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11/84. Cushing's syndrome secondary to adrenocorticotropin-independent macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia due to activating mutations of GNAS1 gene.

    ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (AIMAH) is an uncommon cause of Cushing's syndrome characterized by bilateral nodular adrenocortical hyperfunction in the presence of suppressed ACTH levels. We investigated whether activating mutations in the ACTH receptor (MC2-R) or G(s alpha) (GNAS1) genes might be involved in AIMAH genesis. Five women with Cushing's syndrome due to AIMAH, confirmed by histological studies, and no signs of McCune-Albright syndrome were selected for molecular analysis of these genes. The single exon of the MC2-R gene and exons 8 and 9 of the GNAS1 gene were amplified by PCR in genomic dna from adrenal nodules and peripheral blood. Direct sequencing revealed only MC2-R wild-type sequences. GNAS1 PCR products at denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis revealed abnormal migration patterns in adrenal tissues of three patients. Automatic sequencing showed two different activating mutations at codon Arg(201) of GNAS1, a substitution by histidine in two cases and by serine in one case. In conclusion, we found two different gsp mutations in three patients with Cushing's syndrome due to AIMAH, and we speculate whether they belong to the spectrum of McCune-Albright syndrome or whether these are the first reported cases of AIMAH due to gsp mutations. ( info)

12/84. Virilizing adrenal tumor in a child suppressed with dexamethasone for three years. Effect of o,p'-DDD on serum and urinary androgens.

    Extensive hormonal evaluation was performed in a girl with adrenal carcinoma during the primary tumor stage, following adrenalectomy, during the period when metastases were evident and while on treatment with o,p'-DDD. At the age of 14 months a diagnosis of congenital adrenal hyperplasia was made and treatment with dexamethasone (0.125 to 0.25 mg/day) resulted in a fall-off in growth rate, normal advancement in bone age, decrease in virilization and suppression of 17- ketosteroid excretion which continued until 4 3/12 years of age when virilization increased. At five years of age elevated serum and urinary androgen levels unsuppressible with dexamethasone were noted. Following removal of a large right adrenal carcinoma, serum and urinary hormone levels returned to normal. There months following surgery, liver metastases were documented associated with elevated levels of serum androgens. With o,p'-DDD treatment, serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DS) and urinary 17-ketosteroid (17-KS) excretion fell rapidly while there was a delay in the fall of free androgens. The persistence of free steroid secretion with decreased formation of DS suggests that the o,p'-DDD may have altered sulfatase activity before causing tumor necrosis and total decrease in steroidogenesis. ( info)

13/84. Stress fractures in young athletic women: case reports of unsuspected cortisol-induced osteoporosis.

    Stress fractures in the female athlete are common events, usually occurring in the lower limb and less often in the pelvic girdle. Two cases are presented of young women athletes who presented with initial lower limb stress fractures, but subsequently fractures of the pelvis and hip thought to be associated with their athletic activity. After careful medical evaluation, they were diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome. One patient had a microadenoma of the pituitary gland secreting excessive amounts of ACTH, and the other had a benign adenoma of the left adrenal gland. Both women had significant decreases in their spinal mineral density. After treatment, partial reversal of these spinal losses occurred. Although stress fractures in the female athlete might be common and thought to be associated with problems of amenorrhea, presentation of unusual anatomical sites for these fractures necessitates a more thorough evaluation for correctable secondary causes. ( info)

14/84. Macronodular adrenal hyperplasia causing Cushing's syndrome: report of two cases and an overview.

    Of the various entities producing adrenal hyperfunction, nodular adrenal hyperplasia is rarely described, however, recent reports have established it as a distinct cause of Cushing's syndrome. Although the etiology of this disease remains uncertain, two distinct forms are recognised, namely: macronodular hyperplasia and micronodular dysplasia. Establishing the diagnosis preoperatively is difficult but essential to ensure the correct treatment is performed. Two cases of macronodular hyperplasia are reported herein followed by a review of the available literature on this subject. ( info)

15/84. Macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia in a postmenopausal woman.

    This case report describes the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome due to macronodular adrenal hyperplasia in an elderly woman who presented with fatigue, muscle weakness and oedema, and recent excessive bruising. Long-standing disease and comorbidity precluded adrenalectomy. Despite treatment with metyrapone and diuretics, the patient died after two months hospitalisation. Postmortal examination revealed overexpression of luteinising hormone (LH) receptors in the adrenal glands, suggesting that the postmenopausal rise in LH may have a role in adrenal hyperplasia and hypercortisolism. ( info)

16/84. Endocrinopathies of hyperfunction: Cushing's syndrome and aldosteronism.

    Increased function of the adrenal cortex is a normal response in times of physiologic and psychologic stress. Adrenal cortical secretions (e.g., glucocorticoids, aldosterone) orchestrate a multitude of internal processes aimed at maintaining homeostasis and psychologic integrity. Many patients admitted to a critical care unit will manifest some increase, even minor, in adrenal function. However, excessive secretions of these hormones can have a lethal effect of fluid and electrolyte balance, energy metabolism, and immune function. Cushing's syndrome denotes a disorder characterized by increased circulating levels of glucocorticoids (primarily cortisol). An easily recognizable disorder, it may arise from pathology of the adrenal cortex or the anterior pituitary glands, ectopic secretions from a nonendocrine tumor, or from excessive doses of exogenously administered glucocorticoids. Cushing's syndrome is rarely an admitting diagnosis to critical care but is a disorder that can seriously affect recovery from coexisting illnesses if not treated. Aldosteronism, although rare, will often be diagnosed after admission to a critical care unit for management of troublesome hypertension, hypokalemia, congestive heart failure, and various dysrhythmias. Suspicion of the diagnosis should always arise when these manifestations occur, particularly when hypokalemia is refractory to potassium supplementation. Without timely diagnosis and treatment, these patients will succumb to lethal dysrhythmias. ( info)

17/84. Virilization due to ovarian androgen hypersecretion in a patient with ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone secretion caused by a carcinoid tumour: case report.

    A 52-year-old woman presented with symptoms of virilization, which had been ongoing for 5 months. At the age of 34 years, she had a large abdominal carcinoid tumour removed. Twelve years later, she presented with Cushing's syndrome due to ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) production by carcinoid metastases localized in the right parametrium, fornix posterior and right diaphragm. Debulking laparotomy was performed followed by remission of hypercortisolism. Relapse of hypercortisolism followed 3 years later, and a second debulking laparotomy was performed including resection of the right ovary. In the following year, relapses of hypercortisolism were observed until bilateral adrenalectomy was performed. Laboratory evaluation revealed elevated serum levels of testosterone (23.0 nmol/l), androstenedione and 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and a serum estradiol (E2) level in the premenopausal range. The computerized tomography (CT) of the abdomen showed a large pelvic mass on the left side of the uterus without a recognizable left ovary. Treatment with a GnRH agonist (goserelin, 3.6 mg s.c., monthly) was initiated, resulting in normalization of the androgen levels. One year later, obstruction of the right ureter occurred due to progression of the pelvic metastases, thus a third debulking laparotomy with resection of the pelvic metastases including the left ovary was performed. The microscopic examination of the removed pelvic mass showed malignant carcinoid tissue with focal remnants of atrophic ovarian tissue. Two years after surgery, serum androgen levels are undetectable. We hypothesize that the high levels of ACTH at the site of the left ovary have induced androgen hypersecretion by steroid-producing cells in the ovary of our patient. ( info)

18/84. Primary aldosteronism. A study in contrasts.

    Two patient with primary aldosteronism, one with a solitary adrenal adenoma and the other with bilateral nodular hyperplasia, are described. Both patients showed the classic features of primary aldosteronism in electrolyte and hormone patterns, but there were important differences in the biochemistry of their excised adrenal tissue. In addition, the injection of plasma from the patient with bilateral adrenal hyperplasia into the sheep's transplanted adrenal gland elicited a definite aldosterone secretory response, but there was no aldosterone response to the injection of plasma from the patient with a solitary adrenal adenoma. The findings support the hypothesis that an extra-adrenal stimulus may contribute to the pathogenesis of bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. ( info)

19/84. Human adenohypophysis in nelson syndrome. Ultrastructural and clinical study.

    The manifestations that comprise the disease known as nelson syndrome are pituitary hyperplasia and cutaneous hyperpigmentation, which sometimes follow bilateral adrenalectomy, in patients with hypercortisolism. We present a comprehensive endocrinologic, structural study of a patient in whom the evidence obtained supports the hypotheses that: (a) the primary disorder in this form of hypercortisolism is probably hypothalamic; (b) the hyperplasia of the adenohypophysis, following adrenalectomy, is closely associated with lowered plasma cortisol levels; and (c) the cillular hyperplasia in the adenohypophysis involves primarily the corticotroph, a cell believed to be associated with the secretion of adrenocorticotrophic hormone and melanocyte-stimulating hormone. ( info)

20/84. Hypertensive virilizing adrenal hyperplasia with minimal impairment of synthetic route to cortisol.

    One of the first described cases of hypertensive virilizing adrenal hyperplasia (VAH) (pediatrics 8: 805, 1951) has been followed from age 2 1/2 until age 26. blood pressure as an infant was 150/90, and at age 25 was 220/160. During childhood the patient was lost to follow-up for prolonged periods, and received no therapy from age 20 to 25. At this time 24 h urinary excretion of 17-ketosteroids was 89 mg; tetrahydro 11-deoxycortisol (tetrahydro S), 47 mg and pregnanetriol 5.7 mg. Hourly measurements of several plasma steroids utilizing sephadex LH 20 chromatography and competitive protein binding were made during 24 h; concentration ranges were made during 24 h; concentration ranges were as follows (mug/100 ml): 11-deoxycortisol 8-40; cortisol 0-48; corticosterone 0-15; deoxycorticosterone 1-18. plasma cortisol, especially showed a significiant morning impairment, but reached normal and even markedly elevated levels during the day and early evening. Urinary cyclic amp per 24 h ranged from 5.3 to 11.6 n mol/mg creatinine before therapy, and was 1.9 n mol after therapy. The results suggest either the formation of an alternate pathway to cortisol synthesis, or the existence of a form of VAH with two independent 11-B hydroxylating systems, exhibiting only minimal impairment of the synthetic route to cortisol. The latter would support the presence of two independent 11-B hydroxylating systems in the normal human adrenal. This has been suggested by Zachmann et al. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 33: 501, 1971) to be true in infancy. Our observations on an adult indicate that these two systems may not be transitory, but persist into adulthood. ( info)
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