Potential Transcriptional Biomarkers to Guide Glucocorticoid Replacement in Autoimmune Addison's Disease
Sævik, Åse Bjorvatn; Wolff, Anette Susanne Bøe; Björnsdottir, Sigridur; Simunkova, Katerina; Hynne, Martha Schei; Dolan, David William Peter; Bratland, Eirik; Knappskog, Per M; Methlie, Paal; Carlsen, Siri; Isaksson, Magnus; Bensing, Sophie; Kämpe, Olof; Husebye, Eystein S; Løvås, Kristian; Øksnes, Marianne
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of the Endocrine Society (JES). 2021, 5 (3), bvaa202. 10.1210/jendso/bvaa202
Background No reliable biomarkers exist to guide glucocorticoid (GC) replacement treatment in autoimmune Addison’s disease (AAD), leading to overtreatment with alarming and persistent side effects or undertreatment, which could be fatal. Objective To explore changes in gene expression following different GC replacement doses as a means of identifying candidate transcriptional biomarkers to guide GC replacement in AAD. Methods Step 1: Global microarray expression analysis on RNA from whole blood before and after intravenous infusion of 100 mg hydrocortisone (HC) in 10 patients with AAD. In 3 of the most highly upregulated genes, we performed real-time PCR (rt-PCR) to compare gene expression levels before and 3, 4, and 6 hours after the HC infusion. Step 2: Rt-PCR to compare expression levels of 93 GC-regulated genes in normal versus very low morning cortisol levels in 27 patients with AAD. Results Step 1: Two hours after infusion of 100 mg HC, there was a marked increase in FKBP5, MMP9, and DSIPI expression levels. MMP9 and DSIPI expression levels correlated with serum cortisol. Step 2: Expression levels of CEBPB, DDIT4, FKBP5, DSIPI, and VDR were increased and levels of ADARB1, ARIDB5, and POU2F1 decreased in normal versus very low morning cortisol. Normal serum cortisol levels positively correlated with DSIPI, DDIT4, and FKBP5 expression. Conclusions We introduce gene expression as a novel approach to guide GC replacement in AAD. We suggest that gene expression of DSIPI, DDIT4, and FKBP5 are particularly promising candidate biomarkers of GC replacement, followed by MMP9, CEBPB, VDR, ADARB1, ARID5B, and POU2F1.