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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 06, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 4 days, 12 hours, 1 minute ago

BREAKING COVID-19 News! American Doctors Warn That SARS-CoV-2 Infections Can Cause Endocrine Tumors And Cushing’s Disease!

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BREAKING COVID-19 News! American Doctors Warn That SARS-CoV-2 Infections Can Cause Endocrine Tumors And Cushing’s Disease!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 06, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 4 days, 12 hours, 1 minute ago
COVID-19 News: In a groundbreaking revelation, medical experts from the NCH Healthcare System in Florida and Stony Brook University Hospital in New York are sounding an alarm about a potential correlation between SARS-CoV-2 infections and the development of endocrine tumors, specifically leading to Cushing's disease. The case study covered in this COVID-19 News report delves deeper into the complexities, providing a comprehensive analysis of a 56-year-old female patient whose symptoms, emerging three months after contracting COVID-19, led to the diagnosis of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1).

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1)
It should be noted that a previous case study also showed that SARS-CoV-2 could lead to pheochromocytoma, a type of neuroendocrine tumor.
Another study had showed that COVID-19 infections and even COVID-19 vaccines could lead to the development of pituitary adenomas!
Yet another study found that SARS-CoV-2 can lead to thyroid incidentalomas!
Case Presentation
The patient presented with a myriad of symptoms, including increased appetite, generalized weakness, facial and neck swelling, along with a non-pruritic rash spanning her chest, abdomen, and back. Crucially, these symptoms manifested in conjunction with her SARS-CoV-2 infection, raising intriguing questions about the virus's potential impact on the endocrine system. The physical examination revealed cushingoid features, prompting a detailed investigation.
Laboratory results confirmed the presence of Cushing's disease. Further exploration through imaging studies uncovered an 11 mm right-sided pituitary adenoma, mild thickening of the adrenals bilaterally, and a notable 9.4 × 7.9 cm mass in the caudate lobe of the liver. A biopsy of the liver mass confirmed a well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumor. Endoscopy added more layers to the diagnostic puzzle, revealing chronic gastritis, multiple oozing duodenal ulcers, and an elevated gastrin level. Cumulatively, these findings led to the diagnosis of MEN-1.
MEN-1 is a rare genetic disorder that predisposes individuals to the development of tumors affecting multiple endocrine glands, notably the pituitary, parathyroid, and gastroenteropancreatic tract. The clinical presentation is diverse, dictated by tumor location and the resulting hormone overproduction. While COVID-19 is traditionally associated with respiratory symptoms, emerging studies suggest a broader impact on various organ systems, including the endocrine system.
Understanding MEN-1 in Depth
MEN-1 follows an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern, yet sporadic occurrences have been documented. Intriguingly, around 10% of individuals diagnosed with MEN-1 acquire the disorder as a result of a de novo MEN1 pathogenic variant during early embryogenesis. Diagnosis is based on clinical, familial, or genetic criteria. In this case, the patient met the criteria due to endocrine tumors affecting both the pituitary and the gastroenteropancreatic tract.
COVID-19 and Its Implications on Endocrine Health
SARS-CoV-2 gains cellular access through the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and the transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) protein. These receptors are widely expressed in various endocrine glands, including the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, gonads, and pancreatic islets. The potential impact of COVID-19 on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) may occur through direct access via ACE2 receptors, causing cell edema and necrosis, or indirectly through inflammation and cytokine release.
While prior reports have linked COVID-19 to pituitary diseases, such as apoplexy and hypophysitis, this case introduces a novel scenario: the exacerbation of an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary adenoma leading to Cushing's disease. The inflammatory response triggered by COVID-19 seems to have played a role in the progression of this pre-existing condition, shedding light on a previously unexplored facet of the virus's impact.
Exploring the Role of IL-6 and Cytokines
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) emerges as a key player in the function and growth of the anterior pituitary gland. Its dual role in cell growth and senescence is critical for understanding COVID-19's potential effects on the HPA. Notably, IL-6 has been found to play a significant role in pituitary tumor development, where paracrine IL-6 may initiate pituitary cell growth, while autocrine IL-6 within the same tumor induces senescence and restrains aggressive growth and malignant transformation.
Further exploration into IL-6 and other cytokines is imperative to unravel the intricate mechanisms through which COVID-19 may affect the HPA. Understanding these pathways can provide valuable insights into the virus's potential long-term consequences on endocrine health, informing future treatment strategies for individuals recovering from COVID-19.
As the global health community grapples with the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, this case underscores the virus's intricate impact beyond the respiratory system. Vigilance in monitoring endocrine health in individuals recovering from COVID-19 is paramount, given the potential for unforeseen complications. The unique manifestation of MEN-1 in a patient post-COVID-19 infection raises compelling questions about the virus's influence on pre-existing conditions and the need for further research into its direct impact on the endocrine system.
In conclusion, this case serves as a clarion call for heightened awareness and research initiatives to unravel the multifaceted implications of COVID-19 on various organ systems, particularly the endocrine system. The direct influence of COVID-19 on endocrine health remains a critical area that demands extensive exploration for a comprehensive understanding of the virus's long-term effects.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Endocrine and Metabolic Science.
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.
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