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Open access

Ashwini Maudhoo, Avinaash Maharaj, Federica Buonocore, Gabriel Angel Martos-Moreno, Jesús Argente, John C Achermann, Li F Chan, and Lou A Metherell

Summary

Congenital isolated ACTH deficiency (IAD) is a rare condition characterised by low plasma ACTH and serum cortisol with normal production of other pituitary hormones. TBX19 (also known as TPIT) is a T-box pituitary restricted transcription factor important for POMC gene transcription and terminal differentiation of POMC-expressing cells. TBX19 gene mutations have been shown to cause neonatal-onset congenital IAD. We report a neonate of Romanian origin, who presented at 15 h of life with respiratory arrest and hypoglycaemia which recurred over the following 2 weeks. Biochemical investigations revealed IAD, with undetectable serum cortisol (cortisol < 1 μg/dL; normal range (NR): 7.8–26.2) and plasma ACTH levels within the normal range (22.1 pg/mL; NR: 4.7–48.8). He responded to hydrocortisone treatment. Patient DNA was analysed by a HaloPlex next-generation sequencing array targeting genes for adrenal insufficiency. A novel homozygous synonymous mutation p.Thr96= (Chr1:168260482; c.288G>A; rs376493164; allele frequency 1 × 10−5, no homozygous) was found in exon 2 of the TBX19 gene. The effect of this was assessed by an in vitro splicing assay, which revealed aberrant splicing of exon 2 giving rise to a mutant mRNA transcript whereas the WT vector spliced exon 2 normally. This was identified as the likely cause of IAD in the patient. The predicted protein product would be non-functional in keeping with the complete loss of cortisol production and early presentation in the patient.

Learning points

  • Synonymous variants (a nucleotide change that does not alter protein sequence) usually thought to be benign may still have detrimental effects on RNA and protein function causing disease. Hence, they should not be ignored, especially if very rare in public databases.

  • In vitro splicing assays can be employed to characterise the consequence of intronic and exonic nucleotide gene changes that may alter splicing.

  • Establishing a diagnosis due to a TBX19 mutation is important as it defines a condition of isolated ACTH deficiency not associated with additional pituitary deficiencies.

Open access

Katsuo Tao, Midori Awazu, Misa Honda, Hironori Shibata, Takayasu Mori, Shinichi Uchida, Tomonobu Hasegawa, and Tomohiro Ishii

Summary

We report a male infant with congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) who presented with hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia since birth. Serum sodium started to increase at 39 days. Although there was no polyuria, urine osmolality was 71 mOsm/kg, when serum osmolality was 296 mOsm/kg with plasma arginine vasopressin 22.5 pg/mL. He was thus diagnosed as NDI. An undetectable level of urine calcium and unsuppressed intact parathyroid hormone suggested hyperparathyroidism including calcium-sensing receptor mutations that could cause hypercalcemia-induced NDI. Polyuria became apparent after the initiation of i.v. infusion for the treatment of hypernatremia. Low calcium and low sodium formula with hypotonic fluid infusion did not correct hypernatremia, hypercalcemia, or hyperphosphatemia. Hydrochlorothiazide and subsequently added celecoxib effectively decreased urine output and corrected electrolytes abnormalities. Normal serum electrolytes were maintained after the discontinuation of low calcium formula. The genetic analysis revealed a large deletion of the arginine vasopressin receptor-2 (AVPR2) gene but no pathogenic variant in the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene. Whether hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia were caused by dehydration alone or in combination with other mechanisms remains to be clarified.

Learning points

  • Congenital NDI can present with neonatal hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia.

  • Hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia can be treated with low calcium and low sodium formula, hydration, hydrochlorothiazide, and celecoxib.

  • Genetic testing is sometimes necessary in the differentiating diagnosis of hypercalcemia associated with NDI.

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

Daphne Yau, Maria Salomon-Estebanez, Amish Chinoy, John Grainger, Ross J Craigie, Raja Padidela, Mars Skae, Mark J Dunne, Philip G Murray, and Indraneel Banerjee

Summary

Congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) is an important cause of severe hypoglycaemia in infancy. To correct hypoglycaemia, high concentrations of dextrose are often required through a central venous catheter (CVC) with consequent risk of thrombosis. We describe a series of six cases of CHI due to varying aetiologies from our centre requiring CVC for the management of hypoglycaemia, who developed thrombosis in association with CVC. We subsequently analysed the incidence and risk factors for CVC-associated thrombosis, as well as the outcomes of enoxaparin prophylaxis. The six cases occurred over a 3-year period; we identified an additional 27 patients with CHI who required CVC insertion during this period (n = 33 total), and a separate cohort of patients with CHI and CVC who received enoxaparin prophylaxis (n = 7). The incidence of CVC-associated thrombosis was 18% (6/33) over the 3 years, a rate of 4.2 thromboses/1000 CVC days. There was no difference in the frequency of genetic mutations or focal CHI in those that developed thromboses. However, compound heterozygous/homozygous potassium ATP channel mutations correlated with thrombosis (R 2 = 0.40, P = 0.001). No difference was observed in CVC duration, high concentration dextrose or glucagon infused through the CVC. In patients receiving enoxaparin prophylaxis, none developed thrombosis or bleeding complications. The characteristics of these patients did not differ significantly from those with thrombosis not on prophylaxis. We therefore conclude that CVC-associated thrombosis can occur in a significant proportion (18%) of patients with CHI, particularly in severe CHI, for which anticoagulant prophylaxis may be indicated.

Learning points:

  • CVC insertion is one of the most significant risk factors for thrombosis in the paediatric population.

  • Risk factors for CVC-associated thrombosis include increased duration of CVC placement, malpositioning and infusion of blood products.

  • To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate CVC-associated thrombosis in patients with congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI).

  • The incidence of CVC-associated thrombosis development is significant (18%) in CHI patients and higher compared to other neonates with CVC. CHI severity may be a risk factor for thrombosis development.

  • Although effective prophylaxis for CVC-associated thrombosis in infancy is yet to be established, our preliminary experience suggests the safety and efficacy of enoxoaparin prophylaxis in this population and requires on-going evaluation.

Open access

Ved Bhushan Arya, Jennifer Kalitsi, Ann Hickey, Sarah E Flanagan, and Ritika R Kapoor

Summary

Diazoxide is the first-line treatment for patients with hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (HH). Approximately 50% of patients with HH are diazoxide resistant. However, marked diazoxide sensitivity resulting in severe hyperglycaemia is extremely uncommon and not reported previously in the context of HH due to HNF4A mutation. We report a novel observation of exceptional diazoxide sensitivity in a patient with HH due to HNF4A mutation. A female infant presented with severe persistent neonatal hypoglycaemia and was diagnosed with HH. Standard doses of diazoxide (5 mg/kg/day) resulted in marked hyperglycaemia (maximum blood glucose 21.6 mmol/L) necessitating discontinuation of diazoxide. Lower dose of diazoxide (1.5 mg/kg/day) successfully controlled HH in the proband, which was subsequently confirmed to be due to a novel HNF4A mutation. At 3 years of age, the patient maintains age appropriate fasting tolerance on low dose diazoxide (1.8 mg/kg/day) and has normal development. Diagnosis in proband’s mother and maternal aunt, both of whom carried HNF4A mutation and had been diagnosed with presumed type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, respectively, was revised to maturity-onset diabetes of young (MODY). Proband’s 5-year-old maternal cousin, also carrier of HNF4A mutation, had transient neonatal hypoglycaemia. To conclude, patients with HH due to HNF4A mutation may require lower diazoxide than other group of patients with HH. Educating the families about the risk of marked hyperglycaemia with diazoxide is essential. The clinical phenotype of HNF4A mutation can be extremely variable.

Learning points:

  • Awareness of risk of severe hyperglycaemia with diazoxide is important and patients/families should be accordingly educated.

  • Some patients with HH due to HNF4A mutations may require lower than standard doses of diazoxide.

  • The clinical phenotype of HNF4A mutation can be extremely variable.

Open access

Himangshu S Bose, Alan M Rice, Brendan Marshall, Fadi Gebrail, David Kupshik, and Elizabeth W Perry

Summary

Steroid hormones are essential for the survival of all mammals. In adrenal glands and gonads, cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage enzyme (SCC or CYP11A1), catalyzes conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone. We studied a patient with ambiguous genitalia by the absence of Müllerian ducts and the presence of an incompletely formed vagina, who had extremely high adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and reduced pregnenolone levels with enlarged adrenal glands. The testes revealed seminiferous tubules, stroma, rete testis with interstitial fibrosis and reduced number of germ cells. Electron microscopy showed that the patient’s testicular mitochondrial size was small with little SCC expression within the mitochondria. The mitochondria were not close to the mitochondria-associated ER membrane (MAM), and cells were filled with the microfilaments. Our result revealed that absence of pregnenolone is associated with organelle stress, leading to altered protein organization that likely created steric hindrance in testicular cells.

Learning points:

  • Testes revealed seminiferous tubules, stroma, rete testis with interstitial fibrosis and reduced number of germ cells;

  • Testicular mitochondrial size was small with little SCC expression within the mitochondria;

  • Absence of pregnenolone is associated with organelle stress.

Open access

Saurabh Uppal, James Blackburn, Mohammed Didi, Rajeev Shukla, James Hayden, and Senthil Senniappan

Summary

Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) can be associated with embryonal tumours and congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI). We present an infant with BWS who developed congenital hepatoblastoma and Wilms’ tumour during infancy. The infant presented with recurrent hypoglycaemia requiring high intravenous glucose infusion and was biochemically confirmed to have CHI. He was resistant to diazoxide but responded well to octreotide and was switched to Lanreotide at 1 year of age. Genetic analysis for mutations of ABCC8 and KCNJ11 were negative. He had clinical features suggestive of BWS. Methylation-sensitive multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification revealed hypomethylation at KCNQ1OT1:TSS-DMR and hypermethylation at H19 /IGF2:IG-DMR consistent with mosaic UPD(11p15). Hepatoblastoma was detected on day 4 of life, which was resistant to chemotherapy, requiring surgical resection. He developed Wilms’ tumour at 3 months of age, which also showed poor response to induction chemotherapy with vincristine and actinomycin D. Surgical resection of Wilms’ tumour was followed by post-operative chemotherapy intensified with cycles containing cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, carboplatin and etoposide, in addition to receiving flank radiotherapy. We report, for the first time, an uncommon association of hepatoblastoma and Wilms’ tumour in BWS in early infancy. Early onset tumours may show resistance to chemotherapy. UPD(11p15) is likely associated with persistent CHI in BWS.

Learning points:

  • Long-acting somatostatin analogues are effective in managing persistent CHI in BWS.

  • UPD(11)pat genotype may be a pointer to persistent and severe CHI.

  • Hepatoblastoma and Wilms’ tumour may have an onset within early infancy and early tumour surveillance is essential.

  • Tumours associated with earlier onset may be resistant to recognised first-line chemotherapy.

Open access

Sarah Kiff, Carolyn Babb, Maria Guemes, Antonia Dastamani, Clare Gilbert, Sarah E Flanagan, Sian Ellard, John Barton, M Dattani, and Pratik Shah

Summary

We report a case of partial diazoxide responsiveness in a child with severe congenital hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (CHI) due to a homozygous ABCC8 mutation. A term baby, with birth weight 3.8 kg, born to consanguineous parents presented on day 1 of life with hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia screen confirmed CHI. Diazoxide was commenced on day 7 due to ongoing elevated glucose requirements (15 mg/kg/min), but despite escalation to a maximum dose (15 mg/kg/day), intravenous (i.v.) glucose requirement remained high (13 mg/kg/min). Genetic testing demonstrated a homozygous ABCC8 splicing mutation (c.2041-1G>C), consistent with a diffuse form of CHI. Diazoxide treatment was therefore stopped and subcutaneous (s.c.) octreotide infusion commenced. Despite this, s.c. glucagon and i.v. glucose were required to prevent hypoglycaemia. A trial of sirolimus and near-total pancreatectomy were considered, however due to the significant morbidity potentially associated with these, a further trial of diazoxide was commenced at 1.5 months of age. At a dose of 10 mg/kg/day of diazoxide and 40 µg/kg/day of octreotide, both i.v. glucose and s.c. glucagon were stopped as normoglycaemia was achieved. CHI due to homozygous ABCC8 mutation poses management difficulties if the somatostatin analogue octreotide is insufficient to prevent hypoglycaemia. Diazoxide unresponsiveness is often thought to be a hallmark of recessively inherited ABCC8 mutations. This patient was initially thought to be non-responsive, but this case highlights that a further trial of diazoxide is warranted, where other available treatments are associated with significant risk of morbidity.

Learning points:

  • Homozygous ABCC8 mutations are commonly thought to cause diazoxide non-responsive hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia.

  • This case highlights that partial diazoxide responsiveness in homozygous ABCC8 mutations may be present.

  • Trial of diazoxide treatment in combination with octreotide is warranted prior to considering alternative treatments, such as sirolimus or near-total pancreatectomy, which are associated with more significant side effects.

Open access

Charlotte S Schömig, Marie-Ève Robinson, and Julia E von Oettingen

Summary

Congenital hypothyroidism requires prompt treatment to prevent adverse health outcomes. Poor intestinal levothyroxine absorption can complicate management. We present a case of a term female newborn with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) requiring subtotal ileum resection. Congenital hypothyroidism was diagnosed by newborn screening. Treatment was complicated by intestinal malabsorption of levothyroxine. Intravenous levothyroxine substitution restored euthyroidism and supraphysiologic PO doses subsequently maintained a euthyroid state. After several months, the required levothyroxine dose was weaned down to typical recommended dosing. In conclusion, small bowel resection secondary to NEC may lead to malabsorption of oral levothyroxine. An intravenous levothyroxine dose of approximately 50% typical PO dosing is effective in providing rapid normalization of free T4 and TSH. High PO doses may be required to maintain euthyroidism. Close thyroid function monitoring and immediate therapy adjustment are essential as the individual absorption may vary widely. Normal absorption levels may be regained due to adaption of the neonatal intestines.

Learning points:

  • In neonates with malabsorption after ileum resection intravenous levothyroxine replacement should be used to provide normalization of free T4 and TSH.

  • Very high doses of up to 500% usual oral levothyroxine may be required to maintain euthyroidism. The estimated degree of malabsorption can be used to determine the initial dose.

  • Close thyroid function monitoring and immediate therapy adjustment are essential as the absorption and intestinal adaption may vary widely.

Open access

Nicholas R Zessis, Jennifer L Nicholas, and Stephen I Stone

Summary

Bilateral adrenal hemorrhages rarely occur during the neonatal period and are often associated with traumatic vaginal deliveries. However, the adrenal gland has highly regenerative capabilities and adrenal insufficiency typically resolves over time. We evaluated a newborn female after experiencing fetal macrosomia and a traumatic vaginal delivery. She developed acidosis and acute renal injury. Large adrenal hemorrhages were noted bilaterally on ultrasound, and she was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency based on characteristic electrolyte changes and a low cortisol (4.2 µg/dL). On follow-up testing, this patient was unable to be weaned off of hydrocortisone or fludrocortisone despite resolution of hemorrhages on ultrasound. Providers should consider bilateral adrenal hemorrhage when evaluating critically ill neonates after a traumatic delivery. In extreme cases, this may be a persistent process.

Learning points:

  • Risk factors for adrenal hemorrhage include fetal macrosomia, traumatic vaginal delivery and critical acidemia.

  • Signs of adrenal hemorrhage include jaundice, flank mass, skin discoloration or scrotal hematoma.

  • Adrenal insufficiency often is a transient process when related to adrenal hemorrhage.

  • Severe adrenal hemorrhages can occur in the absence of symptoms.

  • Though rare, persistent adrenal insufficiency may occur in extremely severe cases of bilateral adrenal hemorrhage.

  • Consider adrenal hemorrhage when evaluating a neonate for shock in the absence of an infectious etiology.