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      Clinical Effects of Treatment for Hypogonadism in Male Adolescents with Prader-Labhart-Willi Syndrome

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          Background: In boys with Prader-Labhart-Willi syndrome (PWS), hypogonadism causes pubertal arrest and reduces pubertal muscle growth. Formerly, it was assumed that therapy with gonadal hormones accentuates behaviour abnormalities in PWS. Our aim was to assess the clinical effects of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) therapy on pubertal development, muscle mass and behaviour in adolescents with PWS. Methods: 6 peripubertal boys with PWS undergoing long-term treatment with growth hormone were examined 6-monthly for at least 2 years before and after pubertal arrest (13.5 ± 0.3 years, mean ± SEM) and the beginning of hCG therapy (500–1,500 IU twice weekly, intramuscularly). Height, weight, pubertal stage, bone age, body composition (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), testosterone levels and behaviour abnormalities (obtained from parents) were assessed. Results: Testicular volume and lean mass were reduced in pubertal boys with PWS. During hCG therapy, testosterone levels and lean mass significantly increased (at the beginning and after 2 years of hCG therapy: 2.3 ± 0.9 and 10.7 ± 1.3 nmol/l, –3.1 ± 0.3 and –1.4 ± 0.6 SD, respectively), and fat mass stabilized at 38%. The characteristically observed PWS-associated problems, mood instability, aggressiveness and difficulties in social interaction, did not deteriorate during therapy. Conclusion: In the present study, timely application of hCG to treat hypogonadism in boys with PWS promoted virilization and normalized muscle mass without detrimental effects on behaviour. Larger studies comparing hCG therapy with testosterone replacement would be useful.

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          The changing purpose of Prader-Willi syndrome clinical diagnostic criteria and proposed revised criteria.

          Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a complex, multisystem disorder. Its major clinical features include neonatal hypotonia, developmental delay, short stature, behavioral abnormalities, childhood-onset obesity, hypothalamic hypogonadism, and characteristic appearance. The genetic basis of PWS is also complex. It is caused by absence of expression of the paternally active genes in the PWS critical region on 15q11-q13. In approximately 70% of cases this is the result of deletion of this region from the paternal chromosome 15. In approximately 28%, it is attributable to maternal uniparental disomy (UPD; inheritance of 2 copies of a chromosome from the mother and no copies from the father, as opposed to the normal 1 copy from each parent) of chromosome 15, and in 97% of the patients. Feeding problems in infancy, excessive weight gain after 1 year, hypogonadism, and hyperphagia were all present in 93% or more of patients. Sensitivities of the minor criteria ranged form 37% (sleep disturbance and apneas) to 93% (speech and articulation defects). Interestingly, the sensitivities of 8 of the minor criteria were higher than the sensitivity of characteristic facial features, which is a major criterion. Fifteen out of 90 patients with molecular diagnosis did not meet the clinical diagnostic criteria retrospectively. When definitive diagnostic testing is not available, as was the case for PWS when the 1993 criteria were developed, diagnostic criteria are important to avoid overdiagnosis and to ensure that diagnostic test development is performed on appropriate samples. When diagnostic testing is available, as is now the case for PWS, diagnostic criteria should serve to raise diagnostic suspicion, ensure that all appropriate people are tested, and avoid the expense of testing unnecessarily. Our results indicate that the sensitivities of most of the published criteria are acceptable. However, 16.7% of patients with molecular diagnosis did not meet the 1993 clinical diagnostic criteria retrospectively, suggesting that the published criteria may be too exclusive. A less strict scoring system may ensure that all appropriate people are tested. Accordingly, we suggest revised clinical criteria to help identify the appropriate patients for DNA testing for PWS. The suggested age groupings are based on characteristic phases of the natural history of PWS. Some of the features (eg, neonatal hypotonia, feeding problems in infancy) serve to diagnose the syndrome in the first few years of life, whereas others (eg, excessive eating) are useful during early childhood. Similarly, hypogonadism is most useful during and after adolescence. Some of the features like neonatal hypotonia and infantile feeding problems are less likely to be missed, whereas others such as characteristic facial features and hypogonadism (especially in prepubertal females) may require more careful and/or expert examination. The issue of who should have diagnostic testing is distinct from the determination of features among confirmed patients. Based on the sensitivities of the published criteria and our experience, we suggest testing all newborns/infants with otherwise unexplained hypotonia with poor suck. For children between 2 and 6 years of age, we consider hypotonia with history of poor suck associated with global developmental delay sufficient criteria to prompt testing. Between 6 and 12 years of age, we suggest testing those with hypotonia (or history of hypotonia with poor suck), global developmental delay, and excessive eating with central obesity (if uncontrolled). At the ages of 13 years and above, we recommend testing patients with cognitive impairment, excessive eating with central obesity (if uncontrolled), and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and/or typical behavior problems (including temper tantrums and obsessive-compulsive features). Thus, we propose a lower threshold to prompt diagnostic DNA testing, leading to a higher likelihood of diagnosis of this disorder in which anticipatory guidance and intervention can significantly influence outcome.
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            Effects of Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids in Athletes

            Androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) are synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone. They can exert strong effects on the human body that may be beneficial for athletic performance. A review of the literature revealed that most laboratory studies did not investigate the actual doses of AAS currently abused in the field. Therefore, those studies may not reflect the actual (adverse) effects of steroids. The available scientific literature describes that short-term administration of these drugs by athletes can increase strength and bodyweight. Strength gains of about 5-20% of the initial strength and increments of 2-5 kg bodyweight, that may be attributed to an increase of the lean body mass, have been observed. A reduction of fat mass does not seem to occur. Although AAS administration may affect erythropoiesis and blood haemoglobin concentrations, no effect on endurance performance was observed. Little data about the effects of AAS on metabolic responses during exercise training and recovery are available and, therefore, do not allow firm conclusions. The main untoward effects of short- and long-term AAS abuse that male athletes most often self-report are an increase in sexual drive, the occurrence of acne vulgaris, increased body hair and increment of aggressive behaviour. AAS administration will disturb the regular endogenous production of testosterone and gonadotrophins that may persist for months after drug withdrawal. Cardiovascular risk factors may undergo deleterious alterations, including elevation of blood pressure and depression of serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-, HDL2- and HDL3-cholesterol levels. In echocardiographic studies in male athletes, AAS did not seem to affect cardiac structure and function, although in animal studies these drugs have been observed to exert hazardous effects on heart structure and function. In studies of athletes, AAS were not found to damage the liver. Psyche and behaviour seem to be strongly affected by AAS. Generally, AAS seem to induce increments of aggression and hostility. Mood disturbances (e.g. depression, [hypo-]mania, psychotic features) are likely to be dose and drug dependent. AAS dependence or withdrawal effects (such as depression) seem to occur only in a small number of AAS users. Dissatisfaction with the body and low self-esteem may lead to the so-called 'reverse anorexia syndrome' that predisposes to the start of AAS use. Many other adverse effects have been associated with AAS misuse, including disturbance of endocrine and immune function, alterations of sebaceous system and skin, changes of haemostatic system and urogenital tract. One has to keep in mind that the scientific data may underestimate the actual untoward effects because of the relatively low doses administered in those studies, since they do not approximate doses used by illicit steroid users. The mechanism of action of AAS may differ between compounds because of variations in the steroid molecule and affinity to androgen receptors. Several pathways of action have been recognised. The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase seems to play an important role by converting AAS into dihydrotestosterone (androstanolone) that acts in the cell nucleus of target organs, such as male accessory glands, skin and prostate. Other mechanisms comprises mediation by the enzyme aromatase that converts AAS in female sex hormones (estradiol and estrone), antagonistic action to estrogens and a competitive antagonism to the glucocorticoid receptors. Furthermore, AAS stimulate erythropoietin synthesis and red cell production as well as bone formation but counteract bone breakdown. The effects on the cardiovascular system are proposed to be mediated by the occurrence of AAS-induced atherosclerosis (due to unfavourable influence on serum lipids and lipoproteins), thrombosis, vasospasm or direct injury to vessel walls, or may be ascribed to a combination of the different mechanisms. AAS-induced increment of muscle tissue can be attributed to hypertrophy and the formation of new muscle fibres, in which key roles are played by satellite cell number and ultrastructure, androgen receptors and myonuclei.
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              Effects of Supraphysiologic Doses of Testosterone on Mood and Aggression in Normal Men


                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                September 2007
                19 March 2007
                : 68
                : 4
                : 178-184
                Institute Growth Puberty Adolescence, Zürich, Switzerland
                100925 Horm Res 2007;68:178–184
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 49, Pages: 7
                Original Paper


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