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Athanasios Gkirgkinoudis, Christina Tatsi, Stephanie J DeWard, Bethany Friedman, Fabio R Faucz, and Constantine A Stratakis

Summary

SOX5 plays an important role in chondrogenesis and chondrocyte differentiation. SOX5 defects in humans (often deletions) result in a Lamb-Shaffer syndrome (LSS), presenting with speech delay, behavioral problems and minor dysmorphic features. We present a patient with idiopathic short stature (ISS) who carried a heterozygous novel variant in SOX5. The patient had no dysmorphic features, but a skeletal survey revealed minor skeletal abnormalities. Laboratory and endocrine evaluation for known causes of growth disorders was negative. The missense variant in SOX5 gene (c.1783A>G, p.K595E) was de novo and was predicted to be deleterious by in silico programs. In summary, we present a patient whose presentation may provide evidence that gene defects in SOX5 may contribute to the etiology of short stature and/or mild skeletal defects beyond LSS.

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Open access

Jennifer R Snaith, Duncan McLeod, Arthur Richardson, and David Chipps

Summary

Insulinomatosis is a rare cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. The ideal management approach is not known. A 40-year-old woman with recurrent symptomatic hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia was diagnosed with an insulinoma. A benign 12 mm pancreatic head insulinoma was resected but hypoglycaemia recurred 7 years later. A benign 10 mm pancreatic head insulinoma was then resected but hypoglycaemia recurred within 2 months. Octreotide injections were trialled but exacerbated hypoglycaemia. After a 2-year interval, she underwent total pancreatectomy. A benign 28 mm pancreatic head insulinoma was found alongside insulin-expressing monohormonal endocrine cell clusters (IMECCs) and islet cell hyperplasia, consistent with a diagnosis of insulinomatosis. Hypoglycaemia recurred within 6 weeks. There was no identifiable lesion on MRI pancreas, Ga-68 PET or FDG PET. Diazoxide and everolimus were not tolerated. MEN-1 testing was negative. Insulinomatosis should be suspected in insulinomas with early recurrence or multifocality. De novo lesions can arise throughout the pancreas. Extensive surgery will assist diagnosis but may not provide cure.

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Open access

Milad Darrat, Mohammad Binhussein, Alan Beausang, Clare Faul, Michael W O’Reilly, Mohsen Javadpour, and Amar Agha

Pituitary adenomas are the commonest sellar tumours. Pituitary metastases are very rare, with the most common primaries being breast and lung cancers. We report the case of an 83-year-old man with a history of breast carcinoma who presented with recent-onset headaches and progressive deterioration of visual acuity. MRI brain showed a large sellar and suprasellar mass compressing the optic chiasm and involving the pituitary stalk. Transsphenoidal debulking resulted in symptomatic relief and visual recovery. Specimen examination revealed a combination of a gonadotroph pituitary adenoma that was infiltrated by metastatic breast carcinoma. He had no symptoms of diabetes insipidus. He was subsequently treated with pituitary radiotherapy. This is a very rare presentation of a pituitary mass with mixed pathology. To our knowledge, this is the third description of a breast carcinoma metastasis into a gonadotroph cell pituitary adenoma.

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Open access

Omayma Elshafie and Nicholas Woodhouse

Summary

A 79-year-old male presented with a 10-year history of intermittent headache, sweating, persistent hand numbness and uncontrolled hypertension. He was receiving Nifedipine and Hydrochorothizide. On examination (O/E), his BP was 180/100 he was acromegalic. His growth hormone (GH) was 10 mIU/L (0.0–0.1) and his insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1): 952 µg/L (76–160). An MRI of the pituitary revealed a 3 × 2 cm pituitary macroadenoma. Surgery was refused and the family agreed for a therapeutic trial of octreotide. His GH levels fell immediately. Two weeks later he was switched to long-acting monthly octreotide in September 2003. During his 16-year follow-up, he has remained well and asymptomatic off medications for hypertension. His BP and IGF-1 levels were also normal until octreotide Long acting (LA) octrotide was stopped for 3 months at age 96. During this period the IGF-1 level returned to pretreatment levels 500 ng/L (50–141), GH 24 mIU/L (0.0–0.1), and a small residual tumour 0.5–0.8 cm was seen on the MRI. Octreotide LA was restarted and the IGF-1 and GH levels returned to normal. He continues the same treatment to date age 97 without side effects. We conclude that the successful control of IGF-1, GH levels, hypertension, tumour size and clinical symptoms for more than 16 years occurred using octreotide LA in an elderly advanced acromegalic patient. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the successful use of octreotide LA for more than 16 years.

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Open access

Stine Bech Smedegaard and Mads Vandsted Svart

Summary

Excessive intake of licorice may cause pseudohyperaldosteronism which, in turn, may lead to hypertension and hypokalemia. Severe hypokalemia may lead to electrocardiogram (ECG) changes including long QT interval potentially progressing into malignant arrhythmias. Here we present a 43-year-old woman admitted to the hospital with chest pain and a stinging sensation in the upper extremities. Her peak blood pressure was 177/98 mmHg and the blood test revealed low plasma potassium of 1.9 mmol/L. The ECG revealed flattened T-waves and long QT interval. Prior to admission, the patient had increased licorice ingestion to a total of some 70 g daily. The licorice intake was stopped and potassium was administrated orally and intravenously. Plasma potassium normalized and the ECG changes remitted. To our knowledge a few other cases of licorice-induced pseudohyperaldosteronism and long QT interval have previously been reported. This underlines the importance of quantifying licorice intake in younger people with unexplained high blood pressure and low potassium.

Learning points:

  • Even small amounts of licorice daily may increase the risk of developing hypertension; therefore, licorice should be asked for specifically.
  • Even though licorice intake is very easy to cover in the patient’s history, it is often missed.
  • Excessive licorice intake may course severe hypokalemia causing long QT interval in the ECG recording, potentially progressing into arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest/sudden death.
  • Hypokalemia <3 mmol/L and present ECG changes should be treated with potassium intravenously.
  • Licorice-induced hypertension may be associated with syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess (SAME). Plasma renin and aldosterone are both low at diagnosis and normalize when licorice is stopped.
Open access

Giuseppina Molinaro, Renato De Vecchis, Elio Badolati, and Raffaele Giannattasio

Summary

The authors examine several reports of the literature concerning thyrotoxic dilated cardiomyopathy. In particular, it is pointed out that this clinical manifestation of hyperthyroidism is rare in readily diagnosed and properly treated hyperthyroidism. Case reports are analyzed comparatively. A case deriving from the direct experience of the authors is also presented.

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Open access

Joana Lima Ferreira, Francisco Simões de Carvalho, Ana Paula Marques, and Rosa Maria Príncipe

Summary

Autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1 (APS-1) is a very rare autoimmune entity, accounting for about 400 cases reported worldwide. It is characterized by the presence of at least two of three cardinal components: chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC), hypoparathyroidism and Addison’s disease. It typically manifests in childhood with CMC and years later with hypoparathyroidism. A 50-year-old man was referred to the Endocrinology outpatient clinic due to irregular follow-up of primary hypoparathyroidism diagnosed at age 7. Previous analysis reported frequent fluctuations of calcium and phosphate levels and persistent hypercalciuria. He presented several comorbidities, including bilateral cataracts, other ocular disorders, transient alopecia and chronic gastritis. Due to weight loss, fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints and the findings at objective examination, Addison’s disease and CMC were investigated and confirmed. Antifungal therapy and hormonal replacement were started with evident clinical improvement. Regarding hypoparathyroidism, calcium-phosphate product decreased and other extraskeletal calcifications were diagnosed, such as nephrolithiasis and in basal ganglia. Further evaluation by genetic analysis revealed homozygosity for a frameshift mutation considered to be a pathogenic variant. It was reported only in two Asian siblings in compound heterozygosity. This case highlights the broad phenotypic spectrum of APS-1 and the significative intra-familial phenotype variability. A complete clinical history taking and high index of suspicion allowed the diagnosis of this rare entity. This case clarifies the need for regular long-term follow-up. In the specific case of hypoparathyroidism and Addison’s disease in combination, the management of APS-1 can be complex.

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Open access

Gemma Xifra, Silvia Mauri, Jordi Gironès, José Ignacio Rodríguez Hermosa, Josep Oriola, Wifredo Ricart, and José Manuel Fernández-Real

Summary

Background: Thyroid hormone resistance (RTH) is a rare cause of thyroid dysfunction. High TSH levels, as described in RTH syndrome, are known to be associated with an increased risk of developing thyroid nodules with subsequent growth and malignancy.

Patient findings: In 2006, a 29-year-old Caucasian man presented with a palpable mass in the neck. Increased free thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels were found in the context of unsuppressed TSH levels, despite no signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Ultrasonography revealed a multinodular and enlarged goitre, and fine-needle aspiration cytology revealed suspicious features of malignancy. After excluding pituitary tumour and levothyroxine (l-T4) treatment, the patient was diagnosed with generalized RTH. Screening for all the known mutations in thyroid hormone receptor-β (TR β (THRB)) was negative. Thyroidectomy disclosed five Hürthle adenomas and three hyperplasic nodules. Euthyroidism was achieved after surgery with 6.1 μg/kg per day of l-T4.

Conclusion: RTH may be a risk factor that predisposes to the development of multiple Hürthle cell adenomas. To our knowledge, this is the first case of multiple Hürthle cell adenomas in a patient with RTH.

Learning points

  • High TSH levels, as described in RTH syndrome, are known to be associated with an increased risk of developing thyroid nodules, with subsequent growth and malignancy.
  • The exact role of TR β mutants in thyroid carcinogenesis is still undefined.
  • We report the first case of multiple Hürthle cell adenomas associated with RTH.

Open access

D Cappellani, C Sardella, M C Campopiano, A Falorni, P Marchetti, and E Macchia

Summary

Insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS), or Hirata disease, is a rare hypoglycaemic disorder caused by the presence of high titer of insulin autoantibodies (IAA) in patients without previous exposure to exogenous insulin. Even though its pathogenesis is not fully understood, striking evidences link IAS to previous exposure to sulphydryl-containing medications, like alpha-lipoic acid, a widely used nutritional supplement. Although challenging, a careful differential diagnosis from other causes of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (such as insulinoma) is mandatory, since these conditions require different therapeutic approaches. In the present study, we report a 35-year-old woman originally from Sri Lanka who was referred to our University Hospital on suspicion of occult insulinoma. Her medical history was positive for endometriosis, treated with estroprogestins and alpha-lipoic acid. The latter supplement was begun 2 weeks before the first hypoglycaemic episode. Our tests confirmed the presence of hypoglycaemia associated with high insulin and C-peptide concentrations. When insulin concentrations were compared using different assays, the results were significantly different. Moreover, insulin values significantly decreased after precipitation with polyethylene glycol. An assay for IAA proved positive (530 U/mL). A genetic analysis revealed the presence of HLA-DRB1*04,15, an immunogenetic determinant associated with IAS. On the basis of clinical data we avoided a first-line approach with immunosuppressive treatments, and the patient was advised to modify her diet, with the introduction of frequent low-caloric meals. During follow-up evaluations, glucose levels (registered trough a flash glucose monitoring system) resulted progressively more stable. IAA titer progressively decreased, being undetectable by the fifteenth month, thus indicating the remission of the IAS.

Learning points:

  • Insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS) is a rare cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia, whose prevalence is higher in East Asian populations due to the higher prevalence of specific immunogenetic determinants. Nevertheless, an increasing number of IAS cases is being reported worldwide, due to the wide diffusion of medications such as alpha-lipoic acid.
  • Differential diagnosis of IAS from other causes of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycaemia is challenging. Even though many tests can be suggestive of IAS, the gold standard remains the detection of IAAs, despite that dedicated commercial kits are not widely available.
  • The therapeutic approach to IAS is problematic. As a matter of fact IAS is often a self-remitting disease, but sometimes needs aggressive immunosuppression. The benefits and risks of any therapeutic choice should be carefully weighted and tailored on the single patient.
Open access

Alejandro García-Castaño, Leire Madariaga, Sharona Azriel, Gustavo Pérez de Nanclares, Idoia Martínez de LaPiscina, Rosa Martínez, Inés Urrutia, Aníbal Aguayo, Sonia Gaztambide, and Luis Castaño

Summary

Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia type I is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the CASR gene and is characterized by moderately elevated serum calcium concentrations, low urinary calcium excretion and inappropriately normal or mildly elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations. We performed a clinical and genetic characterization of one patient suspected of familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia type I. Patient presented persistent hypercalcemia with normal PTH and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. The CASR was screened for mutations by PCR followed by direct Sanger sequencing and, in order to detect large deletions or duplications, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was used. One large deletion of 973 nucleotides in heterozygous state (c.1733-255_2450del) was detected. This is the first large deletion detected by the MLPA technique in the CASR gene.

Learning points:

  • Molecular studies are important to confirm the differential diagnosis of FHH from primary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Large deletions or duplications in the CASR gene can be detected by the MLPA technique.
  • Understanding the functional impact of the mutations is critical for leading pharmacological research and could facilitate the therapy of patients.