It has been recommended that basal luteinising hormone (LH) levels be used as the initial test to identify cases of central precocious puberty (CPP) in children. However, in clinical practice, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) stimulation tests are frequently still used.
The capacity of sex to modify behavior in health and illness may stem from biological differences between males and females. One such difference--fundamental to the biological definition of sex--is inequality of X chromosome dosage. Studies of Turner Syndrome (TS) suggest that X-monosomy profoundly alters mammalian brain development. However, use of TS as a model for X chromosome haploinsufficiency is complicated by karyotypic mosaicism, background genetic heterogeneity and ovarian dysgenesis. Therefore, to better isolate X chromosome effects on brain development and identify how these overlap with normative sex differences, we used whole-brain structural imaging to study X-monosomic mice (free of mosaicism and ovarian dysgenesis) alongside their karyotypical normal male and female littermates. We demonstrate that murine X-monosomy (XO) causes (i) accentuation of XX vs XY differences in a set of sexually dimorphic structures including classical foci of sex-hormone action, such as the bed nucleus of the stria terminal and medial amygdala, (ii) parietal and striatal abnormalities that recapitulate those reported TS, and (iii) abnormal development of brain systems relevant for domains of altered cognition and emotion in both murine and human X-monosomy. Our findings suggest an unexpected role for X-linked genes in shaping sexually dimorphic brain development, and an evolutionarily conserved influence of X-linked genes on both cortical and subcortical development in mammals. Furthermore, our murine findings highlight the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and periaqueductal gray matter as novel neuroanatomical candidates for closer study in TS. Integration of these data with existing genomic knowledge generates a set of novel, testable hypotheses regarding candidate mechanisms for each observed pattern of anatomical variation across XO, XX and XY groups.
Recent human and rodent brain imaging studies have shown that the shape of the brain can be changed by experience. These mesoscopic alterations in neuroanatomy are hypothesized to be driven by changes at the level of neuronal processes. To examine whether the shape of the brain changes rapidly, we used MRI to examine changes in the volume of the hippocampus across the 4-6 day estrous cycle in the female mouse. It is well known that changing steroid levels across the cycle influence dendritic spine maturation and alter synapse density in the hippocampus; our results show that the estrous cycle is associated with approximately 2-3% changes in hippocampal volume as seen by high-resolution ex-vivo MRI. Changes in hippocampal volume are, moreover, associated with a switch between hippocampal and striatal based navigation strategies in solving the dual choice T-maze in the same mice. A second experiment, using in-vivo MRI, suggests that these changes in hippocampal volume can occur over a 24 hour period. In summary, we show that the brain is highly plastic at a mesoscopic level of resolution detectable by MRI, that volumetric increases and decreases in hippocampal volume follow previously established patterns of changes in neuropil, and that these changes in volume predict changes in cognition.
OBJECTIVE: To examine a large population of infants with mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia (MNH) and determine prevalence, clinical characteristics and treatment history. METHODS: Retrospective study of infants with MNH followed at The Hospital for Sick Children between 2000 and 2011. MNH was defined by an abnormal newborn screen followed by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) between 5 and 30 mU/l and normal free T4 (FT4) on confirmatory tests. RESULTS: Mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia represented 22·3% of patients (103/462; 60 boys, 43 girls) within our clinic. Incidence increased from two of 20 in 2000 to 31 of 74 cases in 2010. Seventy eight percent of patients started L-thyroxine (initial dose: 8·3 ± 2·5 mcg/kg). The treated group had higher confirmatory TSH levels (P = 0·001) and had undergone thyroid scintigraphy more often (P = 0·0001) compared with the nontreated group. Evidence of overtreatment was detected in 45% of thyroid function tests obtained during treatment. Among the treated infants who had reached 3 years of age, 45% (N = 14) underwent a trial-off medication. Compared with those not trialled-off therapy, these infants were less likely to have had dose escalations during treatment (P = 0·001). The trial-off treatment was successful in 50% of cases. In the subset of infants with confirmatory TSH >10 mU/l, trial-off therapy was successful in 40%. None of the assessed variables predicted success of trial-off therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia is an increasingly common diagnosis. It is more common in males and is often transient, but predictors of success of trial-off therapy were not identified. Further studies are needed to determine optimum L-thyroxine dosing and to determine whether treatment improves neurocognitive outcomes.
Genome-wide genotyping of a cohort using pools rather than individual samples has long been proposed as a cost-saving alternative for performing genome-wide association (GWA) studies. However, successful disease gene mapping using pooled genotyping has thus far been limited to detecting common variants with large effect sizes, which tend not to exist for many complex common diseases or traits. Therefore, for DNA pooling to be a viable strategy for conducting GWA studies, it is important to determine whether commonly used genome-wide SNP array platforms such as the Affymetrix 6.0 array can reliably detect common variants of small effect sizes using pooled DNA. Taking obesity and age at menarche as examples of human complex traits, we assessed the feasibility of genome-wide genotyping of pooled DNA as a single-stage design for phenotype association. By individually genotyping the top associations identified by pooling, we obtained a 14- to 16-fold enrichment of SNPs nominally associated with the phenotype, but we likely missed the top true associations. In addition, we assessed whether genotyping pooled DNA can serve as an inexpensive screen as the second stage of a multi-stage design with a large number of samples by comparing the most cost-effective 3-stage designs with 80% power to detect common variants with genotypic relative risk of 1.1, with and without pooling. Given the current state of the specific technology we employed and the associated genotyping costs, we showed through simulation that a design involving pooling would be 1.07 times more expensive than a design without pooling. Thus, while a significant amount of information exists within the data from pooled DNA, our analysis does not support genotyping pooled DNA as a means to efficiently identify common variants contributing small effects to phenotypes of interest. While our conclusions were based on the specific technology and study design we employed, the approach presented here will be useful for evaluating the utility of other or future genome-wide genotyping platforms in pooled DNA studies.
Our objective was to determine the impact of telemedicine (TM) interventions on the management of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) in youth. We performed a systematic review of randomized trials that evaluated TM interventions involving transmission of blood glucose data followed by unsolicited scheduled clinician feedback. We found no apparent effect of the TM interventions on hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), severe hypoglycemia, or diabetic ketoacidosis. The limited data available on patient satisfaction, quality of life, and cost also suggested no differences between groups. It is unlikely that TM interventions, as performed in the assessed studies, had a substantial effect on glycemic control or acute complications. However, it remains possible that there are other benefits of TM not adequately reported, that newer TM strategies may be more effective and that interventions may benefit subgroups of youth, such as those with the poor glycemic control, adolescents, or those living in remote areas.
Congenic strains continue to be a fundamental resource for dissecting the genetic basis of complex traits. Traditionally, genetic variants (QTLs) that account for phenotypic variation in a panel of congenic strains are sought first by comparing phenotypes for each strain to the host (reference) strain, and then by examining the results to identify a common chromosome segment that provides the best match between genotype and phenotype across the panel. However, this "common-segment" method has significant limitations, including the subjective nature of the genetic model and an inability to deal formally with strain phenotypes that do not fit the model. We propose an alternative that we call "sequential" analysis and that is based on a unique principle of QTL analysis where each strain, corresponding to a single genotype, is tested individually for QTL effects rather than testing the congenic panel collectively for common effects across heterogeneous backgrounds. A minimum spanning tree, based on principles of graph theory, is used to determine the optimal sequence of strain comparisons. For two traits in two panels of congenic strains in mice, we compared results for the sequential method with the common-segment method as well as with two standard methods of QTL analysis, namely, interval mapping and multiple linear regression. The general utility of the sequential method was demonstrated with analysis of five additional traits in congenic panels from mice and rats. Sequential analysis rigorously resolved phenotypic heterogeneity among strains in the congenic panels and found QTLs that other methods failed to detect.
As we move forward from the current generation of genome-wide association (GWA) studies, additional cohorts of different ancestries will be studied to increase power, fine map association signals, and generalize association results to additional populations. Knowledge of genetic ancestry as well as population substructure will become increasingly important for GWA studies in populations of unknown ancestry. Here we propose genotyping pooled DNA samples using genome-wide SNP arrays as a viable option to efficiently and inexpensively estimate admixture proportion and identify ancestry informative markers (AIMs) in populations of unknown origin. We constructed DNA pools from African American, Native Hawaiian, Latina, and Jamaican samples and genotyped them using the Affymetrix 6.0 array. Aided by individual genotype data from the African American cohort, we established quality control filters to remove poorly performing SNPs and estimated allele frequencies for the remaining SNPs in each panel. We then applied a regression-based method to estimate the proportion of admixture in each cohort using the allele frequencies estimated from pooling and populations from the International HapMap Consortium as reference panels, and identified AIMs unique to each population. In this study, we demonstrated that genotyping pooled DNA samples yields estimates of admixture proportion that are both consistent with our knowledge of population history and similar to those obtained by genotyping known AIMs. Furthermore, through validation by individual genotyping, we demonstrated that pooling is quite effective for identifying SNPs with large allele frequency differences (i.e., AIMs) and that these AIMs are able to differentiate two closely related populations (HapMap JPT and CHB).
Puberty is an important developmental stage during which reproductive capacity is attained. The timing of puberty varies greatly among healthy individuals in the general population and is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Although genetic variation is known to influence the normal spectrum of pubertal timing, the specific genes involved remain largely unknown. Genetic analyses have identified a number of genes responsible for rare disorders of pubertal timing such as hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and Kallmann syndrome. Recently, the first loci with common variation reproducibly associated with population variation in the timing of puberty were identified at 6q21 in or near LIN28B and at 9q31.2. However, these two loci explain only a small fraction of the genetic contribution to population variation in pubertal timing, suggesting the need to continue to consider other loci and other types of variants. Here we provide an update of the genes implicated in disorders of puberty, discuss genes and pathways that may be involved in the timing of normal puberty, and suggest additional avenues of investigation to identify genetic regulators of puberty in the general population.
Despite the advent of sensitive and specific serologic testing, routine screening for celiac disease (CD) in diabetic populations may not be universal practice, and many clinicians struggle to find the optimal approach to managing CD in pediatric Type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients. While some clinicians advocate screening for CD in all patients with T1D, others are unsure whether this is warranted. The diagnosis of patients who present with symptomatic CD, including malabsorption and obvious pathology upon biopsy, remains straightforward, with improvements noted on a gluten-free diet. Many patients identified by screening, however, tend to be asymptomatic. Evidence is inconclusive as to whether the benefits of screening and potentially treating asymptomatic individuals outweigh the harms of managing a population already burdened with a serious illness. This review focuses on current knowledge of CD in children and youth with T1D, highlighting important elements of the diseases pathophysiology, epidemiology, clinical presentation, and diagnostic challenges.
Recently, genome-wide association studies have implicated the human LIN28B locus in regulating height and the timing of menarche. LIN28B and its homolog LIN28A are functionally redundant RNA-binding proteins that block biogenesis of let-7 microRNAs. lin-28 and let-7 were discovered in Caenorhabditis elegans as heterochronic regulators of larval and vulval development but have recently been implicated in cancer, stem cell aging and pluripotency. The let-7 targets Myc, Kras, Igf2bp1 and Hmga2 are known regulators of mammalian body size and metabolism. To explore the function of the Lin28-Let-7 pathway in vivo, we engineered transgenic mice to express Lin28a and observed in them increased body size, crown-rump length and delayed onset of puberty. Investigation of metabolic and endocrine mechanisms of overgrowth in these transgenic mice revealed increased glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Here we report a mouse that models the human phenotypes associated with genetic variation in the Lin28-Let-7 pathway.
OBJECTIVE The American Diabetes Association advocates insulin regimens for youth with type 1 diabetes that involve adjusting insulin dose based on carbohydrate intake and blood glucose level. Implementing these regimens requires knowledge about carbohydrate content of foods and subsequent calculations of insulin dose, skills that may be difficult to gauge in practice. Therefore, we sought to develop and validate a questionnaire, the PedCarbQuiz (PCQ), to assess carbohydrate and insulin-dosing knowledge in youth with type 1 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS After development by an expert panel, the PCQ was administered to 75 youth with type 1 diabetes or their parents. Reliability was assessed by Cronbach alpha and split-half testing. To assess validity, scores were correlated with A1C, expert assessments, parent educational level, and complexity of insulin regimen. RESULTS PCQ mean score was 87 +/- 9.7% (range 42-98%). Cronbach alpha was 0.88, and correlation of split halves was 0.59 (P < 0.0001). Higher PCQ scores correlated significantly with lower A1C (r = -0.29, P = 0.01) and expert assessments (r = 0.56, P < 0.001). Scores were significantly higher in parents with college degrees than in those without (P = 0.01) and in participants with more complex insulin regimens (P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS The PCQ is a novel, easily administered instrument to assess knowledge about carbohydrates and insulin dosing calculations. Initial analyses support the reliability and validity of the PCQ.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs revolutionized the treatment of central precocious puberty. However, questions remain regarding their optimal use in central precocious puberty and other conditions. The Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society and the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology convened a consensus conference to review the clinical use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs in children and adolescents.
Puberty is an important developmental stage during which reproductive capacity is attained. Genetic and environmental factors both influence the timing of puberty, which varies greatly among individuals. However, although genetic variation is known to influence the normal spectrum of pubertal timing, the specific genes involved remain unknown.
Maternal diabetes and high-fat feeding during pregnancy have been linked to later life outcomes in offspring. To investigate the effects of both maternal and paternal hyperglycemia on offspring phenotypes, we utilized an autosomal dominant mouse model of diabetes (hypoinsulinemic hyperglycemia in Akita mice). We determined metabolic and skeletal phenotypes in wildtype offspring of Akita mothers and fathers.
Genome-wide association studies recently identified 32 loci that associate with the age at menarche (AAM) in humans. Because the locus most robustly associated with AAM is in/near LIN28B, the goal of this study was to investigate how the Lin28 pathway might modulate pubertal timing by examining expression of Lin28b, and its homologue, Lin28a, across the pubertal transition in female mice. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR data indicate that, prior to the onset of puberty, expression of both Lin28b and Lin28a decreases in the ovary, while expression of only Lin28a decreases in the hypothalamus; the expression of Lin28a increases after the onset of puberty in the pituitary. Immunohistochemistry in ovarian tissue verified that Lin28a protein levels decreased in parallel with gene expression. Although these data do not demonstrate cause and effect, they do suggest that decreased expression of Lin28a/Lin28b may facilitate the transition into puberty, consistent with previous data showing that overexpression of Lin28a in transgenic mice leads to delayed puberty. In addition, although Lin28b and/or Lin28a expression significantly decreased prior to puberty, neither Let-7a nor Let-7g miRNA levels changed significantly, raising the possibility that some effects of Lin28b and Lin28a within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis may be Let-7 miRNA independent. Subsequent studies, such as tissue and age specific modulation of Lin28b and Lin28a expression, could determine whether the expression patterns observed are responsible for modulating the onset of puberty and delineate further the role of this pathway in the HPG axis.
Determining the etiology of delayed puberty during initial evaluation can be challenging. Specifically, clinicians often cannot distinguish constitutional delay of growth and puberty (CDGP) from isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH), with definitive diagnosis of IHH awaiting lack of spontaneous puberty by age 18 yr. However, the ability to make a timely, correct diagnosis has important clinical implications.
The use of mHealth apps has shown improved health outcomes in adult populations with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, this has not been shown in the adolescent type 1 population, despite their predisposition to the use of technology. We hypothesized that a more tailored approach and a strong adherence mechanism is needed for this group.
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