Central hypothyrodism (CeH) is a hypothyroid state caused by an insufficient stimulation by thyrotropin (TSH) of an otherwise normal thyroid gland. Several advancements, including the recent publication of expert guidelines for CeH diagnosis and management, have been made in recent years thus increasing the clinical awareness on this condition. Here, we reviewed the recent advancements and give expert opinions on critical issues. Indeed, CeH can be the consequence of various disorders affecting either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. Recent data enlarged the list of candidate genes for heritable CeH and a genetic origin may be the underlying cause for CeH discovered in pediatric or even adult patients without apparent pituitary lesions. This raises the doubt that the frequency of CeH may be underestimated. CeH is most frequently diagnosed as a consequence of the biochemical assessments in patients with hypothalamic/pituitary lesions. In contrast with primary hypothyroidism, low FT4 with low/normal TSH levels are the biochemical hallmark of CeH, and adequate thyroid hormone replacement leads to the suppression of residual TSH secretion. Thus, CeH often represents a clinical challenge because physicians cannot rely on the use of the ‘reflex TSH strategy’ for screening or therapy monitoring. Nevertheless, in contrast with general assumption, the finding of normal TSH levels may indicate thyroxine under-replacement in CeH patients. The clinical management of CeH is further complicated by the combination with multiple pituitary deficiencies, as the introduction of sex steroids or GH replacements may uncover latent forms of CeH or increase the thyroxine requirements.
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Luca Persani, Biagio Cangiano and Marco Bonomi
Jiashu Li, Aihua Liu, Haixia Liu, Chenyan Li, Weiwei Wang, Cheng Han, Xinyi Wang, Yuanyuan Zhang, Weiping Teng and Zhongyan Shan
Thyroid dysfunction is a frequently found endocrine disorder among reproductively aged women. Subclinical hypothyroidism is the most common condition of thyroid disorders during pregnancy and is defined as manifesting a thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration exceeding the trimester-specific reference value, with a normal free thyroxine concentration. Here, we evaluated the prospective association between spontaneous miscarriage and first-trimester thyroid function. We conducted a case–control study (421 cases and 1684 controls) that was nested. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), thyroid-peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) status were measured. We found that higher TSH was related to spontaneous miscarriage (OR 1.21; 95% CI, 1.13–1.30, P < 0.001). Compared with women with TSH levels of 0.4–<2.5 mIU/L, the risk of miscarriage was increased in women with TSH levels of 2.5–<4.87 mIU/L (OR 1.47; 95% CI, 1.16–1.87) and TSH greater than 4.87 mIU/L (OR 1.97; 95% CI, 1.22–3.18). After controlling for the confounding factor, TPOAb positivity status and FT4, the results were similar. The present study showed that higher TSH was associated with miscarriage in early pregnancy. In fact, TSH levels between 2.5 and 4.87 mIU/L increased the risk for miscarriage, with TSH greater than 4.87 mIU/L increasing the risk even further.
Giorgio Radetti, Mariacarolina Salerno, Chiara Guzzetti, Marco Cappa, Andrea Corrias, Alessandra Cassio, Graziano Cesaretti, Roberto Gastaldi, Mario Rotondi, Fiorenzo Lupi, Antonio Fanolla, Giovanna Weber and Sandro Loche
Thyroid function may recover in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT).
To investigate thyroid function and the need to resume l-thyroxine treatment after its discontinuation.
Nine Italian pediatric endocrinology centers.
148 children and adolescents (25 m and 123 f) with HT on treatment with l-thyroxine for at least one year.
Intervention and main outcome measure
Treatment was discontinued in all patients, and serum TSH and fT4 concentrations were measured at the time of treatment discontinuation and then after 2, 6, 12 and 24 months. Therapy with l-thyroxine was re-instituted when TSH rose >10 U/L and/or fT4 was below the normal range. The patients were followed up when TSH concentrations were between 5 and 10 U/L and fT4 was in the normal range.
At baseline, TSH was in the normal range in 139 patients, and was between 5 and 10 U/L in 9 patients. Treatment was re-instituted after 2 months in 37 (25.5%) patients, after 6 months in 13 patients (6.99%), after 12 months in 12 patients (8.6%), and after 24 months in an additional 3 patients (3.1%). At 24 months, 34 patients (34.3%) still required no treatment. TSH concentration >10 U/L at the time of diagnosis was the only predictive factor for the deterioration of thyroid function after l-thyroxine discontinuation.
This study confirms that not all children with HT need life-long therapy with l-thyroxine, and the discontinuation of treatment in patients with a TSH level <10 U/L at the time of diagnosis should be considered.
Laura van Iersel, Sarah C Clement, Antoinette Y N Schouten-van Meeteren, Annemieke M Boot, Hedi L Claahsen-van der Grinten, Bernd Granzen, K Sen Han, Geert O Janssens, Erna M Michiels, A S Paul van Trotsenburg, W Peter Vandertop, Dannis G van Vuurden, Hubert N Caron, Leontien C M Kremer and Hanneke M van Santen
The incidence of cranial radiotherapy (cRT)–induced central hypothyroidism (TSHD) in childhood brain tumor survivors (CBTS) is reported to be low. However, TSHD may be more frequent than currently suspected, as its diagnosis is challenging due to broad reference ranges for free thyroxine (FT4) concentrations. TSHD is more likely to be present when FT4 levels progressively decline over time. Therefore, we determined the incidence and latency time of TSHD and changes of FT4 levels over time in irradiated CBTS.
Nationwide, 10-year retrospective study of irradiated CBTS.
TSHD was defined as ‘diagnosed’ when FT4 concentrations were below the reference range with low, normal or mildly elevated thyrotropin levels, and as ‘presumed’ when FT4 declined ≥ 20% within the reference range. Longitudinal FT4 concentrations over time were determined in growth hormone deficient (GHD) CBTS with and without diagnosed TSHD from cRT to last follow-up (paired t-test).
Of 207 included CBTS, the 5-year cumulative incidence of diagnosed TSHD was 20.3%, which occurred in 50% (25/50) of CBTS with GHD by 3.4 years (range, 0.9–9.7) after cRT. Presumed TSHD was present in 20 additional CBTS. The median FT4 decline in GH-deficient CBTS was 41.3% (P < 0.01) to diagnosis of TSHD and 12.4% (P = 0.02) in GH-deficient CBTS without diagnosed TSHD.
FT4 concentrations in CBTS significantly decline over time after cRT, also in those not diagnosed with TSHD, suggesting that TSHD occurs more frequently and earlier than currently reported. The clinical relevance of cRT-induced FT4 decline over time should be investigated in future studies.
Nikolina Zdraveska, Maja Zdravkovska, Violeta Anastasovska, Elena Sukarova-Angelovska and Mirjana Kocova
Diagnostic re-evaluation is important for all patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) for determining the etiology and identifying transient CH cases. Our study is a first thyroxine therapy withdrawal study conducted in Macedonian CH patients for a diagnostic re-evaluation. We aimed to evaluate the etiology of CH, the prevalence of transient CH and identify predictive factors for distinguishing between permanent (PCH) and transient CH (TCH).
Materials and methods
Patients with CH aged >3 years underwent a trial of treatment withdrawal for 4 weeks period. Thyroid function testing (TFT), ultrasound and Technetium-99m pertechnetate thyroid scan were performed thereafter. TCH was defined when TFT remained within normal limits for at least 6-month follow-up. PCH was diagnosed when TFT was abnormal and classified according the imaging findings.
42 (55%) patients had PCH and 34 (45.0%) patients had TCH. Thyroid agenesia was the most prevalent form in the PCH group. Patients with TCH had lower initial thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) values (P < 0.0001); higher serum thyroxine levels (P = 0.0023) and lower mean doses of levothyroxine during treatment period (P < 0.0001) than patients with PCH. Initial TSH level <30.5 IU/mL and levothyroxine dose at 3 years of age <2.6 mg/kg/day were a significant predictive factors for TCH; sensitivity 92% and 100%, specificity 75.6% and 76%, respectively.
TCH presents a significant portion of patients with CH. Initial TSH value and levothyroxine dose during treatment period has a predictive role in differentiating TCH from PCH. Earlier re-evaluation, between 2 and 3 years age might be considered in some patients requiring low doses of levothyroxine.
Maria Giannakou, Katerina Saltiki, Emily Mantzou, Eleni Loukari, Georgios Philippou, Konstantinos Terzidis, Charalampos Stavrianos, Miltiades Kyprianou, Theodora Psaltopoulou, Kalliopi Karatzi and Maria Alevizaki
Increased oxidative stress has been described in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether high oxidative stress is further influenced by obesity and dietary habits in euthyroid women with HT.
Two hundred eighteen consecutive euthyroid women with HT were studied and separated in two groups; 102 with thyroxine replacement and 114 without. For the evaluation of oxidative stress, total lipid peroxide levels in serum (TOS) were measured and recoded as ‘high TOS’ vs ‘medium/low TOS’. The type of food and consumption frequency were recorded. Two binary variables were considered; normal vs low fruit consumption and daily vs sporadic vegetable consumption.
‘High TOS’ was more frequent in women under thyroxine replacement (31.4% vs 14.7%, OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 1.4–5.2). The prevalence of ‘high TOS’ was higher among overweight/obese women compared to women with normal BMI (30.4% vs 12.5%, OR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.5–6.4). Low fruit consumption was associated with increased ‘high TOS’ prevalence (30.6% vs 12.9%, OR = 3.0, 95% CI: 1.4–6.2). Sporadic vegetable consumption was associated with increased ‘high TOS’ prevalence compared to daily consumption (29.9% vs 13.5%, OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 1.3–5.7). The examined risk factors were independent and additive in their effect on TOS. At least three risk factors had to be concomitantly present for the likelihood of ‘high TOS’ to be significantly elevated.
Oxidative stress is increased in women with HT under thyroxine replacement. Nevertheless, normal BMI, daily fruit and vegetable consumption, all contribute in maintaining oxidative stress at low levels.
Amir Bashkin, Eliran Yaakobi, Marina Nodelman and Ohad Ronen
TSH routine testing in hospitalized patients has low efficacy, but may be beneficial in a selected subgroup of patients. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of routine thyroid function tests among patients admitted to internal medicine departments. It is a retrospective study. A randomly selected cohort of hospitalized patients with abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood tests drawn as part of admission protocol. Patient data were collected from the electronic medical files and analyzed for its efficacy. TSH as a screening test was proven unnecessary in 75% (174) of the study population. Leading causes were non-thyroidal illness syndrome, drugs affecting the test results and subclinical disorders. TSH testing was found to be clinically helpful in only 9 patients; however, all of them had other clinical need for TSH testing. We found a clinically abnormal TSH in 20 patients, hypothyroidism in 11 patients and thyrotoxicosis in 9 patients. Low efficacy ascribed to TSH screening test by this study correlates with recent recommendations that indicate TSH screening in admitted patients only with accompanying clinical suspicion. Most probably, the majority of patients found by screening to have thyrotoxicosis have non-thyroidal illness or drug effects so the threshold for FT4 to diagnose overt thyrotoxicosis should be higher than that in ambulatory patients. In elderly patients, clinically relevant TSH disturbances are more frequent and are harder to diagnose, therefore, TSH screening in this group of patients might be beneficial.
Caroline Serrano-Nascimento, Rafael Barrera Salgueiro, Kaio Fernando Vitzel, Thiago Pantaleão, Vânia Maria Corrêa da Costa and Maria Tereza Nunes
Adequate maternal iodine consumption during pregnancy and lactation guarantees normal thyroid hormones (TH) production, which is crucial to the development of the fetus. Indeed, iodine deficiency is clearly related to maternal hypothyroidism and deleterious effects in the fetal development. Conversely, the effects of iodine excess (IE) consumption on maternal thyroid function are still controversial. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the impact of IE exposure during pregnancy and lactation periods on maternal hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis. IE-exposed dams presented reduced serum TH concentration and increased serum thyrotropin (TSH) levels. Moreover, maternal IE exposure increased the hypothalamic expression of Trh and the pituitary expression of Trhr, Dio2, Tsha and Tshb mRNA, while reduced the Gh mRNA content. Additionally, IE-exposed dams presented thyroid morphological alterations, increased thyroid oxidative stress and decreased expression of thyroid genes/proteins involved in TH synthesis, secretion and metabolism. Furthermore, Dio1 mRNA expression and D1 activity were reduced in the liver and the kidney of IE-treated animals. Finally, the mRNA expression of Slc5a5 and Slc26a4 were reduced in the mammary gland of IE-exposed rats. The latter results are in accordance with the reduction of prolactin expression and serum levels in IE-treated dams. In summary, our study indicates that the exposure to IE during pregnancy and lactation induces primary hypothyroidism in rat dams and impairs iodide transfer to the milk.
David P Sonne, Asger Lund, Jens Faber, Jens J Holst, Tina Vilsbøll and Filip K Knop
Bile acids are possible candidate agents in newly identified pathways through which energy expenditure may be regulated. Preclinical studies suggest that bile acids activate the enzyme type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase, which deiodinates thyroxine (T4) to the biologically active triiodothyronine (T3). We aimed to evaluate the influence of bile acid exposure and incretin hormones on thyroid function parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones (total T3 and free T4) were measured in plasma from two human studies: i) 75 g-oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and three isocaloric (500 kcal) and isovolaemic (350 ml) liquid meals with increasing fat content with concomitant ultrasonographic evaluation of gallbladder emptying in 15 patients with type 2 diabetes and 15 healthy age, gender and BMI-matched controls (meal-study) and ii) 50 g-OGTT and isoglycaemic intravenous glucose infusions (IIGI) alone or in combination with glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and/or GLP2, in ten patients with type 2 diabetes (IIGI-study). In both studies, TSH levels declined (P<0.01) similarly following all meal and infusion stimuli. T3 and T4 concentrations did not change in response to any of the applied stimuli. TSH levels declined independently of the degree of gallbladder emptying (meal-study), route of nutrient administration and infusion of gut hormones. In conclusion, intestinal bile flow and i.v. infusions of the gut hormones, GIP, GLP1 and/or GLP2, do not seem to affect thyroid function parameters. Thus, the presence of a ‘gut–thyroid–pituitary’ axis seems questionable.
L Johnsen, N B Lyckegaard, P Khanal, B Quistorff, K Raun and M O Nielsen
We aimed to test, whether fetal under- or overnutrition differentially program the thyroid axis with lasting effects on energy metabolism, and if early-life postnatal overnutrition modulates implications of prenatal programming.
Twin-pregnant sheep (n = 36) were either adequately (NORM), under- (LOW; 50% of NORM) or overnourished (HIGH; 150% of energy and 110% of protein requirements) in the last-trimester of gestation. From 3 days-of-age to 6 months-of-age, twin lambs received a conventional (CONV) or an obesogenic, high-carbohydrate high-fat (HCHF) diet. Subgroups were slaughtered at 6-months-of-age. Remaining lambs were fed a low-fat diet until 2½ years-of-age (adulthood).
Serum hormone levels were determined at 6 months- and 2½ years-of-age. At 2½ years-of-age, feed intake capacity (intake over 4-h following 72-h fasting) was determined, and an intravenous thyroxine tolerance test (iTTT) was performed, including measurements of heart rate, rectal temperature and energy expenditure (EE).
In the iTTT, the LOW and nutritionally mismatched NORM:HCHF and HIGH:CONV sheep increased serum T3, T3:T4 and T3:TSH less than NORM:CONV, whereas TSH was decreased less in HIGH, NORM:HCHF and LOW:HCHF. Early postnatal exposure to the HCHF diet decreased basal adult EE in NORM and HIGH, but not LOW, and increased adult feed intake capacity in NORM and LOW, but not HIGH.
Conclusions: The iTTT revealed a differential programming of central and peripheral HPT axis function in response to late fetal malnutrition and an early postnatal obesogenic diet, with long-term implications for adult HPT axis adaptability and associated consequences for adiposity risk.