Both in the United States and Europe, the number of minors who present at transgender healthcare services before the onset of puberty is rapidly expanding. Many of those who will have persistent gender dysphoria at the onset of puberty will pursue long-term puberty suppression before reaching the appropriate age to start using gender-affirming hormones. Exposure to pubertal sex steroids is thus significantly deferred in these individuals. Puberty is a critical period for bone development: increasing concentrations of estrogens and androgens (directly or after aromatization to estrogens) promote progressive bone growth and mineralization and induce sexually dimorphic skeletal changes. As a consequence, safety concerns regarding bone development and increased future fracture risk in transgender youth have been raised. We here review published data on bone development in transgender adolescents, focusing in particular on differences in age and pubertal stage at the start of puberty suppression, chosen strategy to block puberty progression, duration of puberty suppression, and the timing of re-evaluation after estradiol or testosterone administration. Results consistently indicate a negative impact of long-term puberty suppression on bone mineral density, especially at the lumbar spine, which is only partially restored after sex steroid administration. Trans girls are more vulnerable than trans boys for compromised bone health. Behavioral health measures that can promote bone mineralization, such as weight-bearing exercise and calcium and vitamin D supplementation, are strongly recommended in transgender youth, during the phase of puberty suppression and thereafter.
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Silvia Ciancia, Vanessa Dubois, and Martine Cools
Hanna F Nowotny, Jillian Bryce, Salma R Ali, Roberta Giordano, Federico Baronio, Irina Chifu, Lea Tschaidse, Martine Cools, Erica LT van den Akker, Henrik Falhammar, Natasha M Appelman-Dijkstra, Luca Persani, Guglielmo Beccuti, Ian L Ross, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Alberto M Pereira, Eystein S Husebye, Stefanie Hahner, S Faisal Ahmed, and Nicole Reisch
Information on clinical outcomes of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) infection in patients with adrenal disorders is scarce.
A collaboration between the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) Rare Disease Committee and European Reference Network on Rare Endocrine Conditions via the European Registries for Rare Endocrine Conditions allowed the collection of data on 64 cases (57 adrenal insufficiency (AI), 7 Cushing’s syndrome) that had been reported by 12 centres in 8 European countries between January 2020 and December 2021.
Of all 64 patients, 23 were males and 41 females (13 of those children) with a median age of 37 and 51 years. In 45/57 (95%) AI cases, COVID-19 infection was confirmed by testing. Primary insufficiency was present in 45/57 patients; 19 were affected by Addison’s disease, 19 by congenital adrenal hyperplasia and 7 by primary AI (PAI) due to other causes. The most relevant comorbidities were hypertension (12%), obesity (n = 14%) and diabetes mellitus (9%). An increase by a median of 2.0 (IQR 1.4) times the daily replacement dose was reported in 42 (74%) patients. Two patients were administered i.m. injection of 100 mg hydrocortisone, and 11/64 were admitted to the hospital. Two patients had to be transferred to the intensive care unit, one with a fatal outcome. Four patients reported persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection, all others complete remission.
This European multicentre questionnaire is the first to collect data on the outcome of COVID-19 infection in patients with adrenal gland disorders. It suggests good clinical outcomes in case of duly dose adjustments and emphasizes the importance of patient education on sick day rules.
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.