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Open access

Mette H Viuff and Claus H Gravholt

In this commentary, we discuss the state of affairs concerning the clinical care of females with Turner syndrome (TS) in Germany. TS is a rare disease and new international guidelines describe an appropriate setup for optimal clinical care. Several countries have implemented a program with centralized adult Turner syndrome clinics, which are now found in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, parts of England and possibly other countries, but hitherto not in Germany. Such an approach should ensure the availability of high quality multi-disciplinary care for all women with TS to be treated and to detect all the conditions that have been associated with TS, which typically appear at odd times during the lifetime of a female with TS. Care should be offered at no added cost for the patient, and treatment with relevant drugs should be available at reasonable cost for the individual patient. Currently, it is quite problematic that many female sex hormone preparations are not available at low cost in a number of countries. Additional problems include supply chain issue which lead to patients not being able to buy their usual drug for a certain period of time. We think it is timely that countries improve the care for individuals with rare conditions, such as TS.

Open access

Henrik H Thomsen, Holger J Møller, Christian Trolle, Kristian A Groth, Anne Skakkebæk, Anders Bojesen, Christian Høst, and Claus H Gravholt

Soluble CD163 (sCD163) is a novel marker linked to states of low-grade inflammation such as diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and atherosclerosis, all prevalent in subjects with Turner syndrome (TS) and Klinefelter syndrome (KS). We aimed to assess the levels of sCD163 and the regulation of sCD163 in regards to treatment with sex hormone therapy in males with and without KS and females with and without TS. Males with KS (n=70) and age-matched controls (n=71) participating in a cross-sectional study and 12 healthy males from an experimental hypogonadism study. Females with TS (n=8) and healthy age-matched controls (n=8) participating in a randomized crossover trial. The intervention comprised of treatment with sex steroids. Males with KS had higher levels of sCD163 compared with controls (1.75 (0.47–6.90) and 1.36 (0.77–3.11) respectively, P<0.001) and the levels correlated to plasma testosterone (r=−0.31, P<0.01), BMI (r=0.42, P<0.001), and homeostasis model of assessment insulin resistance (r=0.46, P<0.001). Treatment with testosterone did not significantly lower sCD163. Females with TS not receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) had higher levels of sCD163 than those of their age-matched healthy controls (1.38±0.44 vs 0.91±0.40, P=0.04). HRT and oral contraceptive therapy decreased sCD163 in TS by 22% (1.07±0.30) and in controls by 39% (0.55±0.36), with significance in both groups (P=0.01 and P=0.04). We conclude that levels of sCD163 correlate with endogenous testosterone in KS and are higher in KS subjects compared with controls, but treatment did not significantly lower levels. Both endogenous and exogenous estradiol in TS was associated with lower levels of sCD163.

Open access

Simon Chang, Christian Fynbo Christiansen, Anders Bojesen, Svend Juul, Anna-Marie B Münster, and Claus H Gravholt

Objectives

Klinefelter syndrome (KS), 47,XXY, can be viewed as a disease model for investigating the risk of thrombosis in male hypogonadism and the subsequent risk related to testosterone treatment. We describe rates of thrombotic risk factors, thrombosis and thrombosis mortality in KS and the association with testosterone treatment.

Methods

National registry-based matched cohort study with follow-up from 1995 to 2016 set in Denmark. For the study, 1155 men with KS were each matched by year and month of birth to 100 men from the background population. First thrombotic events and thrombosis mortality was evaluated by event rates and hazard ratios (HRs) and by applying testosterone treatment as a time-dependent covariate.

Results

The KS cohort had higher incidence of venous thromboembolism relative to the comparison cohort (HR, 3.95; 95% CI, 2.83–5.52). Total thrombotic deaths were increased in KS (HR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.18–2.62), and all-cause mortality was increased in KS following arterial thrombosis (HR 1.73; 95% CI 1.22–2.47). Only 48.7% of men with KS redeemed prescriptions for testosterone. Untreated men with KS were on average born 12 years before those treated, and the majority of untreated men with KS with available biochemistry were hypogonadal. Testosterone treatment in KS was associated with a non-significant decrease in venous thromboembolism and thrombotic deaths.

Conclusion

Thrombosis and thrombotic deaths are increased in KS. Only half of the men with KS ever received testosterone treatment, despite overt hypogonadism in the non-treated. Testosterone treatment in Klinefelter syndrome was insignificantly associated with lower incidence rates of venous thrombosis and thrombotic deaths.

Open access

Christian Høst, Anders Bojesen, Mogens Erlandsen, Kristian A Groth, Kurt Kristensen, Anne Grethe Jurik, Niels H Birkebæk, and Claus H Gravholt

Context and objective

Males with Klinefelter syndrome (KS) are typically hypogonadal with a high incidence of metabolic disease, increased body fat and mortality. Testosterone treatment of hypogonadal patients decrease fat mass, increase lean body mass and improve insulin sensitivity, but whether this extends to patients with KS is presently unknown.

Research design and methods

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, BMI-matched cross-over study, 13 males with KS (age: 34.8 years; BMI: 26.7 kg/m2) received testosterone (Andriol®) 160 mg per day (testosterone) or placebo treatment for 6 months. Thirteen age- and BMI-matched healthy controls were recruited. DEXA scan, abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan and a hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp, muscle strength and maximal oxygen uptake measurement were performed.

Results

Total lean body mass and body fat mass were comparable between testosterone-naïve KS and controls using DEXA, whereas visceral fat mass, total abdominal and intra-abdominal fat by CT was increased (P < 0.05). Testosterone decreased total body fat (P = 0.01) and abdominal fat by CT (P = 0.04). Glucose disposal was similar between testosterone-naïve KS and controls (P = 0.3) and unchanged during testosterone (P = 0.8). Free fatty acid suppression during the clamp was impaired in KS and maximal oxygen uptake was markedly lower in KS, but both were unaffected by treatment. Testosterone increased hemoglobin and IGF-I.

Conclusion

Testosterone treatment in adult males with KS for 6 months leads to favorable changes in body composition with reductions in fat mass, including abdominal fat mass, but does not change measures of glucose homeostasis.

Open access

Simon Chang, Arkadiusz J Goszczak, Anne Skakkebæk, Jens Fedder, Anders Bojesen, M Vakur Bor, Moniek P M de Maat, Claus H Gravholt, and Anna-Marie B Münster

Objective

Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is associated with increased risk of thrombosis. Hypogonadism and accumulating body fat in KS have a potential impact on fibrinolysis. In this study, we assessed the fibrinolytic system and the association with testosterone levels in KS.

Design

This study is a cross-sectional comparison of men with KS and age-matched male controls.

Methods

Fibrin clot lysis was evaluated by turbidity measurements and by measuring levels of individual fibrinolytic proteins in plasma samples. Fibrin clot structure was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. Total testosterone was measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Body fat was evaluated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results

In this study, 45 men with KS and 45 age- and education-matched controls were included. Men with KS had a 24% reduction in fibrin clot lysis compared with controls (46.2 ± 17.1 vs 60.6 ± 18.8 %/h, P  = 0.0003) and higher levels of fibrinogen, factor XIII (P ≤ 0.01), and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (P  = 0.04). Men with KS had lower total testosterone (P  = 0.008) and higher body fat (P  = 0.001). In KS, reduced fibrin clot lysability was associated with higher fibrinogen and body fat related to decreasing total testosterone and hypogonadism among men with KS. Fibrin clot structure was not different compared to KS and controls.

Conclusions

Fibrin clot lysis in KS was markedly reduced, potentially contributing to a prothrombotic state and increasing thrombotic risk. Hypogonadism in KS was associated with increased fibrinogen and total body fat, predicting reduced fibrin clot lysis.

Open access

Luca Persani, Martine Cools, Stamatina Ioakim, S Faisal Ahmed, Silvia Andonova, Magdalena Avbelj-Stefanija, Federico Baronio, Jerome Bouligand, Hennie T Bruggenwirth, Justin H Davies, Elfride De Baere, Iveta Dzivite-Krisane, Paula Fernandez-Alvarez, Alexander Gheldof, Claudia Giavoli, Claus H Gravholt, Olaf Hiort, Paul-Martin Holterhus, Anders Juul, Csilla Krausz, Kristina Lagerstedt-Robinson, Ruth McGowan, Uta Neumann, Antonio Novelli, Xavier Peyrassol, Leonidas A Phylactou, Julia Rohayem, Philippe Touraine, Dineke Westra, Valeria Vezzoli, and Raffaella Rossetti

Differences of sex development and maturation (SDM) represent a heterogeneous puzzle of rare conditions with a large genetic component whose management and treatment could be improved by an accurate classification of underlying molecular conditions, and next-generation sequencing (NGS) should represent the most appropriate approach. Therefore, we conducted a survey dedicated to the use and potential outcomes of NGS for SDM disorders diagnosis among the 53 health care providers (HCP) of the European Reference Network for rare endocrine conditions. The response rate was 49% with a total of 26 HCPs from 13 countries. All HCPs, except 1, performed NGS investigations for SDM disorders on 6720 patients, 3764 (56%) with differences of sex development (DSD), including 811 unexplained primary ovarian insufficiency, and 2956 (44%) with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH). The approaches varied from targeted analysis of custom gene panels (range: 11–490 genes) in 81.5% of cases or whole exome sequencing with the extraction of a virtual panel in the remaining cases. These analyses were performed for diagnostic purposes in 21 HCPs, supported by the National Health Systems in 16 cases. The likelihood of finding a variant ranged between 7 and 60%, mainly depending upon the number of analysed genes or criteria used for reporting, most HCPs also reporting variants of uncertain significance. These data illustrate the status of genetic diagnosis of DSD and CHH across Europe. In most countries, these analyses are performed for diagnostic purposes, yielding highly variable results, thus suggesting the need for harmonization and general improvements of NGS approaches.