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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

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.
Open access

Hodaka Yamada, Shunsuke Funazaki, Masafumi Kakei, Kazuo Hara, and San-e Ishikawa

Summary

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a critical complication of type 1 diabetes associated with water and electrolyte disorders. Here, we report a case of DKA with extreme hyperkalemia (9.0 mEq/L) in a patient with type 1 diabetes on hemodialysis. He had a left frontal cerebral infarction resulting in inability to manage his continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump. Electrocardiography showed typical changes of hyperkalemia, including absent P waves, prolonged QRS interval and tented T waves. There was no evidence of total body water deficit. After starting insulin and rapid hemodialysis, the serum potassium level was normalized. Although DKA may present with hypokalemia, rapid hemodialysis may be necessary to resolve severe hyperkalemia in a patient with renal failure.

Learning points:

  • Patients with type 1 diabetes on hemodialysis may develop ketoacidosis because of discontinuation of insulin treatment.
  • Patients on hemodialysis who develop ketoacidosis may have hyperkalemia because of anuria.
  • Absolute insulin deficit alters potassium distribution between the intracellular and extracellular space, and anuria abolishes urinary excretion of potassium.
  • Rapid hemodialysis along with intensive insulin therapy can improve hyperkalemia, while fluid infusions may worsen heart failure in patients with ketoacidosis who routinely require hemodialysis.
Open access

Judith Gerards, Michael M Ritter, Elke Kaminsky, Andreas Gal, Wolfgang Hoeppner, and Marcus Quinkler

Summary

DAX1 (NR0B1) is an orphan nuclear receptor, which plays an important role in development and function of the adrenal glands and gonads. Mutations in DAX1 cause X-linked adrenal hypoplasia congenita (X-linked AHC), which is characterized by adrenal insufficiency (AI) and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HHG). Affected boys present with adrenal failure usually in childhood and, later in life, with delayed puberty. However, patients with a late-onset form of X-linked AHC have also been described in the past years. We report a male patient who presented with symptoms of an adrenal crisis at the age of 38 years and was later diagnosed with HHG. Family history was positive with several male relatives diagnosed with AI and compatible with the assumed X-chromosomal inheritance of the trait. Direct sequencing of DAX1 of the patient revealed a hemizygous cytosine-to-thymine substitution at nucleotide 64 in exon 1, which creates a novel nonsense mutation (p.(Gln22*)). In order to compare the clinical presentation of the patient to that of other patients with X-linked AHC, we searched the electronic database MEDLINE (PubMed) and found reports of nine other cases with delayed onset of X-linked AHC. In certain cases, genotype–phenotype correlation could be assumed.

Learning points:

  • X-linked AHC is a rare disease characterized by primary AI and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HHG). The full-blown clinical picture is seen usually only in males with a typical onset in childhood.
  • Patients with a late-onset form of X-linked AHC have also been described recently. Being aware of this late-onset form might help to reach an early diagnosis and prevent life-threatening adrenal crises.
  • Adult men with primary AI of unknown etiology should be investigated for HHG. Detecting a DAX1 mutation may confirm the clinical diagnosis of late-onset X-linked AHC.
  • In relatives of patients with genetically confirmed X-linked AHC, targeted mutation analysis may help to identify family members at risk and asymptomatic carriers, and discuss conscious family planning.
Open access

Ahmad Haider, Karim S Haider, and Farid Saad

Summary

In daily practice, clinicians are often confronted with obese type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients for whom the treatment plan fails and who show an inadequate glycemic control and/or no sustainable weight loss. Untreated hypogonadism can be the reason for such treatment failure. This case describes the profound impact testosterone therapy can have on a male hypogonadal patient with metabolic syndrome, resulting in a substantial and sustained loss of body weight, pronounced improvement of all critical laboratory values and finally complete remission of diabetes.

Learning points:

  • Hypogonadism occurs frequently in men with T2DM.
  • In case of pronounced abdominal fat deposition and T2DM, the male patient should be evaluated for testosterone deficiency.
  • Untreated hypogonadism can complicate the successful treatment of patients with T2DM.
  • Under testosterone therapy, critical laboratory values are facilitated to return back to normal ranges and even complete remission of diabetes can be achieved.
Open access

Anna Kopczak, Adrian-Minh Schumacher, Sandra Nischwitz, Tania Kümpfel, Günter K Stalla, and Matthias K Auer

Summary

The autoimmune polyendocrinopathy–candidiasis–ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene. Immune deficiency, hypoparathyroidism and Addison’s disease due to autoimmune dysfunction are the major clinical signs of APECED. We report on a 21-year-old female APECED patient with two inactivating mutations in the AIRE gene. She presented with sudden onset of periodic nausea. Adrenal insufficiency was diagnosed by means of the ACTH stimulation test. Despite initiation of hormone replacement therapy with hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone, nausea persisted and the patient developed cognitive deficits and a loss of interest which led to the diagnosis of depression. She was admitted to the psychiatric department for further diagnostic assessment. An EEG showed a focal epileptic pattern. Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies, which had been negative eight years earlier, were now elevated in serum and in the cerebrospinal fluid. Oligoclonal bands were positive indicating an inflammatory process with intrathecal antibody production in the central nervous system (CNS). The periodic nausea was identified as dialeptic seizures, which clinically presented as gastrointestinal aura followed by episodes of reduced consciousness that occurred about 3–4 times per day. GAD antibody-associated limbic encephalitis (LE) was diagnosed. Besides antiepileptic therapy, an immunosuppressive treatment with corticosteroids was initiated followed by azathioprine. The presence of nausea and vomiting in endocrine patients with autoimmune disorders is indicative of adrenal insufficiency. However, our case report shows that episodic nausea may be a symptom of epileptic seizures due to GAD antibodies-associated LE in patients with APECED.

Learning points:

  • Episodic nausea cannot only be a sign of Addison’s disease, but can also be caused by epileptic seizures with gastrointestinal aura due to limbic encephalitis.
  • GAD antibodies are not only found in diabetes mellitus type 1, but they are also associated with autoimmune limbic encephalitis and can appear over time.
  • Limbic encephalitis can be another manifestation of autoimmune disease in patients with APECED/APS-1 that presents over the time course of the disease.