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Open access

Ana Dugic, Michael Kryk, Claudia Mellenthin, Christoph Braig, Lorenzo Catanese, Sandy Petermann, Jürgen Kothmann, and Steffen Mühldorfer

Summary

Drinking fruit juice is an increasingly popular health trend, as it is widely perceived as a source of vitamins and nutrients. However, high fructose load in fruit beverages can have harmful metabolic effects. When consumed in high amounts, fructose is linked with hypertriglyceridemia, fatty liver and insulin resistance. We present an unusual case of a patient with severe asymptomatic hypertriglyceridemia (triglycerides of 9182 mg/dL) and newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus, who reported a daily intake of 15 L of fruit juice over several weeks before presentation. The patient was referred to our emergency department with blood glucose of 527 mg/dL and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) of 17.3%. Interestingly, features of diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state were absent. The patient was overweight with an otherwise unremarkable physical exam. Lipase levels, liver function tests and inflammatory markers were closely monitored and remained unremarkable. The initial therapeutic approach included i.v. volume resuscitation, insulin and heparin. Additionally, plasmapheresis was performed to prevent potentially fatal complications of hypertriglyceridemia. The patient was counseled on balanced nutrition and detrimental effects of fruit beverages. He was discharged home 6 days after admission. At a 2-week follow-up visit, his triglyceride level was 419 mg/dL, total cholesterol was 221 mg/dL and HbA1c was 12.7%. The present case highlights the role of fructose overconsumption as a contributory factor for severe hypertriglyceridemia in a patient with newly diagnosed diabetes. We discuss metabolic effects of uncontrolled fructose ingestion, as well as the interplay of primary and secondary factors, in the pathogenesis of hypertriglyceridemia accompanied by diabetes.

Learning points

  • Excessive dietary fructose intake can exacerbate hypertriglyceridemia in patients with underlying type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and absence of diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.

  • When consumed in large amounts, fructose is considered a highly lipogenic nutrient linked with postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and de novo hepatic lipogenesis (DNL).

  • Severe lipemia (triglyceride plasma level > 9000 mg/dL) could be asymptomatic and not necessarily complicated by acute pancreatitis, although lipase levels should be closely monitored.

  • Plasmapheresis is an effective adjunct treatment option for rapid lowering of high serum lipids, which is paramount to prevent acute complications of severe hypertriglyceridemia.

Open access

Fiona Melzer, Corinna Geisler, Dominik M Schulte, and Matthias Laudes

Summary

Familial partial lipodystrophy (FPLD) syndromes are rare heterogeneous disorders especially in women characterized by selective loss of adipose tissue, reduced leptin levels and severe metabolic abnormalities. Here we report a 34-year-old female with a novel heterozygotic c.485 thymine>guanine (T>G) missense variant (p.phenylalanine162cysteine; (Phe162Cys)) in exon 4 of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) gene, developing a non-ketotic diabetes and severe hypertriglyceridemia with triglyceride concentrations >50 mmol/L. In this case, a particular interesting feature in comparison to other known PPARG mutations in FPLD is that while glycaemic control could be achieved through standard anti-diabetic medication, hypertriglyceridemia did neither respond to fibrate nor to omega-3-fatty acid therapy. This might suggest a lipid metabolism driven phenotype of the novel PPARG c.485T>G missense variant. Notably, recombinant leptin replacement therapy (metreleptin (Myalepta®)) was initiated showing a rapid and profound effect on triglyceride levels as well as on liver function tests and satiety feeling. Unfortunately, severe allergic skin reactions developed at the side of injection which could be covered by anti-histaminc treatment. We conclude that the heterozygous PPARG c.485T>G variant is a yet undescribed molecular basis underlying FPLD with difficulties predominantly to control hypertriglyceridemia and that recombinant leptin therapy may be effective in affected subjects.

Learning points

  • Heterozygous c.485T>G variant in PPARG is most likely a cause for FPLD in humans.

  • This variant results in a special metabolic phenotype with a predominant dysregulation of triglyceride metabolism not responding to standard lipid lowering therapy.

  • Recombinant leptin therapy is effective in rapidly improving hypertriglyceridemia.

Open access

Tina Kienitz, Jörg Schwander, Ulrich Bogner, Michael Schwabe, Thomas Steinmüller, and Marcus Quinkler

Summary

Apart from adrenal myelolipomas, adrenal lipomatous tumors are rare and only seldom described in the literature. We present the case of a 50-year-old man, with a classical form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which was well treated with prednisolone and fludrocortisone. The patient presented with pollakisuria and shortness of breath while bending over. On MRI, fat-equivalent masses were found in the abdomen (14 × 19 × 11 cm on the right side and 10 × 11 × 6 cm on the left side). The right adrenal mass was resected during open laparotomy and the pathohistological examination revealed the diagnosis of an adrenal lipoma. Symptoms were subdued totally postoperatively. This is the first report of a bilateral adrenal lipoma in a patient with CAH that we are aware of.

Learning points:

  • Macronodular hyperplasia is common in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).

  • Solitary adrenal tumors appear in approximately 10% of adult CAH patients and are often benign myelolipomas.

  • The Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline does not recommend routine adrenal imaging in adult CAH patients.

  • Adrenal imaging should be performed in CAH patients with clinical signs for an adrenal or abdominal mass.

  • Adrenal lipoma is rare and histopathological examinations should rule out a differentiated liposarcoma.

Open access

Viktoria F Koehler, Patrick Keller, Elisa Waldmann, Nathalie Schwenk, Carolin Kitzberger, Kathrin A Schmohl, Thomas Knösel, Christian Georg Stief, and Christine Spitzweg

Summary

Struma ovarii is a teratoma of the ovaries predominantly composed of thyroid tissue. Hyperthyroidism associated with struma ovarii is rare, occurring in approximately 8% of cases. Due to the rarity of struma ovarii, available data are limited to case reports and small case series.We report on a 61-year-old female patient with known Hashimoto’s thyroiditis on levothyroxine replacement therapy for years with transition to clinical and biochemical hyperthyroidism despite antithyroid medication with carbimazole (10 mg/day), new diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma and an adnexal mass suspicious of ovarian cancer. The patient underwent resection of the adnexal mass and histopathology revealed a mature teratoma predominantly composed of thyroid tissue showing high levels of sodium iodide symporter protein expression. Following struma ovarii resection and disappearance of autonomous production of thyroid hormones, the patient developed hypothyroidism with severely decreased thyroid hormone levels fT4 and fT3 (fT4 0.4 ng/dL, reference interval 0.9–1.7 and fT3 < 1.0 pg/mL, reference interval 2.0–4.4). This has previously been masked by continued thyroid-stimulating hormone suppression due to long-term hyperthyroidism pre-surgery indicating secondary hypothyroidism, in addition to primary hypothyroidism based on the known co-existing chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis of the orthotopic thyroid gland. Levothyroxine administration was started immediately restoring euthyroidism.This case illustrates possible diagnostic pitfalls in a patient with two concurrent causes of abnormal thyroid function.

Learning points:

  • Struma ovarii is an ovarian tumor containing either entirely or predominantly thyroid tissue and accounts for approximately 5% of all ovarian teratomas.

  • In rare cases, both benign and malignant struma ovarii can secrete thyroid hormones, causing clinical and biochemical features of hyperthyroidism.

  • Biochemical features of patients with struma ovarii and hyperthyroidism are similar to those of patients with primary hyperthyroidism. In such cases, thyroid scintigraphy should reveal low or absent radioiodine uptake in the thyroid gland, but the presence of radioiodine uptake in the pelvis in a whole body radioiodine scintigraphy.

  • We give advice on possible diagnostic pitfalls in a case with two simultaneous causes of abnormal thyroid function due to the co-existence of struma ovarii.

Open access

Ellada Sotiridou, Henrike Hoermann, Sommayya Aftab, Antonia Dastamani, Eva Thimm, Louise Doodson, Spyros Batzios, Sebastian Kummer, and Pratik Shah

Summary

Tyrosinaemia type 1 (TT1) is a rare inherited disorder of amino acid metabolism typically presenting with liver failure and renal tubular dysfunction. We describe three individuals with TT1 and transient hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (HH). Two siblings with TT1 and acute liver dysfunction were diagnosed with hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia in the neonatal period. Both siblings were successfully treated with diazoxide/chlorthiazide and treatment was gradually weaned and stopped after 8 and 6 months of age respectively. The third patient presented with a neonatal liver failure with mild cholestasis, coagulopathy, fundus haemorrhages, vitamin A and E deficiency and hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. He maintained euglycaemia on high dose diazoxide (5–12 mg/kg/day) but developed pulmonary hypertension at 12 weeks of age. After discontinuation of diazoxide, he continued maintaining his blood glucose (BG) within the normal range. Although histological abnormalities of the pancreas including beta-cell hyperplasia are well documented, the exact mechanism of excessive insulin secretion in TT1 is not well understood. It may be related to the accumulation of toxic metabolites in the target organs including pancreas. Therefore, in patients with TT1 and persistent hypoglycaemia beyond the recovery of the acute liver failure, it is important to exclude hyperinsulinism which is usually transient and can be successfully treated with diazoxide and chlorothiazide. Further studies are required to determine which factors contribute to excessive insulin secretion in patients with TT1.

Learning points:

  • Every child with TT1 should be monitored for signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia and screened for HH at the time of real hypoglycaemia.

  • If hypoglycaemic episodes persist even after improvement of liver function, hyperinsulinism should be suspected.

  • Treatment with diazoxide is effective, however, children need to be monitored closely for possible side effects.

  • The pathophysiological mechanism of hyperinsulinism in children with TT1 is not elucidated yet and further studies are required to determine which factors contribute to excessive insulin secretion in patients with TT1.

Open access

Nina Dauth, Victoria T Mücke, Marcus M Mücke, Christian M Lange, Martin Welker, Stefan Zeuzem, and Klaus Badenhoop

Summary

Wilson’s disease (WD) is a rare disorder of copper metabolism usually presenting with variable liver damage and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Here we report a 39-year-old Taiwanese female with late manifestation of WD presenting with gonadotroph, thyreotroph and corticotroph hypopituitarism. Molecular genetic testing revealed compound heterozygosity for two mutations in exons 12 and 14 (c.2828G>A and c.3140A>T). Copper-chelating therapy with D-penicillamine and zinc was initiated along with supplementation of hydrocortisone and L-thyroxine. Hypopituitarism resolved when urinary copper excretion returned to normal levels under copper chelation. This case should raise awareness of pituitary function in WD patients.

Learning points

  • Hypopituitarism can complicate Wilson’s disease (WD) and endocrinologists should be aware of it when caring for hypopituitary patients.

  • Hepatologists should consider endocrinologic testing for hypopituitarism when WD patients present with symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, thyroid or gonadal dysfunction.

  • Copper-chelating treatment is mandatory and may lead to the recovery of pituitary function in such patients.

Open access

Carmina Teresa Fuss, Stephanie Burger-Stritt, Silke Horn, Ann-Cathrin Koschker, Kathrin Frey, Almuth Meyer, and Stefanie Hahner

Summary

Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism consists of supplementation of calcium and vitamin D analogues, which does not fully restore calcium homeostasis. In some patients, hypoparathyroidism is refractory to standard treatment with persistent low serum calcium levels and associated clinical complications. Here, we report on three patients (58-year-old male, 52-year-old female, and 48-year-old female) suffering from severe treatment-refractory postsurgical hypoparathyroidism. Two patients had persistent hypocalcemia despite oral treatment with up to 4 µg calcitriol and up to 4 g calcium per day necessitating additional i.v. administration of calcium gluconate 2–3 times per week, whereas the third patient presented with high frequencies of hypocalcemic and treatment-associated hypercalcemic episodes. S.c. administration of rhPTH (1–34) twice daily (40 µg/day) or rhPTH (1–84) (100 µg/day) only temporarily increased serum calcium levels but did not lead to long-term stabilization. In all three cases, treatment with rhPTH (1–34) as continuous s.c. infusion via insulin pump was initiated. Normalization of serum calcium and serum phosphate levels was observed within 1 week at daily 1–34 parathyroid hormone doses of 15 µg to 29.4 µg. Oral vitamin D and calcium treatment could be stopped or reduced and regular i.v. calcium administration was no more necessary. Ongoing efficacy of this treatment has been documented for up to 7 years so far. Therefore, we conclude that hypoparathyroidism that is refractory to both conventional treatment and s.c. parathyroid hormone (single or twice daily) may be successfully treated with continuous parathyroid hormone administration via insulin pump.

Learning points:

  • Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism still consists of administration of calcium and active vitamin D.

  • Very few patients with hypoparathyroidism also do not respond sufficiently to standard treatment or administration of s.c. parathyroid hormone once or twice daily.

  • In those cases, continuous s.c. administration of parathyroid hormone via insulin pump may represent a successful treatment alternative.

Open access

Sebastian Hörber, Sarah Hudak, Martin Kächele, Dietrich Overkamp, Andreas Fritsche, Hans-Ulrich Häring, Andreas Peter, and Martin Heni

Summary

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. It usually occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes where it is typically associated with only moderately increased blood glucose. Here, we report the case of a 52-year-old female patient who was admitted to the emergency unit with severely altered mental status but stable vital signs. Laboratory results on admission revealed very high blood glucose (1687 mg/dL/93.6 mmol/L) and severe acidosis (pH <7) with proof of ketone bodies in serum and urine. Past history revealed a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosed 10 years ago and for which the patient was treated with risperidone for many years. Acute treatment with intravenous fluids, intravenous insulin infusion and sodium bicarbonate improved the symptoms. Further laboratory investigations confirmed diagnosis of autoimmune type 1 diabetes. After normalization of blood glucose levels, the patient could soon be discharged with a subcutaneous insulin therapy.

Learning points:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis as first manifestation of type 1 diabetes can occur with markedly elevated blood glucose concentrations in elder patients.

  • Atypical antipsychotics are associated with hyperglycemia and an increased risk of new-onset diabetes.

  • First report of risperidone-associated diabetic ketoacidosis in new-onset type 1 diabetes.

  • Patients treated with atypical antipsychotics require special care and regular laboratory examinations to detect hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.

  • In cases when the diagnosis is in doubt, blood gas analysis as well as determination of C-peptide and islet autoantibodies can help to establish the definite diabetes type.

Open access

Theresa Penger, Andrea Albrecht, Michaela Marx, Daniel Stachel, Markus Metzler, and Helmuth G Dörr

Summary

We report on a boy of Albanian descent with the history of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). JMML was diagnosed at the age of 17 months and treated by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). At the age of 14.3 years, about 12 years after HSCT, he was hospitalized with an adrenal crisis. Hormone findings were consistent with primary adrenal insufficiency. Autoimmune adrenalitis was confirmed by positive autoantibodies against 21-hydroxylase and adrenal tissue. Since autoimmune Hashimoto thyroiditis was already known from the age of 9 years, we assume that both diseases are part of the spectrum of autoimmune polyglandular syndrome (APS) type 2. APS type 2 is a rare endocrine disease characterized by Addison’s disease along with autoimmune thyroid disease and/or type 1 diabetes.

Learning points:

  • Endocrine sequelae after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are common and can develop over a long period.

  • Primary adrenal insufficiency after HSCT is absolutely rare.

  • The combination of adrenal autoimmune disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis is consistent with autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 2.

Open access

Hans-Christof Schober, Christian Kneitz, Franziska Fieber, Kathrin Hesse, and Henry Schroeder

Summary

Tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO) is caused by the hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23). It is mainly produced in the tissue of mesenchymal tumors. Patients with TIO frequently suffer from a chronic decompensated pain syndrome and/or muscle weakness with postural deformity. Despite the severity of the disease, the diagnosis is frequently established late. In some cases, it takes several years to establish the condition. This case report concerning a 68-year old woman demonstrates the selective blood sampling for FGF-23 as path-breaking diagnostics to confirm the diagnosis of a neuroendocrine tumor.

Learning points:

  • Tumor-induced osteomalacia is a rare condition compared to other paraneoplastic syndromes.

  • It causes complex symptoms such as progressive reduction of physical capacity, exhaustion, fatigue, a decompensated pain syndrome of the musculoskeletal system and fractures of several bones.

  • Elevated serum levels of FGF-23 implicate massive phosphate elimination and resulting hypophosphatemia.

  • The diagnosis is often established over a period of several years because the localization of small FGF-23-producing tumors is complicated.

  • It is the combination of MRI and selective blood sampling for FGF-23 which permits reliable identification of tumors causing TIO and leads to accurate localization.

  • In a patient with generalized pain and reduced physical capacity, osteological parameters such as phosphate, 25-OH vitamin D3 and 1,25-(OH)2D3, as well as bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels in serum should be determined. Hypophosphatemia should always lead to further diagnostic investigations aiming at the detection of an FGF-23-producing tumor.