Pregnancy, Primary Aldosteronism, and Adrenal CTNNB1 Mutations.
ABSTRACT: Recent discoveries of somatic mutations permit the recognition of subtypes of aldosterone-producing adenomas with distinct clinical presentations and pathological features. Here we describe three women with hyperaldosteronism, two who presented in pregnancy and one who presented after menopause. Their aldosterone-producing adenomas harbored activating mutations of CTNNB1, encoding ?-catenin in the Wnt cell-differentiation pathway, and expressed LHCGR and GNRHR, encoding gonadal receptors, at levels that were more than 100 times as high as the levels in other aldosterone-producing adenomas. The mutations stimulate Wnt activation and cause adrenocortical cells to de-differentiate toward their common adrenal-gonadal precursor cell type. (Funded by grants from the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre and others.).
Project description:Constitutive activation of the Wnt pathway/?-catenin signaling may be important in aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA). However, significant gaps remain in our understanding of the prevalence and clinical outcomes after adrenalectomy in APA patients harboring CTNNB1 mutations. The molecular expression of CYP11B2 and gonadal receptors in adenomas were also explored. Adenomas from 219 APA patients (95 men; 44.2%; aged 50.5?±?11.9 years) showed a high rate of somatic mutations (n?=?128, 58.4%). The majority of them harbored KCNJ5 mutations (n?=?116, 52.9%); 8 patients (3.7%, 6 women) had CTNNB1 mutations. Patients with APAs harboring CTNNB1 mutations were older and had shorter duration of hypertension. After adrenalectomy, CTNNB1 mutation carriers had a higher possibility (87.5%) of residual hypertension than other APA patients. APAs harboring CTNNB1 mutations have heterogeneous staining of ?-catenin and variable expression of gonadal receptors and both CYP11B1 and CYP11B2. This suggests that CTNNB1 mutations may be more related to tumorigenesis rather than excessive aldosterone production.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism is the most common form of endocrine hypertension with a prevalence of 6% in the general population with hypertension. The genetic basis of the four familial forms of primary aldosteronism (familial hyperaldosteronism FH types I-IV) and the majority of sporadic unilateral aldosterone-producing adenomas has now been resolved. Familial forms of hyperaldosteronism are, however, rare. The sporadic forms of the disease prevail and these are usually caused by either a unilateral aldosterone-producing adenoma or bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. Aldosterone-producing adenomas frequently carry a causative somatic mutation in either of a number of genes with the KCNJ5 gene, encoding an inwardly rectifying potassium channel, a recurrent target harboring mutations at a prevalence of more than 40% worldwide. Other than genetic variations, gene expression profiling of aldosterone-producing adenomas has shed light on the genes and intracellular signalling pathways that may play a role in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of these tumors.
Project description:Several somatic mutations specific to aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) have been described. A small proportion of adrenocortical carcinomas (ACCs) are associated with hyperaldosteronism, either primary aldosteronism or hyperreninemic hyperaldosteronism. However, it is unknown whether they harbor mutations of the same spectrum as APAs. The objective of this study is to describe the clinical phenotype and molecular genotype of ACCs with hyperaldosteronism, particularly the analysis for common APA-associated genetic changes. Patients were identified by retrospective chart review at a specialized referral center and by positive staining for CYP11B2 of tissue microarrays. Twenty-five patients with ACC and hyperaldosteronism were initially identified by retrospective chart review, and tissue for further analysis was available on 13 tumors. Seven patients were identified by positive staining for CYP11B2 in a tissue microarray, of which two were already identified in the initial chart review. Therefore, a total number of 18 patients with a diagnosis of ACC and features of either primary aldosteronism or hyperreninemic hyperaldosteronism were therefore included in the final study. Mutational status for a select list of oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes and genes known to carry mutations in APAs were analyzed by next-generation sequencing. Review of clinical data suggested autonomous aldosterone production in the majority of cases, while for some cases, hyperreninemic hyperaldosteronism was the more likely mechanism. The mutational landscape of ACCs associated with hyperaldosteronism was not different from ACCs with a different hormonal phenotype. None of the ACCs harbored mutations of known APA-associated genes, suggesting an alternative mechanism conferring aldosterone production.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism (PA) is a common form of endocrine hypertension that is characterized by the excessive production of aldosterone relative to suppressed plasma renin levels. PA is usually caused by either a unilateral aldosterone-producing adenoma or bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. Somatic mutations have been identified in several genes that encode ion pumps and channels that may explain the aldosterone excess in over half of aldosterone-producing adenomas, whereas the pathophysiology of bilateral adrenal hyperplasia is largely unknown. A number of mouse models of hyperaldosteronism have been described that recreate some features of the human disorder, although none replicate the genetic basis of human PA. Animal models that reproduce the genotype-phenotype associations of human PA are required to establish the functional mechanisms that underlie the endocrine autonomy and deregulated cell growth of the affected adrenal and for preclinical studies of novel therapeutics. Herein, we discuss the differences in adrenal physiology across species and describe the genetically modified mouse models of PA that have been developed to date.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common cause of secondary hypertension with a prevalence of 5-10% in unreferred hypertensive patients. Aldosterone producing adenomas (APAs) constitute a large proportion of PA cases and represent a surgically correctable form of the disease. The WNT signaling pathway is activated in APAs. In other tumors, a frequent cause of aberrant WNT signaling is mutation in the CTNNB1 gene coding for ?-catenin. Our objective was to screen for CTNNB1 mutations in a well-characterized cohort of 198 APAs. Somatic CTNNB1 mutations were detected in 5.1% of the tumors, occurring mutually exclusive from mutations in KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D. All of the observed mutations altered serine/threonine residues in the GSK3? binding domain in exon 3. The mutations were associated with stabilized ?-catenin and increased AXIN2 expression, suggesting activation of WNT signaling. By CYP11B2 mRNA expression, CYP11B2 protein expression, and direct measurement of aldosterone in tumor tissue, we confirmed the ability for aldosterone production. This report provides compelling evidence that aberrant WNT signaling caused by mutations in CTNNB1 occur in APAs. This also suggests that other mechanisms that constitutively activate the WNT pathway may be important in APA formation.
Project description:Aldosterone-producing adenomas with somatic mutations in the KCNJ5 G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channel are a cause of primary aldosteronism. These mutations drive aldosterone excess, but their role in cell growth is undefined. Our objective was to determine the role of KCNJ5 mutations in adrenal cell proliferation and apoptosis. The Ki67 proliferative index was positively correlated with adenoma diameter in aldosterone-producing adenomas with a KCNJ5 mutation (r=0.435, P=0.007), a negative correlation was noted in adenomas with no mutation detected (r=-0.548, P=0.023). Human adrenocortical cell lines were established with stable expression of cumate-inducible wild-type or mutated KCNJ5. Increased cell proliferation was induced by low-level induction of KCNJ5-T158A expression compared with control cells (P=0.009), but increased induction ablated this difference. KCNJ5-G151R displayed no apparent proliferative effect, but KCNJ5-G151E and L168R mutations each resulted in decreased cell proliferation (difference P<0.0001 from control cells, both comparisons). Under conditions tested, T158A had no effect on apoptosis, but apoptosis increased with expression of G151R (P<0.0001), G151E (P=0.008), and L168R (P<0.0001). We generated a specific KCNJ5 monoclonal antibody which was used in immunohistochemistry to demonstrate strong KCNJ5 expression in adenomas without a KCNJ5 mutation and in the zona glomerulosa adjacent to adenomas irrespective of genotype as well as in aldosterone-producing cell clusters. Double immunofluorescence staining for KCNJ5 and CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) showed markedly decreased KCNJ5 immunostaining in CYP11B2-positive cells compared with CYP11B2-negative cells in aldosterone-producing adenomas with a KCNJ5 mutation. Together, these findings support the concept that cell growth effects of KCNJ5 mutations are determined by the expression level of the mutated channel.
Project description:Context:Whether primary aldosteronism (PA) is the consequence of a monoclonal or multiclonal process is unclear. Case Description:A 48-year-old man with severe bilateral PA refractory to medical therapy underwent unilateral adrenalectomy of the dominant adrenal. Although computed tomography showed three left-sided cortical nodules, postsurgical histopathology and genetic analysis revealed five different adrenocortical adenomas. Two zona fasciculata (ZF)-like aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) each harbored distinct known somatic KCNJ5 mutations (L168R and T158A). A zona glomerulosa-like APA harbored a known CACNA1D G403R somatic mutation, whereas a zona reticularis-like adenoma, which was grossly black in pigmentation with histologic characteristics more associated with cortisol-producing adenomas, expressed CYP11B2, CYP17, and DHEA-ST by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and harbored no known somatic mutations. The fifth adenoma was ZF-type, negative for CYP11B2 and CYP17 IHC, and harbored no known somatic mutations. Conclusions:This case highlights complex intertumor heterogeneity in histology, steroidogenesis, and somatic mutations in multiple adrenocortical adenomas arising in a single patient with PA. These findings suggest that the syndrome of PA can involve heterogeneous and multiclonal functional adrenal adenomas.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism affects ?5% to 10% of hypertensive patients and has unilateral and bilateral forms. Most unilateral primary aldosteronism is caused by computed tomography-detectable aldosterone-producing adenomas, which express CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) and frequently harbor somatic mutations in aldosterone-regulating genes. The cause of the most common bilateral form of primary aldosteronism, idiopathic hyperaldosteronism (IHA), is believed to be diffuse hyperplasia of aldosterone-producing cells within the adrenal cortex. Herein, a multi-institution cohort of 15 IHA adrenals was examined with CYP11B2 immunohistochemistry and next-generation sequencing. CYP11B2 immunoreactivity in adrenal glomerulosa harboring non-nodular hyperplasia was only observed in 4/15 IHA adrenals suggesting that hyperplasia of CYP11B2-expressing cells may not be the major cause of IHA. However, the adrenal cortex of all IHA adrenals harbored at least 1 CYP11B2-positive aldosterone-producing cell cluster (APCC) or micro-aldosterone-producing adenomas. The number of APCCs per case (and individual APCC area) in IHA adrenals was significantly larger than in normotensive controls. Next-generation sequencing of DNA from 99 IHA APCCs demonstrated somatic mutations in genes encoding the L-type calcium voltage-gated channel subunit ? 1-D ( CACNA1D, n=57; 58%) and potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily J-5 ( KCNJ5, n=1; 1%). These data suggest that IHA may result from not only hyperplasia but also the accumulation or enlargement of computed tomography-undetectable APCC harboring somatic aldosterone-driver gene mutations. The high prevalence of mutations in the CACNA1D L-type calcium channel provides a potential actionable therapeutic target that could complement mineralocorticoid blockade and inhibit aldosterone overproduction in some IHA patients.
Project description:Common somatic mutations in CACNAID and ATP1A1 may define a subgroup of smaller, zona glomerulosa (ZG)-like aldosterone-producing adenomas. We have therefore sought signature ZG genes, which may provide insight into the frequency and pathogenesis of ZG-like aldosterone-producing adenomas. Twenty-one pairs of zona fasciculata and ZG and 14 paired aldosterone-producing adenomas from 14 patients with Conn's syndrome and 7 patients with pheochromocytoma were assayed by the Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array. Validation by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed on genes >10-fold upregulated in ZG (compared with zona fasciculata) and >10-fold upregulated in aldosterone-producing adenomas (compared with ZG). DACH1, a gene associated with tumor progression, was further analyzed. The role of DACH1 on steroidogenesis, transforming growth factor-?, and Wnt signaling activity was assessed in the human adrenocortical cell line, H295R. Immunohistochemistry confirmed selective expression of DACH1 in human ZG. Silencing of DACH1 in H295R cells increased CYP11B2 mRNA levels and aldosterone production, whereas overexpression of DACH1 decreased aldosterone production. Overexpression of DACH1 in H295R cells activated the transforming growth factor-? and canonical Wnt signaling pathways but inhibited the noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway. Stimulation of primary human adrenal cells with angiotensin II decreased DACH1 mRNA expression. Interestingly, there was little overlap between our top ZG genes and those in rodent ZG. In conclusion, (1) the transcriptome profile of human ZG differs from rodent ZG, (2) DACH1 inhibits aldosterone secretion in human adrenals, and (3) transforming growth factor-? signaling pathway is activated in DACH1 overexpressed cells and may mediate inhibition of aldosterone secretion in human adrenals.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Co-existing Cushing's syndrome and primary aldosteronism caused by bilateral adrenocortical adenomas, secreting cortisol and aldosterone, respectively, have rarely been reported. Precise diagnosis and management of this disorder constitute a challenge to clinicians due to its atypical clinical manifestations and laboratory findings. CASE PRESENTATION:We here report a Chinese male patient with co-existing Cushing's syndrome and primary aldosteronism caused by bilateral adrenocortical adenomas, who complained of intermittent muscle weakness for over 3 years. Computed tomography scans revealed bilateral adrenal masses. Undetectable ACTH and unsuppressed cortisol levels by dexamethasone suggested ACTH-independent Cushing's syndrome. Elevated aldosterone to renin ratio and unsuppressed plasma aldosterone concentration after saline infusion test suggested primary aldosteronism. Adrenal venous sampling adjusted by plasma epinephrine revealed hypersecretion of cortisol from the left adrenal mass and of aldosterone from the right one. A sequential bilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy was performed. The cortisol level was normalized after partial left adrenalectomy and the aldosterone level was normalized after subsequent partial right adrenalectomy. Histopathological evaluation of the resected surgical specimens, including immunohistochemical staining for steroidogenic enzymes, revealed a left cortisol-producing adenoma and a right aldosterone-producing adenoma. The patient's symptoms and laboratory findings resolved after sequential adrenalectomy without any pharmacological treatment. CONCLUSIONS:Adrenal venous sampling is essential in diagnosing bilateral functional adrenocortical adenomas prior to surgery. Proper interpretation of the laboratory findings is particularly important in these patients. Immunohistochemistry may be a valuable tool to identify aldosterone/cortisol-producing lesions and to validate the clinical diagnosis.