- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women undergoing stem cell transplantation (SCT) are mostly young and have more than 90% probability of ovarian failure, which is often permanent. A woman's age, use of radiotherapy and alkylating chemotherapy, and the allogeneic type of transplant are associated with a higher rate of premature ovarian failure and worse residual ovarian function. Premature ovarian failure has serious systemic and psychological effects that may need treatment and should be managed by practitioners trained to treat this particular population of women. Ultrasonographic evidence of ovarian follicles is often associated with a future resumption of cycles, but there are no serum markers to predict the return of ovarian function in these patients. In our center, the rate of ovarian function recovery was 7% after allogeneic SCT and 25% after autologous SCT (P<0.05). There are no guidelines on how to manage premature ovarian failure induced by myeloablative treatments followed by SCT. Because of the likelihood of the need for long-lasting estrogen plus progestin therapy (EPT) and the increased risk of secondary neoplasia after SCT, the EPT should be as physiological as possible. In our experience, the cyclical sequential combination of estradiol (2 mg daily) plus dydrogesterone (10 mg for 14 d/mo) was associated with excellent compliance because of its simple administration and few adverse effects. Such a treatment led to a dramatic improvement in vasomotor, urogenital, and psychological symptoms related to estrogen deficiency. However, in the allogeneic transplantation setting, up to 25% of women may suffer from gynecological chronic graft-versus-host disease, which may become apparent as hematocolpometra after introduction of EPT. Thus, accurate pretreatment evaluation and frequent monitoring during treatment are required. Moreover, EPT absorption may be reduced in patients who received allotransplants and have gastrointestinal or skin chronic graft-versus-host disease.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although thyroid disorders related to the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are well known, there are discordant data on the function and morphology of the thyroid gland after renal transplantation (RT). The objective of this cross-sectional, case-control study was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for disorders in the thyroid function and morphology after a successful RT. Fifty consecutive patients (25 females, 25 males) with fully functioning allograft were enrolled. Their age at transplant ranged from 23 to 44 yr (median, 38) and their post-RT follow-up lasted 15-86 months (median, 23). One hundred healthy subjects matched for sex, age and body mass index (BMI) were included as controls. Serum free thyroid hormones, TSH, thyroglobulin, thyroid hormone-binding globulin (TBG) and iodine urinary excretion were determined; ultrasonographic exam of the thyroid gland was performed in all subjects. Age, gender, time elapsed from RT, dialysis duration, kidney function, type of immunosuppression and corticosteroid dose were considered as possible influencing factors for the thyroid function. Hypothyroidism was found in 6% of patients, "low T3 syndrome" in 52%, while another 26% had free T3 (FT3), free T4 (FT4) and TSH in the lowest third of the normal range, suggesting inhibition of the whole hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Iodine excretion and prevalence of anti-thyroid antibodies were similar in both patients and controls. There was no significant difference in the thyroid function according to different immunosuppressive regimens. In patients, an ultrasonographic exam revealed a very variable thyroid volume ranging from 7.2 to 24.8 ml. Solid nodules were detected in 12 (24%) cases and cystic lesions in another four (8%); they were proven negative at cytological examination. Dialysis duration was longer in patients with thyroid nodules than in those without (p<0.05). Inhomogeneous hypoechoic pattern typical for chronic thyroiditis was more frequent than its biochemical expression. In conclusion, a high prevalence of abnormal thyroid morphology was found in patients after a successful RT, being partly related to a previous uremia. Abnormalities in the thyroid function are likely an expression of the post-transplant general and immunological conditions. Endocrinological follow-up is advisable in patients after RT, in order to discriminate thyroid dysfunctions which need specific treatments from those that can only be followed-up, avoiding inappropriate treatments of biochemical abnormalities.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovarian failure after allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT) is an important risk factor for development of osteoporosis. We investigated the effects of various antiresorptive treatments in long-term surviving females with ovarian failure after allo-SCT. A total of 60 women with osteoporosis or osteopenia were divided randomly into four groups of 15 women each. Group 1 was treated with calcium and vitamin D alone, group 2 received the same treatment in combination with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), group 3 received risedronate (35 mg weekly, orally for 1 year) and group 4 zoledronic acid (3 monthly doses of 4 mg (intravenous)). All groups were similar for age, body mass index, underlying disease and time elapsed from transplant. Lumbar and femoral bone mineral density (BMD) were measured at baseline and after 12 months, together with serum osteocalcin and urinary hydroxyproline. At 12 months, a significant decrease in lumbar and femoral BMD was observed in group 1 and a milder decrease in group 2. Risedronate treatment increased significantly lumbar BMD and prevented bone loss at the femoral neck. Zoledronic acid increased significantly both lumbar and femoral BMD. In groups 3 and 4 the hydroxyproline excretion was significantly reduced, while osteocalcin mildly increased only in group 4. In conclusion, bisphosphonate administration is useful to prevent and treat bone demineralization in young adult women after allo-SCT.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the relationships between the GH-IGF-I axis and the atherosclerotic profile, we designed this open, observational, prospective study. Peak GH after GHRH+arginine (ARG) test, serum IGF-I and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), lipid profile, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index and intima-media thickness (IMT) at common carotid arteries were measured in 174 healthy individuals (92 women, 82 men, aged 18-80 yr). Exclusion criteria for this study were: 1) body mass index (BMI) > or = 30 kg/m2; 2) personal history of cardiovascular diseases; 3) previous or current treatments of diabetes or hypertension; 4) previous corticosteroids treatment for longer than 2 weeks or estrogens for longer than 3 months; 5) smoking of more than 15 cigarettes/day and alcohol abuse. Subjects were divided according to age in decade groups from < 20 to > 70 yr. BMI increased with age, as did systolic and diastolic blood pressures, although they remained in the normal range. The GH peak after GHRH+ARG test was significantly higher in the subjects aged < 20 yr than in all the other groups (p < 0.01), but was similar in the remaining groups. An inverse correlation was found between the IGF-I z-score and total/HDL-cholesterol ratio (p = 0.02) and mean IMT (p = 0.0009); IGFBP-3 z-score and mean IMT (p = 0.043); IGF: IGFBP-3 molar ratio and total/HDL-cholesterol ratio (p < 0.0001) and mean IMT (p < 0.0001). Atherosclerotic plaques were found in 7 out of 12 subjects (53.8%) with a z-IGF-I score from < or = -2 to -1, in 4 out of 63 (6.3%) with a z-IGF-I score from -0.99 to 0.1 out of 66 (1.5%) with a z-IGF-I score from 0.1 to 1 and none of the 33 subjects with an IGF-I z-score >1 (p = 0.006). At multi-step regression analysis, age was the best predictor of HDL-cholesterol levels and mean IMT, IGF-I level was the best predictor of total cholesterol and total/HDL-cholesterol ratio, the IGF-I/IGFBP-3 molar ratio was the best predictor of triglycerides levels. The z-scores of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were the second best predictors of mean IMT after age. In conclusion, IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were negatively correlated with common cardiovascular risk factors, studied as total/HDL-cholesterol ratio, and/or early atherosclerosis, studied as IMT at common carotid arteries. The prevalence of atherosclerotic plaques, though not hemodinamically significant, was higher in the subjects having a z-score of IGF-I of < or = -2 to -1. Our results support a role of the IGF/IGFBP-3 axis in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is a common disorder, especially among elderly post-menopausal women. Elderly women are often affected by co-morbidities, impaired gastrointestinal function and reduced mobility; therefore, the treatment strategy for their osteoporosis can be difficult. In this randomized pilot study, we have investigated the effects of a 12-month treatment with neridronate on bone mineral density (BMD), bone turnover markers and quality of life (QoL). The study included 40 women (age, 65-80 yr; post-menopausal period, >15yr) from a single osteoporosis centre. Twenty women received a monthly im injection of 25 mg of neridronate associated with a daily dose of 500 mg of calcium and 400 U of vitamin D. Twenty women received calcium plus vitamin D supplements alone. Changes in BMD at the lumbar spine and femoral neck were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Serum type I collagen C-telopeptide (sCTX), urinary free-deoxypyridinoline (ufDPD), bone alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and serum osteocalcin levels were determined. For the QoL assessment, the Italian version of the SF-36 test was administrated. Spine and hip BMD rose by 6.6 +/- 3 and 4.2 +/- 2.3%, respectively (p < 0.05), after 12 months of neridronate treatment. Markers of skeletal turnover significantly fell already after 3 months of neridronate treatment and decreased progressively thereafter within 12 months. The mean decrease at 12 months ranged from 38 +/- 11% for sCTX to 25.2 +/- 15% for ufDPD (p < 0.001, all). The mean improvement in QoL in the treated group was 45.7% for bodily pain, 37.5% for general health perception, 23.1% for vitality, 18% for emotional role functioning and 12% for physical role functioning. The changes observed in BMD, turnover markers and QoL in the untreated group were ns. The intermittent neridronate administration was easily manageable and well tolerated. In conclusion, neridronate currently represents a valid option for the treatment of osteoporosis, since it helps just as much as oral BPs in the improvement of BMD and in particular conditions it can be even more effective.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The physiological changes that the human body undergoes during aging are similar to those observed in GH deficiency (GHD). Early changes of aging are represented by increased fat mass, increased cardiovascular risk, reduced muscle mass and strength, reduced exercise tolerance, thinned skin, decreased strength and impaired quality of life. These observations led to hypothesize that the elderly could be GH deficient and would benefit from GH treatment. However, the effects of GH treatment in healthy elderly subjects by randomized and controlled studies are less promising than initially hypothesized. The etiopathology of age-related bone loss is multifactorial including menopause, andropause, somatopause and secondary hyperparathyroidism. GH has multiple effects on bone, either direct or mediated by IGF-I, stimulating osteoblast proliferation as well as osteoclast differentiation. Consequently, decline in GH secretion reduces bone turnover that causes osteopenia in young adults, but it has been hypothesized that it could protect against fractures in elderly subjects. The increase of bone remodeling achieved by GH therapy may be helpful in elderly men and women who have severely decreased bone turnover and impaired osteoblastic function. In conclusion, the endocrine pattern of aging is distinct from the decrease of GH/IGF-I levels associated with hypopituitarism. However, GH plays a role in metabolism and bone physiology throughout the human life span, although there is insufficient evidence for a clear therapeutic role of rhGH in aging. Thus, more data are needed to define the effects of somatopause to identify who could potentially benefit from the effects of somatotropic treatment.