per year) (AOR 1.08). High MSC was not associated with high DBP.

Conclusions

In adult patients with T1D, high systolic BP was associated with physical inactivity, high MSC secretion, abdominal obesity, p-creatinine, age, and AHD, the latter indicating treatment failure.

Open access

Lukas Engler, Christian Adolf, Daniel A Heinrich, Anna-Katharine Brem, Anna Riester, Anna Franke, Felix Beuschlein, Martin Reincke, Axel Steiger and Heike Künzel

Primary aldosteronism is a natural model for chronic aldosterone excess in humans and associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Cognitive deficits are inherent to the symptomatology of depression and anxiety disorders. Mineralocorticoid receptors and aldosterone appear to play a role in memory. Aldosterone was additionally supposed to be a risk factor for cognitive decline in patients with essential hypertension. The objective of this study was to investigate possible effects of chronically high aldosterone concentrations on cognitive function. A range of cognitive dimensions were assessed in 19 patients (9 males, 10 females); mean age 47.1 (12.5) under standardized treatment and several rating scales for anxiety, depression, quality of life and sleep were administered. Cognitive parameters were compared to standard norms from a large, healthy standardization sample. Patients showed increased levels of anxiety and depression without meeting diagnostic criteria for a disorder. Besides a numerically lower attention score, patients did not show any significant differences in the cognitive dimensions. Anxiety and depression were negatively correlated with quantitative performance in males. In females, a negative correlation between sleep disturbances and abstract reasoning and a positive correlation with quantitative performance were found. Our data showed no specific effect of chronic aldosterone in the tested cognitive parameters overall at least in younger patients, but they indicate sexually dimorphic regulation processes.