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      Impact of Long-Term Dexamethasone Therapy on the Metabolic Profile of Patients With 21-Hydroxylase Deficiency

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          No consensus has been reached regarding the glucocorticoid (GC) to use for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) during adulthood. Dexamethasone (DEX), because of its longer half-life, could improve compliance; however, no data are available regarding the long-term effects of DEX therapy.


          To analyze the metabolic effect of DEX therapy for adults with CAH.


          Retrospective analysis of a CAH cohort receiving DEX therapy.


          Medical School Hospital, São Paulo University, Brazil.


          Sixty patients with well-controlled classic CAH (41 women; 30 with salt-wasting) receiving DEX after achievement of final height.



          Main Outcome Measures

          Clinical, laboratory, and metabolic data were compared immediately before DEX and at the last evaluation.


          The mean age at the last evaluation was 31.9 ± 9.6 years, and the duration of DEX therapy was 11.5 ± 4.9 years. The mean DEX dose was 0.18 ± 0.07 mg/m 2/d. The body mass index SD score (1.6 ± 1.6 vs 1.5 ± 1.5 mg/m 2; P = 0.65) and obesity prevalence (27% vs 27%) did not differ between evaluations. However, the waist/height ratio (WtHR) had increased from 0.54 ± 0.08 to 0.56 ± 0.1 ( P = 0.001). An increase in the homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance index (2.5 ± 1.3 vs 2.8 ± 1.7; P = 0.03) was observed and positively correlated with the WtHR ( r = 0.54). The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (7% vs 10%; P = 0.7) and hypertension (15% vs 13.3%; P = 0.8) did not differ significantly between the two evaluations.


          Long-term and low-dose DEX therapy did not lead to increases in obesity or metabolic syndrome, although it was associated with an increased WtHR and greater homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance observed with chronic use of GCs. DEX appears to be an acceptable option to treat adult CAH.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Consensus statement on 21-hydroxylase deficiency from the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology.

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            High frequency of nonclassical steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency.

            Nonclassical steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder that is defined by clinical and hormonal criteria that distinguishes it from the classical 21-hydroxylase deficiency. No estimates of the gene frequency of nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency, also called attenuated, late-onset, acquired, and cryptic adrenal hyperplasia, have been published thus far. Here, we have used HLA-B genotype data in families containing multiple members affected with nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency together with the results of quantitative hormonal tests to arrive at estimates of gene and disease frequencies for this disorder. We found nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency to be a far more common disorder than classical 21-hydroxylase deficiency, which occurs in 1/8,000 births. The prevalence of the disease in Ashkenazi Jews was 3.7%; in Hispanics, 1.9%; in Yugoslavs, 1.6%; in Italians, 0.3%; and in the diverse Caucasian population, 0.1%. The gene for nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency is in genetic linkage disequilibrium with HLA-B14 in Ashkenazi Jews, Hispanics, and Italians, but not in Yugoslavs or in a diverse, non-Jewish, Caucasian group. The penetrance of nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency gene in the HLA-B14 containing haplotypes was incomplete. Thus, nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency is probably the most frequent autosomal recessive genetic disorder in man and is especially frequent in Ashkenazi Jews, Hispanics, Italians, and Yugoslavs.
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              Worldwide experience in newborn screening for classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency.

              The need for a reliable screening test for classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia prompted development of newborn screening programs. Worldwide incidence of classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia in this report was taken from newborn screening programs in France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States. Two populations in which the occurrence of congenital adrenal hyperplasia among live births has been reported with greater than usual frequency are the Yupik Eskimos of southwestern Alaska (1:282) and the people of La Reunion, France (1:2,141). Aside from these populations, 1,093,310 newborns were screened between 1980 and 1988, of whom 77 had congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Thus, worldwide incidence of this disorder was estimated at 1:14,199 live births for homozygous patients, 1:60 for heterozygous subjects, with a gene frequency of 0.0083. Incidence of congenital adrenal hyperplasia among whites was estimated to be 1:11,909 (41:488,279) for homozygous patients, 1:55 for heterozygous subjects with a gene frequency of 0.0091. Incidence for the salt-wasting form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia was 1:18,850 (58:1,093,310) compared with 1:57,543 (19:1,093,310) for congenital adrenal hyperplasia in the simple virilizing form. Thus, salt-wasting congenital adrenal hyperplasia was three times more common than simple virilizing congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Estimated incidence of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in white populations in Italy and France (1:10,866) was higher than in Scotland (1:17,098), New Zealand (1:14,500). The incidence in an Asian population (Japan) (1:15,800) did not differ significantly from that of the white population. In four of five populations, overall incidence was higher than previously reported, as was the frequency of the salt-wasting form (75% v 50% to 66%), suggesting improved case detection by newborn screening.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

                Author and article information

                J Endocr Soc
                J Endocr Soc
                Journal of the Endocrine Society
                Endocrine Society (Washington, DC )
                01 August 2019
                19 June 2019
                : 3
                : 8
                : 1574-1582
                Unidade de Adrenal, Laboratório de Hormônios e Genética Molecular LIM/42, Disciplina de Endocrinologia, Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
                Author notes
                Correspondence:  Tania A. S. S. Bachega, Hospital das Clínicas, Prédio dos Ambulatórios, Av. Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 155–2° Andar – Bloco 06, São Paulo, São Paulo 05403-900, Brazil. E-mail: tbachega@ 123456usp.br .
                Copyright © 2019 Endocrine Society

                This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial, No-Derivatives License (CC BY-NC-ND; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                Page count
                Pages: 9
                Funded by: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico 10.13039/501100003593
                Award ID: #303088/2015-0
                Award ID: #303002/2016-6
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