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Open access

Maxime Duval, Kalyane Bach-Ngohou, Damien Masson, Camille Guimard, Philippe Le Conte, and David Trewick

Objective

Severe hypocalcemia (Ca <1.9 mmol/L) is often considered an emergency because of a potential risk of cardiac arrest or seizures. However, there is little evidence to support this. The aim of our study was to assess whether severe hypocalcemia was associated with immediately life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias or neurological complications.

Methods

A retrospective observational study was carried out over a 2-year period in the Adult Emergency Department (ED) of Nantes University Hospital. All patients who had a protein-corrected calcium concentration measure were eligible for inclusion. Patients with multiple myeloma were excluded. The primary outcome was the number of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and/or neurological complications during the stay in the ED.

Results

A total of 41,823 patients had protein-corrected calcium (pcCa) concentrations measured, 155 had severe hypocalcemia, 22 were excluded because of myeloma leaving 133 for analysis. Median pcCa concentration was 1.73 mmol/L (1.57–1.84). Seventeen (12.8%) patients presented a life-threatening condition, 14 (10.5%) neurological and 3 (2.2%) cardiac during ED stay. However, these complications could be explained by the presence of underlying co-morbidities and or electrolyte disturbances other than hypocalcemia. Overall, 24 (18%) patients died in hospital. Vitamin D deficiency, chronic kidney disease and hypoparathyroidism were the most frequently found causes of hypocalcemia.

Conclusion

Thirteen percent of patients with severe hypocalcemia presented a life-threatening cardiac or neurological complication on the ED. However, a perfectly valid alternative cause could account for these complications. Further research is warranted to define the precise role of hypocalcemia.

Open access

Efstratios Kardalas, Stavroula A Paschou, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Giovanna Muscogiuri, Gerasimos Siasos, and Andromachi Vryonidou

Hypokalemia is a common electrolyte disturbance, especially in hospitalized patients. It can have various causes, including endocrine ones. Sometimes, hypokalemia requires urgent medical attention. The aim of this review is to present updated information regarding: (1) the definition and prevalence of hypokalemia, (2) the physiology of potassium homeostasis, (3) the various causes leading to hypokalemia, (4) the diagnostic steps for the assessment of hypokalemia and (5) the appropriate treatment of hypokalemia depending on the cause. Practical algorithms for the optimal diagnostic, treatment and follow-up strategy are presented, while an individualized approach is emphasized.

Open access

Chunyun Fu, Shiyu Luo, Yingfeng Li, Qifei Li, Xuehua Hu, Mengting Li, Yue Zhang, Jiasun Su, Xuyun Hu, Yun Chen, Jin Wang, Bobo Xie, Jingsi Luo, Xin Fan, Shaoke Chen, and Yiping Shen

Background

The incidence of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) differs significantly among different ethnicities and regions, and early differentiation of transient CH is important to avoid unnecessary prolonged treatment with L-T4.

Objective

To investigate the incidence of CH based on the newborn screening program in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, and to analyze the predictors that might allow for an early differentiation between permanent (P) and transient (T) CH.

Design and methods

Data from newborn screening program over a seven-year period (January 2009 to January 2016) at Guangxi Maternal and Child Health Hospital are analyzed. Blood samples were collected on filter paper between 3 and 7 days after birth, and TSH level was measured by time-resolved fluorescence assay. Individuals with increased TSH (TSH ≥ 8 IU/L) levels detected by newborn screening were recalled for further evaluation. Serum TSH, FT3 and FT4 were determined by electrochemiluminescence assay using venous blood samples. Diagnosis of CH is based on elevated TSH levels (>10 IU/L) and decreased FT4 levels (<12 pmol/L). Patients with elevated TSH levels and normal FT4 levels were diagnosed as hyperthyrotropinemia. Permanent or transient CH was determined by using the results of thyroid function tests after temporary withdrawal of L-T4 therapy at approximately 2–3 years of age.

Results

Among 1,238,340 infants in the newborn screening program, 14,443 individuals were recalled for reevaluation (re-call rate 1.18%), 911 and 731 individuals were subsequently determined to have hyperthyrotropinemia and CH respectively; thus, a prevalence of 1:1359 and 1:1694 for hyperthyrotropinemia and CH. Of the 731 patients with CH, 161 patients were diagnosed with permanent CH (PCH), and 159 patients were diagnosed with transient CH (TCH), the other 411 patients are too young to determine their subtypes. Patients with PCH required an increasing dose of L-T4 during the first few years, whereas patients with TCH required a decreased dose of L-T4. The TSH levels at diagnosis and the dose of L-T4 used were significantly higher in PCH cases than in transient cases. The FT4 levels at diagnosis were significantly lower in PCH cases than in TCH cases. The TSH levels at diagnosis, FT4 levels at diagnosis and L-T4 doses at 90 days were evaluated as predictors for differentiating PCH and TCH, and their accuracy at their respective optimal cutoffs were determined to be 60.6%, 66.7% and 93.9%, respectively.

Conclusions

The CH incidence in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is slightly higher (1:1694) compared to the worldwide levels (1/2000–1/4000). The PCH and TCH ratio is close to 1; thus, the estimated PCH incidence is 1/3388, which is similar to reported worldwide average incidence (1/3000). The L-T4 dose required at 90 days (>30 μg/day) has the highest predictive value for PCH. Earlier differentiation of PCH and TCH helps to determine appropriate treatment course.

Open access

Annieke C G van Baar, Andrei Prodan, Camilla D Wahlgren, Steen S Poulsen, Filip K Knop, Albert K Groen, Jacques J Bergman, Max Nieuwdorp, and Evgeni Levin

Background

Enteroendocrine cells are essential for the regulation of glucose metabolism, but it is unknown whether they are associated with clinical features of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and fasting plasma metabolites.

Objective

We aimed to identify fasting plasma metabolites that associate with duodenal L cell, K cell and delta cell densities in subjects with MetS with ranging levels of insulin resistance.

Research design and methods

In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated L, K and delta cell density in duodenal biopsies from treatment-naïve males with MetS using machine-learning methodology.

Results

We identified specific clinical biomarkers and plasma metabolites associated with L cell and delta cell density. L cell density was associated with increased plasma metabolite levels including symmetrical dimethylarginine, 3-aminoisobutyric acid, kynurenine and glycine. In turn, these L cell-linked fasting plasma metabolites correlated with clinical features of MetS.

Conclusions

Our results indicate a link between duodenal L cells, plasma metabolites and clinical characteristics of MetS. We conclude that duodenal L cells associate with plasma metabolites that have been implicated in human glucose metabolism homeostasis. Disentangling the causal relation between L cells and these metabolites might help to improve the (small intestinal-driven) pathophysiology behind insulin resistance in human obesity.

Open access

A Daniel Bird, Spencer Greatorex, David Reser, Gareth G Lavery, and Timothy J Cole

Steroid hormones play clinically important and specific regulatory roles in the development, growth, metabolism, reproduction and brain function in human. The type 1 and 2 11-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes (11β-HSD1 and 2) have key roles in the pre-receptor modification of glucocorticoids allowing aldosterone regulation of blood pressure, control of systemic fluid and electrolyte homeostasis and modulation of integrated metabolism and brain function. Although the activity and function of 11β-HSDs is thought to be understood, there exists an open reading frame for a distinct 11βHSD-like gene; HSD11B1L, which is present in human, non-human primate, sheep, pig and many other higher organisms, whereas an orthologue is absent in the genomes of mouse, rat and rabbit. We have now characterised this novel HSD11B1L gene as encoded by 9 exons and analysis of EST library transcripts indicated the use of two alternate ATG start sites in exons 2 and 3, and alternate splicing in exon 9. Relatively strong HSD11B1L gene expression was detected in human, non-human primate and sheep tissue samples from the brain, ovary and testis. Analysis in non-human primates and sheep by immunohistochemistry localised HSD11B1L protein to the cytoplasm of ovarian granulosa cells, testis Leydig cells, and gonadatroph cells in the anterior pituitary. Intracellular localisation analysis in transfected human HEK293 cells showed HSD1L protein within the endoplasmic reticulum and sequence analysis suggests that similar to 11βHSD1 it is membrane bound. The endogenous substrate of this third HSD enzyme remains elusive with localisation and expression data suggesting a reproductive hormone as a likely substrate.

Open access

Suma Uday, Ardita Kongjonaj, Magda Aguiar, Ted Tulchinsky, and Wolfgang Högler

Background

Nutritional rickets is a growing global public health concern despite existing prevention programmes and health policies. We aimed to compare infant and childhood vitamin D supplementation policies, implementation strategies and practices across Europe and explore factors influencing adherence.

Methods

European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Bone and Growth Plate Working Group members and other specialists completed a questionnaire on country-specific vitamin D supplementation policy and child health care programmes, socioeconomic factors, policy implementation strategies and adherence. Factors influencing adherence were assessed using Kendall’s tau-b correlation coefficient.

Results

Responses were received from 29 of 30 European countries (97%). Ninety-six per cent had national policies for infant vitamin D supplementation. Supplements are commenced on day 1–5 in 48% (14/29) of countries, day 6–21 in 48% (14/29); only the UK (1/29) starts supplements at 6 months. Duration of supplementation varied widely (6 months to lifelong in at-risk populations). Good (≥80% of infants), moderate (50–79%) and low adherence (<50%) to supplements was reported by 59% (17/29), 31% (9/29) and 10% (3/29) of countries, respectively. UK reported lowest adherence (5–20%). Factors significantly associated with good adherence were universal supplementation independent of feeding mode (P = 0.007), providing information at neonatal unit (NNU) discharge (P = 0.02), financial family support (P = 0.005); monitoring adherence at surveillance visits (P = 0.001) and the total number of factors adopted (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Good adherence to supplementation is a multi-task operation that works best when parents are informed at birth, all babies are supplemented, and adherence monitoring is incorporated into child health surveillance visits. Implementation strategies matter for delivering efficient prevention policies.

Open access

Ferdinand Roelfsema, Diana van Heemst, Ali Iranmanesh, Paul Takahashi, Rebecca Yang, and Johannes D Veldhuis

Context

Studies on 24-h cortisol secretion are rare. The impact of sex, age and adiposity on cortisol levels, often restricted to one or a few samples, are well recognized, but conflicting.

Objective

To investigate cortisol dynamics in 143 healthy men and women, spanning 7 decades and with a 2-fold body mass index (BMI) range with different analytic tools.

Setting

Clinical Research Unit.

Design

Cortisol concentrations in 10-min samples collected for 24 h. Outcomes were mean levels, deconvolution parameters, approximate entropy (ApEn, regularity statistic) and 24-h rhythms.

Results

Total 24-h cortisol secretion rates estimated by deconvolution analysis were sex, age and BMI independent. Mean 24-h cortisol concentrations were lower in premenopausal women than those in men of comparable age (176 ± 8.2 vs 217 ± 9.4 nmol/L, P = 0.02), but not in subjects older than 50 years. This was due to lower daytime levels in women, albeit similar in the quiescent overnight period. Aging increased mean cortisol by 10 nmol/L per decade during the quiescent secretory phase and advanced the acrophase of the diurnal rhythm by 24 min/decade. However, total 24-h cortisol secretion rates estimated by deconvolution analysis were sex, age and BMI independent. ApEn of 24-h profiles was higher (more random) in premenopausal women than those in men (1.048 ± 0.025 vs 0.933 ± 0.023, P = 0.001), but not in subjects older than 50 years. ApEn peaked during the daytime.

Conclusion

Sex and age jointly determine the 24-h cortisol secretory profile. Sex effects are largely restricted to age <50 years, whereas age effects elevate concentrations in the late evening and early night and advance the timing of the peak diurnal rhythm.

Open access

Carolina Inda, Natalia G Armando, Paula A dos Santos Claro, and Susana Silberstein

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is a key player of basal and stress-activated responses in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) and in extrahypothalamic circuits, where it functions as a neuromodulator to orchestrate humoral and behavioral adaptive responses to stress. This review describes molecular components and cellular mechanisms involved in CRH signaling downstream of its G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) CRHR1 and CRHR2 and summarizes recent findings that challenge the classical view of GPCR signaling and impact on our understanding of CRHRs function. Special emphasis is placed on recent studies of CRH signaling that revealed new mechanistic aspects of cAMP generation and ERK1/2 activation in physiologically relevant contexts of the neurohormone action. In addition, we present an overview of the pathophysiological role of the CRH system, which highlights the need for a precise definition of CRHRs signaling at molecular level to identify novel targets for pharmacological intervention in neuroendocrine tissues and specific brain areas involved in CRH-related disorders.

Open access

Volha V Zhukouskaya, Anya Rothenbuhler, Annamaria Colao, Carolina Di Somma, Peter Kamenický, Séverine Trabado, Dominique Prié, Christelle Audrain, Anna Barosi, Christèle Kyheng, Anne-Sophie Lambert, and Agnès Linglart

Background/aim

X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) is a rare disease characterized by low phosphate levels. Scientific evidence points to a link between hypophosphatemia and obesity in general population. The aim of our longitudinal observational study was to investigate the prevalence of obesity and associated factors in a large cohort of children with XLH.

Patients/methods

We studied 172 XLH-children 5–20 years of age (113 girls/59 boys). Anthropometric parameters (weight, height, and BMI) were collected at birth and during follow-up at mean ages of 5.3, 8.2, 11.3, and 15.9 years (groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). In each group, subjects were classified based on International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) cut off values of BMI for age and sex as overweight or obese (IOTF 25–30 or ≥30 kg/m2, respectively).

Results

In each age-group, almost 1/3 of XLH-patients were classified as overweight or obese (29.4, 28.7, 27.5, and 36.7% in groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Children without a XLH-family history had higher BMI-IOTF at every point of follow-up, compared to those with positive XLH-family history. Similarly, higher BMI-IOTF was significantly associated with treatment duration (23.3 ± 4.4 vs 23.8 ± 3.8 vs 25.2 ± 4.5 kg/m2, for subjects with treatment duration of <5, 5–10 and >10 years, respectively, P for trend = 0.025). Multiple regression analysis confirmed an association of treatment duration and lack of XLH-family history with higher BMI-IOTF.

Conclusion

One out of three of XLH-children have phenotypically unfavourable metabolic profile expressed as increased prevalence of overweight or obesity in comparison to general population. Both the lack of XLH family history and the duration of treatment increase the risk of higher BMI-IOTF. BMI should be carefully monitored in children, and later in adults, with XLH.

Open access

Marcus Quinkler, Bertil Ekman, Claudio Marelli, Sharif Uddin, Pierre Zelissen, Robert D Murray, and on behalf of the EU-AIR Investigators

Objective

Prednisolone is used as glucocorticoid replacement therapy for adrenal insufficiency (AI). Recent data indicate that its use in AI is associated with low bone mineral density. Data on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in patients with AI treated with prednisolone are scarce, despite this condition being the predominant cause of excess mortality. We aimed to address this question using real-world data from the European Adrenal Insufficiency Registry (EU-AIR).

Design/methods

EU-AIR, comprising of 19 centres across Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, commenced enrolling patients with AI in August 2012. Patients receiving prednisolone (3–6 mg/day, n = 50) or hydrocortisone (15–30 mg/day, n = 909) were identified and grouped at a ratio of 1:3 (prednisolone:hydrocortisone) by matching for gender, age, duration and type of disease. Data from baseline and follow-up visits were analysed. Data from patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia were excluded.

Results

Significantly higher mean ± s.d. total (6.3 ± 1.6 vs 5.4 ± 1.1 mmol/L; P = 0.003) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (3.9 ± 1.4 vs 3.2 ± 1.0 mmol/L; P = 0.013) were identified in 47 patients on prednisolone vs 141 receiving hydrocortisone at baseline and at follow-up (P = 0.005 and P = 0.006, respectively). HbA1c, high-density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and waist circumference were not significantly different.

Conclusions

This is the first matched analysis of its kind. Significantly higher LDL levels in patients receiving prednisolone relative to hydrocortisone could predict a higher relative risk of cardiovascular disease in the former group.