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      Scintigraphic Imaging of Paediatric Thyroid Dysfunction

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          Imaging of thyroid dysfunction is safe and clinically relevant in children. In congenital hypothyroidism (CH), thyroid imaging permits a precise characterization of the aetiology, which is important for genetic counselling and clinical management. CH may be due to thyroid dysgenesis (ectopia, hypoplasia and athyrosis) or occurs in eutopic glands. In the latter, hypothyroidism may be either transient, especially after iodine overload, or due to permanent autosomal recessive dyshormonogenesis. Thyroid scintigraphy (TS) with either <sup>99m</sup>TcO<sub>4</sub> or <sup>123</sup>I will identify ectopic thyroid tissue, which is the commonest cause of CH. However, recent reports favour the use of <sup>123</sup>I, which enhances the accuracy of the aetiological classification. In cases of eutopic thyroid, the measurement of <sup>123</sup>I uptake before and after perchlorate administration evaluates the organification process. At all ages, colour Doppler ultrasound scanning (CDU) is helpful in assessing thyroid volume, in identifying nodules and in characterizing tissue vascularization. TS and CDU images of most paediatric thyroid dysfunctions are presented.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Genetics of congenital hypothyroidism.

          Congenital hypothyroidism is the most common neonatal metabolic disorder and results in severe neurodevelopmental impairment and infertility if untreated. Congenital hypothyroidism is usually sporadic but up to 2% of thyroid dysgenesis is familial, and congenital hypothyroidism caused by organification defects is often recessively inherited. The candidate genes associated with this genetically heterogeneous disorder form two main groups: those causing thyroid gland dysgenesis and those causing dyshormonogenesis. Genes associated with thyroid gland dysgenesis include the TSH receptor in non-syndromic congenital hypothyroidism, and Gsalpha and the thyroid transcription factors (TTF-1, TTF-2, and Pax-8), associated with different complex syndromes that include congenital hypothyroidism. Among those causing dyshormonogenesis, the thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin genes were initially described, and more recently PDS (Pendred syndrome), NIS (sodium iodide symporter), and THOX2 (thyroid oxidase 2) gene defects. There is also early evidence for a third group of congenital hypothyroid conditions associated with iodothyronine transporter defects associated with severe neurological sequelae. This review focuses on the genetic aspects of primary congenital hypothyroidism.
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            Congenital hypothyroidism: etiologies, diagnosis, and management.

             S LaFranchi (1999)
            Congenital hypothyroidism is a common preventable cause of mental retardation. The overall incidence is approximately 1:4000; females are affected about twice as often as males. Approximately 85% of cases are sporadic, while 15% are hereditary. The most common sporadic etiology is thyroid dysgenesis, with ectopic glands more common than aplasia or hypoplasia. While the pathogenesis of dysgenesis is largely unknown, some cases are now discovered to be the result of mutations in the transcription factors PAX-8 and TTF-2. Loss of function mutations in the thyrotropin (TSH) receptor have been demonstrated to cause some familial forms of athyreosis. The most common hereditary etiology is the inborn errors of thyroxine (T4) synthesis. Recent mutations have been described in the genes coding for the sodium/iodide symporter, thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and thyroglobulin. Transplacental passage of a maternal thyrotropin receptor blocking antibody (TRB-Ab) causes a transient form of familial congenital hypothyroidism. The vast majority of infants are now diagnosed after detection through newborn screening programs using a primary T4-backup TSH or primary TSH test. Screening test results must be confirmed by serum thyroid function tests. Thyroid scintigraphy, using 99mTc or 123I, is the most accurate diagnostic test to detect thyroid dysgenesis or one of the inborn errors of T4 synthesis. Thyroid sonography is nearly as accurate, but it may miss some cases of ectopic glands. If maternal antibody-mediated hypothyroidism is suspected, measurement of maternal and/or neonatal TRB-Ab will confirm the diagnosis. The goals of treatment are to raise the serum T4 as rapidly as possible into the normal range, adjust the levothyroxine dose with growth to keep the serum T4 (or free T4) in the upper half of the normal range and the TSH normal, and maintain normal growth and development while avoiding overtreatment. An initial starting dose of 10-15 microg/kg per day is recommended; this dose will decrease on a weight basis over time. Serum T4 (or free T4) and TSH should be monitored every 1-2 months in the first year of life and every 2-3 months in the second and third years.
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              Proportion of various types of thyroid disorders among newborns with congenital hypothyroidism and normally located gland: a regional cohort study.

              To determine the proportion of the various types of thyroid disorders among newborns detected by the neonatal TSH screening programme, with a normally located thyroid gland. Patients and methods Of the 882 575 infants screened in our centre between 1981 and 2002, 85 infants with a normally located gland had persistent elevation of serum TSH values (an incidence of 1/10 383). Six of these 85 patients were lost to follow-up and were therefore excluded from the study. During follow-up, patients were classified as having permanent or transient hypothyroidism. Among the 79 patients included in the study, transient (n = 30, 38% of cases) and permanent (n = 49, 62% of cases) congenital hypothyroidism (CH) was demonstrated during the follow-up at the age of 0.7 +/- 0.6 years and 2.6 +/- 1.8 years (P < 0.0001), respectively. The proportion of premature births was significantly higher in the group with transient CH (57%) than in the group with permanent CH (2%) (P < 0.0001). A history of iatrogenic iodine overload was identified during the neonatal period in 69% of transient cases. Among permanent CH cases (n = 49), patients were classified as having a goitre (n = 27, 55% of cases), a normal sized and shaped thyroid gland (n = 14, 29% of cases) or a hypoplastic gland (n = 8, 16% of cases). The latter patients demonstrated global thyroid hypoplasia (n = 3), a right hemithyroid (n = 2), hypoplasia of the left lobe (n = 2), or asymmetry in the location of the two lobes (n = 1). Patients with a normal sized and shaped thyroid gland showed a significantly less severe form of hypothyroidism than those with a goitre or a hypoplastic thyroid gland (P < 0.0002). Among permanent CH cases, those with a goitre (n = 27) had an iodine organification defect (n = 10), Pendred syndrome (n = 1), a defect of thyroglobulin synthesis (n = 8), or a defect of sodium iodine symporter (n = 1), and in seven patients no aetiology could be determined. Among permanent cases with a normal sized and shaped thyroid gland (n = 14), a specific aetiology was found in only one patient (pseudohypoparathyroidism) and two patients had Down's syndrome. Among those with a globally hypoplastic gland, a TSH receptor gene mutation was found in two patients. A precise description of the phenotype can enhance our understanding of various forms of neonatal hypothyroidism as well as their prevalence and management. It also helps to identify cases of congenital hypothyroidism of unknown aetiology, which will need to be investigated in collaboration with molecular biologists.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                July 2008
                21 May 2008
                : 70
                : 1
                : 1-13
                a Department of Nuclear Medicine, Hôpital Cochin and bDepartment of Paediatric Endocrinology,Hôpital Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Faculté de Médecine René Descartes Paris 5, Paris, France
                129672 Horm Res 2008;70:1–13
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 6, Tables: 4, References: 55, Pages: 13
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