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Open access

Kush Dev Singh Jarial, Anil Bhansali, Vivek Gupta, Paramjeet Singh, Kanchan K Mukherjee, Akhilesh Sharma, Rakesh K Vashishtha, Suja P Sukumar, Naresh Sachdeva and Rama Walia

Context

Bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling (BIPSS) using hCRH is currently considered the ‘gold standard’ test for the differential diagnosis of ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome (CS). Vasopressin is more potent than CRH to stimulate ACTH secretion as shown in animal studies; however, no comparative data of its use are available during BIPSS.

Objective

To study the diagnostic accuracy and comparison of hCRH and lysine vasopressin (LVP) stimulation during BIPSS.

Patients and methods

29 patients (27-Cushing’s disease, 2-ectopic CS; confirmed on histopathology) underwent BIPSS and were included for the study. Patients were randomized to receive hCRH, 5 U LVP or 10 U LVP during BIPSS for ACTH stimulation. BIPSS and contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CEMRI) were compared with intra-operative findings of trans-sphenoidal surgery (TSS) for localization and lateralization of the ACTH source.

Results

BIPSS correctly localized the source of ACTH excess in 29/29 of the patients with accuracy of 26/26 patients, using any of the agent, whereas sensitivity and PPV for lateralization with hCRH, 5 U LVP and 10 U LVP was seen in 10/10, 6/10; 10/10,8/10 and 7/7,6/7 patients respectively. Concordance of BIPSS with TSS was seen in 20/27, CEMRI with BIPSS in 16/24 and CEMRI with TSS in 18/24 of patients for lateralizing the adenoma. Most of the side effects were transient and were comparable in all the three groups.

Conclusion

BIPSS using either hCRH or LVP (5 U or 10 U) confirmed the source of ACTH excess in all the patients, while 10 U LVP correctly lateralized the pituitary adenoma in three fourth of the patients.

Open access

Janko Sattler, Jinwen Tu, Shihani Stoner, Jingbao Li, Frank Buttgereit, Markus J Seibel, Hong Zhou and Mark S Cooper

Patients with chronic immune-mediated arthritis exhibit abnormal hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. The basis for this abnormality is not known. Immune-mediated arthritis is associated with increased extra-adrenal synthesis of active glucocorticoids by the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) enzyme. 11β-HSD1 is expressed in the central nervous system, including regions involved in HPA axis regulation. We examined whether altered 11β-HSD1 expression within these regions contributes to HPA axis dysregulation during arthritis. The expression of 11β-HSD1, and other components of glucocorticoid signaling, were examined in various brain regions and the pituitary gland of mice with experimentally induced arthritis. Two arthritis protocols were employed: The K/BxN spontaneous arthritis model for chronic arthritis and the K/BxN serum transfer arthritis model for acute arthritis. 11β-HSD1 mRNA (Hsd11b1) was expressed in the hippocampus, hypothalamus, cortex, cerebellum and pituitary gland. Hypothalamic Hsd11b1 expression did not change in response to arthritis in either model. Pituitary Hsd11b1 expression was however significantly increased in both chronic and acute arthritis models. Hippocampal Hsd11b1 was decreased in acute but not chronic arthritis. Chronic, but not acute, arthritis was associated with a reduction in hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone and arginine vasopressin expression. In both models, serum adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone levels were no different from non-inflammatory controls. These findings demonstrate inflammation-dependent regulation of Hsd11b1 expression in the pituitary gland and hippocampus. The upregulation of 11β-HSD1 expression in the pituitary during both chronic and acute arthritis, and thus, an increase in glucocorticoid negative feedback, could contribute to the abnormalities in HPA axis activity seen in immune-mediated arthritis.

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

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.

Open access

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.

Open access

M de Fost, S M Oussaada, E Endert, G E Linthorst, M J Serlie, M R Soeters, J H DeVries, P H Bisschop and E Fliers

The water deprivation test is the gold standard test to differentiate central or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (DI) from primary polydipsia (PP) in patients with polyuria and polydipsia. Few studies have addressed the diagnostic performance of this test. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the standard water deprivation test, including plasma arginine vasopressin (AVP) measurements, in 40 consecutive patients with polyuria. We compared initial test results with the final clinical diagnosis, i.e., no DI, central DI, or nephrogenic DI. The median length of follow-up was 8 years. In a subset of ten patients, the novel marker copeptin (CP) was measured in plasma. Using the final diagnosis as a gold standard, a threshold for urine osmolality of >800 mOsmol/kg after water deprivation yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 96 and 100%, respectively, for diagnosing PP. Sensitivity increased to 100% if the cut-off value for urine osmolality was set at 680 mOsmol/kg. Plasma AVP levels did not differ between patient groups and did not differentiate among central DI, nephrogenic DI, or PP. In all three patients with central DI, plasma CP was <2.5 pmol/l with plasma osmolality >290 mOsmol/kg, and >2.5 pmol/l in patients without DI. The optimal cut-off value for differentiating PP from DI during a water deprivation test was urine osmolality >680 mOsmol/kg. Differentiating between central and nephrogenic DI should be based on clinical judgment as AVP levels did not discriminate.

Open access

S E Baldeweg, S Ball, A Brooke, H K Gleeson, M J Levy, M Prentice, J Wass and the Society for Endocrinology Clinical Committee

Cranial diabetes insipidus (CDI) is a treatable chronic condition that can potentially develop into a life-threatening medical emergency. CDI is due to the relative or absolute lack of the posterior pituitary hormone vasopressin (AVP), also known as anti-diuretic hormone. AVP deficiency results in uncontrolled diuresis. Complete deficiency can lead to polyuria exceeding 10 L/24 h. Given a functioning thirst mechanism and free access to water, patients with CDI can normally maintain adequate fluid balance through increased drinking. Desmopressin (DDAVP, a synthetic AVP analogue) reduces uncontrolled water excretion in CDI and is commonly used in treatment. Critically, loss of thirst perception (through primary pathology or reduced consciousness) or limited access to water (through non-availability, disability or inter-current illness) in a patient with CDI can lead to life-threatening dehydration. This position can be further exacerbated through the omission of DDAVP. Recent data have highlighted serious adverse events (including deaths) in patients with CDI. These adverse outcomes and deaths have occurred through a combination of lack of knowledge and treatment failures by health professionals. Here, with our guideline, we recommend treatment pathways for patients with known CDI admitted to hospital. Following these guidelines is essential for the safe management of patients with CDI.

Open access

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

Objective

Thyroid function may recover in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT).

Design

To investigate thyroid function and the need to resume l-thyroxine treatment after its discontinuation.

Setting

Nine Italian pediatric endocrinology centers.

Patients

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Open access

Ningning Gong, Cuixia Gao, Xuedi Chen, Yu Wang and Limin Tian

The purpose of our study was to observe adipokine expression and endothelial function in subclinical hypothyroidism (sHT) rats and to determine whether levothyroxine (LT4) treatment affects these changes. Sixty-five male Wistar rats were randomly divided into five groups: the control group; sHT A, B and C groups and the sHT + T4 group. The sHT rats were induced by methimazole (MMI) and the sHT + T4 rats were administered LT4 treatment after 8 weeks of MMI administration. Thyroid function and lipid levels were measured using radioimmunoassays and enzymatic colorimetric methods, respectively. Serum adiponectin (APN), chemerin, TNF-α, endothelin (ET-1) and nitric oxide (NO) levels were measured using ELISA kits and a nitric-reductive assay. The expression of APN, chemerin and TNF-α in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was measured in experimental rats using RT-PCR and Western blotting. Hematoxylin–eosin (HE) staining was used to observe changes in adipose tissue. The sHT rats had significantly higher levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), TNF-α, chemerin, ET-1, total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and lower levels of APN and NO than those in control and sHT + T4 rats. Based on Pearson correlation analysis, the levels of chemerin, TNF-α, ET-1, LDL-C, TC and triglyceride (TG) were positively correlated with TSH, but APN and NO levels were negatively correlated with TSH. These findings demonstrated that high TSH levels contribute to the changes of adipokines and endothelial dysfunction in sHT, but LT4 treatment ameliorates those changes.

Open access

Anastasia K Armeni, Konstantinos Assimakopoulos, Dimitra Marioli, Vassiliki Koika, Euthychia Michaelidou, Niki Mourtzi, Gregoris Iconomou and Neoklis A Georgopoulos

Over the past decades, research attention has increasingly been paid to the neurobiological component of sexual behavior. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation of estrogen receptor α (ERA) gene polymorphism (rs2234693-PvuII) (T→C substitution) and oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism (rs53576) (G→A substitution) with sexuality parameters of young, healthy women. One hundred thirty-three Greek heterosexual women, students in higher education institutions, 20–25 years of age, sexually active, with normal menstrual cycles (28–35 days), were recruited in the study. Exclusion criteria were chronic and/or major psychiatric diseases, use of oral contraceptive pills (OCs), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid diseases as well as drugs that are implicated in hypothalamus–pituitary–gonadal axis. T allele (wildtype) of rs2234693 (PvuII) polymorphism of ERA gene was correlated with increased levels of arousal and lubrication, whereas A allele (polymorphic) of rs53576 (OXTR) polymorphism was correlated with increased arousal levels. The simultaneous presence of both T allele of rs2234693 (PvuII) and A allele of rs53576 (OXTR) polymorphisms (T + A group) was correlated with increased arousal, orgasm levels as well as female sexual function index full score. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the interaction between ERA and OXTR with regard to sexual function in women. Female sexuality is a complex behavioral trait that encompasses both biological and psychological components. It seems that variability in female sexual response stems from genetic variability that characterizes endocrine, neurotransmitter and central nervous system influences.