Pertechnetate scintigraphy in primary congenital hypothyroidism.
Primary congenital hypothyroidism (PCH) is currently detected effectively by heel-stick screening. When elevated thyrotropin (TSH) and/or decreased T4 are found in the blood of neonates, they are recalled, values are confirmed in venous blood and thyroxine replacement therapy (TRT) is immediately instituted, thus cretinism or severe retardation is prevented. However, in a significant percentage of neonates with abnormal blood levels of T4 or TSH, the disorder is transient. To help determine the exact cause of PCH and the possibility of transient PCH, pinhole thyroid imaging is performed 30 min after an intravenous injection of 18.5 MBq (500 microCi) 99mTc-pertechnetate (TcPT). Patients with a nonvisualized gland or patients with images suggesting dyshormonogenesis are reevaluated at age 3-4 y to exclude transient PCH. METHODS: To define the role of TcPT imaging in determining the exact etiology of PCH and the possibility of its being transient, we reviewed data from 103 neonates with PCH who had scintigraphy in our laboratory between 1970 and 1996 and we correlated the results with clinical outcome. RESULTS: Four patterns of thyroid scintigrams were recognized and these determined patient classification: (a) normal in 7 patients with false-positive heel-stick screening but normal venous blood hormone levels; (b) hypoplasia-ectopia in 32 patients requiring lifelong TRT; (c) nonvisualization in 35 patients-32 with agenesis requiring lifelong TRT and 3 with fetal thyroid suppression by maternal antibodies whose TRT was discontinued at a later age; and (d) dyshormonogenesis (markedly increased TcPT concentration) in 29 patients-25 with permanent PCH requiring lifelong TRT and 4 with transient PCH in whom TRT was discontinued. Of the 25 patients with dyshormonogenesis, 12 belonged to five families with two or three siblings having the same disorder. CONCLUSION: TcPT thyroid scintigraphy in the neonate with PCH provides a more specific diagnosis, is useful for selecting patients for re-evaluation to uncover transient PCH and discontinue TRT and defines dyshormonogenesis, which is familial and requires genetic counseling. It is also cost-effective. (+info)
Structural defects of a Pax8 mutant that give rise to congenital hypothyroidism.
Pax proteins are transcriptional regulators that play important roles during embryogenesis. These proteins recognize specific DNA sequences via a conserved element: the paired domain (Prd domain). The low level of organized secondary structure, in the free state, is a general feature of Prd domains; however, these proteins undergo a dramatic gain in alpha-helical content upon interaction with DNA ('induced fit'). Pax8 is expressed in the developing thyroid, kidney and several areas of the central nervous system. In humans, mutations of the Pax8 gene, which are mapped to the coding region of the Prd domain, give rise to congenital hypothyroidism. Here, we have investigated the molecular defects caused by a mutation in which leucine at position 62 is substituted for an arginine. Leu62 is conserved among Prd domains, and contributes towards the packing together of helices 1 and 3. The binding affinity of the Leu62Arg mutant for a specific DNA sequence (the C sequence of thyroglobulin promoter) is decreased 60-fold with respect to the wild-type Pax8 Prd domain. However, the affinities with which the wild-type and the mutant proteins bind to a non-specific DNA sequence are very similar. CD spectra demonstrate that, in the absence of DNA, both wild-type Pax8 and the Leu62Arg mutant possess a low alpha-helical content; however, in the Leu62Arg mutant, the gain in alpha-helical content upon interaction with DNA is greatly reduced with respect to the wild-type protein. Thus the molecular defect of the Leu62Arg mutant causes a reduced capability for induced fit upon DNA interaction. (+info)
Early cellular abnormalities induced by RET/PTC1 oncogene in thyroid-targeted transgenic mice.
The RET/PTC1 oncogene, a rearranged form of the RET proto-oncogene, has been reported to be associated with human papillary thyroid carcinomas. We have shown that targeted expression of RET/PTC1 in the thyroid gland leads to the development of thyroid carcinomas in transgenic mice with histologic and cytologic similarities to human papillary thyroid carcinoma. To further investigate how RET/PTC1 expression contributes to the pathogenesis of papillary thyroid tumor, the time of tumor onset and the early phenotypic consequences of RET/PTC1 expression in thyrocytes were determined. All high copy transgenic mice developed bilateral thyroid tumors as early as 4 days of age. At embryological days 16-18, increased proliferation rate, distorted thyroid follicle formation and reduced radioiodide concentrating activity were identified in transgenic embryos. The reduced radioiodide concentrating activity was attributed to decreased expression of the sodium-iodide symporter. Our study showed that RET/PTC1 not only increased proliferation of thyrocytes, it also altered morphogenesis and differentiation. These findings provide a model for the role of RET/PTC1 in the formation of abnormal follicles with reduced iodide uptake ability observed in human papillary thyroid carcinoma. (+info)
Intellectual outcome at 12 years of age in congenital hypothyroidism.
BACKGROUND: The intellectual outcome in children with congenital hypothyroidism detected by neonatal screening is generally good; however, subtle neurological dysfunctions, subnormal IQ, or both, have been reported. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the intellectual outcome in 12-year-old patients with congenital hypothyroidism, detected by neonatal screening, in an attempt to identify factors that may affect intellectual development. METHODS: The intelligence quotient (IQ) of 40 children with congenital hypothyroidism was evaluated at 12 years of age, using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children -- Revised, and compared with the IQ of 40 healthy siblings (control group). RESULTS: The mean IQ score (88.4+/-13.1) was not significantly different from that of the control group (93.4+/-10.7). Thirteen patients showed subnormal IQ score (72.4+/-4.9) compared with their siblings (86.7+/-9.6; P<0.0001) and with the other patients (96.1+/-9.6; P<0.0001). The low IQ score was associated with lower serum concentrations of thyroxine at diagnosis, poor treatment compliance during follow-up and lower familial IQ. Interviews with parents of children with congenital hypothyroidism revealed that a refusal to acknowledge the disease was linked to poor attention to the child's emotional life and to poor treatment compliance in some cases (11%). CONCLUSION: Even though the mean IQ score in patients with congenital hypothyroidism falls within normal for the control population, low IQ scores may be present in patients with severe hypothyroidism, inadequate compliance to replacement therapy during follow-up and poor parental pedagogic attitude. (+info)
Iodine and neuropsychological development.
The establishment of the essential link among iodine deficiency, thyroid function and brain development has emerged from a fascinating combination of clinical, epidemiologic and experimental studies. The central human phenomenon that focuses this relationship is the condition of endemic cretinism, described from the Middle Ages and characterized in its fully developed form by severe brain damage, deaf mutism and a spastic state of the hands and feet. The demonstration of the prevention of cretinism in a double-blind controlled trial with injections of iodized oil in Papua New Guinea (1966-1970) established the causal role of iodine deficiency in cretinism by an effect on the developing fetal brain. Cretinism could not be prevented unless the iodized oil was given before pregnancy. Iodine deficiency is now regarded by the WHO as the most common preventable cause of brain damage in the world today, with at least 30 million suffering from this preventable condition. Since 1986 the international NGO, the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, has worked closely as an expert group with WHO and UNICEF in assisting countries with a program of universal salt iodization for the elimination of iodine deficiency as a cause of brain damage by the year 2000. In 1996, WHO reported that 56% of the population of 83 developing countries now had adequate access to iodized salt. This represents an increase of 750 million since 1990 with protection of 12 million children. (+info)
Thyroid stimulating hormone levels in cord blood are not influenced by non-thyroidal mothers' diseases.
CONTEXT: Screening programs not only offer the opportunity to trace and treat almost all cases of congenital hypothyroidism but also mean large savings to the health system. However, carefully planned strategies are necessary to extend their benefits and reduce costs. OBJECTIVE: To determine the possible influence of maternal diseases that affect maternal-fetal placenta dynamics on primary thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) screening for congenital hypothyroidism. DESIGN: Prospective non-randomized clinical trial with at least 3 months of follow-up. SETTING: A public university referral center [CAISM/Hospital das Clinicas, Faculty of Medicine, University of Campinas, Campinas, SP]. PARTICIPANTS: 415 neonates divided into 5 groups: eighty-three infants born from cardiac mothers; 98 from mothers that had toxemia; 54 of the mothers had diabetes mellitus; 40 were HIV positive and 140 had no diseases. INTERVENTION: All newborns had cord blood samples collected on filter paper at birth. MAIN MEASUREMENTS: TSH was measured from dried blood spots using a homemade immunofluorescence assay (sensitivity in dried blood spots = 0.1 mU/L). RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the mean TSH levels among the 5 groups. Moreover, TSH levels were around 5 mU/L in 48% of the newborns, indicating that our region is severely deficient in iodine. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that primary TSH screening programs using cord blood are not affected by maternal diseases. We suggest that, besides its technical advantages over heel punctures with T4 primary approaches, neonatal screening using primary cord blood TSH may also be used as a monitoring tool for evaluation and control of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). (+info)
Novel mutations of the thyroid peroxidase gene in patients with permanent congenital hypothyroidism.
OBJECTIVE: It is suggested that iodide organification defects account for 10% of all cases with congenital hypothyroidism (CH). One candidate gene for these defects is the thyroid peroxidase (TPO) gene. DESIGN: Exons 2, 8-10 and 14 of the TPO gene were examined in 30 patients with permanent CH without a family history of CH. This group was characterized by the presence of an orthotopic thyroid gland and elevated TSH levels. METHODS: The mutational screening was performed by single-strand conformational polymorphism followed by sequence analysis of fragments with abnormal migration patterns and by restriction enzyme analysis. RESULTS: In four patients we were able to identify mutations on both alleles which have not been described so far. One patient was a carrier of a new homozygous point mutation in exon 9 resulting in an exchange from Leu to Pro at codon 458. Another patient was found to be compound heterozygous for two mutations, a 20 bp duplication in exon 2 and a new mutation in exon 9 (Arg491His). Two brothers of consanguineous parents showed a homozygous T deletion in exon 14 at position 2512. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm the genetic heterogeneity of TPO defects and support the suggested prevalence of organification defects. (+info)
Longitudinal growth, sexual maturation and final height in patients with congenital hypothyroidism detected by neonatal screening.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate longitudinal growth, pubertal development and final height in patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) detected by a neonatal screening programme, and to identify factors potentially affecting growth outcome. PATIENTS: Fifty-five patients (41 females) detected by neonatal screening and followed longitudinally from the time of diagnosis and treatment (25+/-5 days) up to the age of 17+/-0.5 years were evaluated retrospectively. RESULTS: Pubertal development began and progressed normally in both males and females. In boys, a testicular volume of 4 ml was reached at 11.3+/-1.0 years. In girls breast enlargement (B2) occurred at a mean age of 10.3+/-1.2 years and the mean age of menarche was 12.5+/-1.2 years. The onset and the progression of puberty were independent of the aetiology, the severity of CH and the timing of the beginning of treatment. Girls treated with an initial amount of L-thyroxine (L-T4) greater than 8 microg/kg per day showed an earlier onset of puberty (B2 9.4+/-0.9 years; menarche 11.5+/-0.8 years) compared with girls treated with a lower initial dose of L-T4 (B2 10.5+/-1.2 years; menarche 12.6+/-1.2 years; P<0.02). However, both groups attained a similar final height (-0.1+/-1.0 SDS and 0.4+/-1.0 SDS, respectively), which in both cases was above the target height (P=0.03). All the patients in the study attained a mean final height (0.1+/-1.1 SDS) within the normal range for the reference population and above the target height (-0.9+/-0.9 SDS, P<0.0001). No significant relationship was found between final height and severity of CH at diagnosis, initial L-T4 dosage or aetiology of the defect. Patients with ectopic gland, thyroid aplasia or in situ gland attained a similar mean final height (0.1+/-1.1 SDS, 0.5+/-1.0 SDS and -0.5+/-1.0 SDS, respectively), which was in all cases greater than target height (-1.0+/-0.9, -0.6+/-0.8, -0.9+/-0.8 respectively; P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that conventional management of children with CH detected by neonatal screening leads to normal sexual development and normal adult height, and that the major factor determining height in these children is familial genetic growth potential. (+info)