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.
Luca Persani, Biagio Cangiano and Marco Bonomi
Elena Galazzi, Paolo Duminuco, Mirella Moro, Fabiana Guizzardi, Nicoletta Marazzi, Alessandro Sartorio, Sabrina Avignone, Marco Bonomi, Luca Persani and Maria Teresa Bonati
Ulnar-mammary syndrome (UMS) is characterized by ulnar defects, and nipple or apocrine gland hypoplasia, caused by TBX3 haploinsufficiency. Signs of hypogonadism were repeatedly reported, but the mechanisms remain elusive. We aim to assess the origin of hypogonadism in two families with UMS. UMS was suspected in two unrelated probands referred to an academic center with delayed puberty because of the evident ulnar ray and breast defects in their parents. Clinical, biochemical and genetic investigations proved the existence of congenital normosmic IHH (nIHH) associated with pituitary hypoplasia in the two probands who were heterozygous for novel TBX3 pathogenic variants. The mutations co-segregated with delayed puberty, midline defects (nose, teeth and tongue anomalies) and other variable features of UMS in the two families (absent axillary hairs and nipple hypoplasia, asymmetrical features including unilateral ulnar or renal abnormalities). The combined analysis of these findings and of the previous UMS reports showed delayed puberty and other signs of hypogonadism in 79 and 37% of UMS males, respectively. Proband 1 was followed up to adulthood with persistence of nIHH. In conclusion, UMS should be suspected in patients with delayed puberty and midline defects, including pituitary hypoplasia, in the presence of mild cues for TBX3 mutation, even in the absence of limb malformations. In addition, TBX3 should be included among candidate genes for congenital nIHH.