Autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 2, alopecia universalis and Crohn's disease

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Zvezdara, Dimitrija Tucovica 161, Belgrade, Serbia.
Journal of Crohn s and Colitis (Impact Factor: 6.23). 06/2012; 7(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.crohns.2012.05.009
Source: PubMed


Autoimmune polyglandular syndromes are defined as a spectrum of association between 2 or more organ specific endocrinopaties and non-endocrine autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune polyglandular syndromes type 2 is characterized by the coexistence of adrenal failure with autoimmune thyroid disease and diabetes mellitus type 1. Inflammatory bowel diseases are rarely associated with these autoimmune disorders.
Here, we report about a case of 33 years old male with known history of Crohn's colitis diagnosed in childhood. In 2003 the patient experienced sudden loss of hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard and body hair – alopecia universalis was diagnosed. At the age of 28, the patient was hospitalized with severe dehydration and clinical signs of ketoacidosis. Increased blood glucose (40 mmol/L), ketonuria and metabolic acidosis indicated diabetes mellitus type 1. In 2005, he had severe relapse of Crohn's disease and was treated with systemic corticosteroid. Although patient responded well to the induction therapy, fatigue, hypotension, bradycardia called for further investigations: free thyroxine – 6.99 pmol/L, thyroid-stimulating hormone > 75 U/ml, anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies > 1000 U/mL, so diagnosis of Haschimoto thyroiditis was confirmed. Persistent hypotension and fatigue, recurrent hypoglycemic crises indicated a possible presence of hypo-function of adrenal glands. After complete withdrawal of corticosteroid therapy, low cortisol levels (69.4 nmol/L) and positive tetracosactide stimulation test proved adrenal cortex failure.
Regardless of the intensive treatment for diabetes, hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency and Crohn's disease, it was extremely difficult to achieve and maintain control of all four diseases.

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