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.
Care of adult women with Turner syndrome: the state of affairs in Germany
Mette H Viuff and Claus H Gravholt
A placebo-controlled randomized study with testosterone in Klinefelter syndrome: beneficial effects on body composition
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.
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.
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.
The macrophage low-grade inflammation marker sCD163 is modulated by exogenous sex steroids
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.
Klinefelter syndrome and testosterone treatment: a national cohort study on thrombosis risk
Simon Chang, Christian Fynbo Christiansen, Anders Bojesen, Svend Juul, Anna-Marie B Münster, and Claus H Gravholt
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.
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.
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.
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.
The multi-omic landscape of sex chromosome abnormalities: current status and future directions
Helene Bandsholm Leere Tallaksen, Emma B Johannsen, Jesper Just, Mette Hansen Viuff, Claus H Gravholt, and Anne Skakkebæk
Sex chromosome abnormalities (SCAs) are chromosomal disorders with either a complete or partial loss or gain of sex chromosomes. The most frequent SCAs include Turner syndrome (45,X), Klinefelter syndrome (47,XXY), Trisomy X syndrome (47,XXX), and Double Y syndrome (47,XYY). The phenotype seen in SCAs is highly variable and may not merely be due to the direct genomic imbalance from altered sex chromosome gene dosage but also due to additive alterations in gene networks and regulatory pathways across the genome as well as individual genetic modifiers. This review summarizes the current insight into the genomics of SCAs. In addition, future directions of research that can contribute to decipher the genomics of SCA are discussed such as single-cell omics, spatial transcriptomics, system biology thinking, human-induced pluripotent stem cells, and animal models, and how these data may be combined to bridge the gap between genomics and the clinical phenotype.
Morbidity, mortality, and socioeconomics in Klinefelter syndrome and 47,XYY syndrome: a comparative review
Lukas Ochsner Ridder, Agnethe Berglund, Kirstine Stochholm, Simon Chang, and Claus H Gravholt
Klinefelter syndrome (KS, 47,XXY) and 47,XYY syndrome are genetic conditions characterized by a supernumerary sex chromosome. The conditions share many traits, but considerable phenotypic differences are seen between the two. Focusing on morbidity, mortality, and socioeconomics, this review highlights similarities and differences.
Relevant literature was identified through PubMed with the following search terms; 'Klinefelter', '47,XXY', '47,XYY', and 'Jacobs syndrome'. Included journal articles were chosen at the authors’ discretion.
KS and 47,XYY are the most common sex chromosome disorders in males, with an expected prevalence of 152 and 98 per 100,000 newborn males, respectively. Non-diagnosis is extensive, as only about 38% of KS and 18% of 47,XYY are diagnosed. Both conditions are associated with an increased mortality risk and increased risk of a variety of diseases and other health-related problems affecting virtually every organ system. Early diagnosis seems to predict a lesser comorbidity burden. Neurocognitive deficits as well as social and behavioral problems are commonly described. Both syndromes are associated with poor socioeconomicfor example, lower income and educational level and higher rates of crime. Infertility is a hallmark of KS, but fertility seems also reduced in 47,XYY.
Being born as a boy with an extra X or Y chromosome is associated with increased mortality and excess morbidity, partially expressed in a sex chromosome-specific pattern.Both syndromes continue to be greatly underdiagnosed, even thoughearly intervention may improve the overall outcome. Earlier diagnosis to initiate timely counseling and treatment should be emphasized.
New developments and future trajectories in supernumerary sex chromosome abnormalities: a summary of the 2022 3rd International Workshop on Klinefelter Syndrome, Trisomy X, and XYY
Claus H Gravholt, Alberto Ferlin, Joerg Gromoll, Anders Juul, Armin Raznahan, Sophie van Rijn, Alan D Rogol, Anne Skakkebæk, Nicole Tartaglia, and Hanna Swaab
The 3rd International Workshop on Klinefelter Syndrome, Trisomy X, and 47,XYY syndrome was held in Leiden, the Netherlands, on September 12–14, 2022.
Here, we review new data presented at the workshop and discuss scientific and clinical trajectories. We focus on shortcomings in knowledge and therefore point out future areas for research.
We focus on the genetics and genomics of supernumerary sex chromosome syndromes with new data being presented. Most knowledge centre specifically on Klinefelter syndrome, where aspects on testosterone deficiency and the relation to bone, muscle and fat were discussed, as was infertility and the treatment thereof. Both trisomy X and 47,XYY syndrome are frequently affected by infertility.
Transitioning of males with Klinefelter syndrome was addressed, as this seemingly simple process in practise is often difficult.
It is now realized that neurocognitive changes are pervasive in all supernumerary sex chromosome syndromes, which were extensively discussed. New intervention projects were also described, and exciting new data concerning these were presented.
Advocacy organizations were present, describing the enormous burden carried by parents when having to explain their child’s specific syndrome to most professionals whenever in contact with health care and education systems. It was also pointed out that most countries do not have health care systems that diagnose patients with supernumerary sex chromosome syndromes, thus pinpointing a clear deficiency in the current genetic testing and care models.
At the end of the workshop, a roadmap towards the development of new international clinical care guidelines for Klinefelter syndrome was decided.
Reduced fibrin clot lysis in Klinefelter syndrome associated with hypogonadism
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
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.
This study is a cross-sectional comparison of men with KS and age-matched male controls.
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.
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.
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.
The genetic diagnosis of rare endocrine disorders of sex development and maturation: a survey among Endo-ERN centres
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.