Endocrine Medicine

New instrument for advanced hormone diagnostics

The multicenter research-project Ultradian has published their first findings

Bilde av U-RYTM apparat

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8 years ago, group leader Eystein Husebye received funding for a large, multi-year EU project (Ultradian) to produce a method to be able to measure variations in the body of 7 different adrenal hormones throughout a whole day using a small device (U-RYTHM) that has been attached to the stomach. The concentration of the adrenal hormones in the body varies widely throughout the day, therefore it is difficult to diagnose someone based on a single sample. To look at the diurnal variation, you had to admit the patient and collect samples manually, while the patients can now live as usual and U-RYTHM collects small amounts of interstitial fluid every 20 minutes.

The project has been an international research collaboration between groups in Bergen, Stockholm, Bristol, Birmingham and Athens. In Bergen, at Paal Methlie, we have developed ultra-sensitive measuring methods on LC/MSMS that are able to identify tiny amounts of one molecule in a large sea of similar molecules. In total, over 40,000 analyzes have been carried out in the project on over 300,000 hormones.

The first study from the project was just published in Science Translational Medicine. In this article, the principle of the method has been explained and 214 healthy volunteers have been used to establish a normal range for diurnal variations in hormone concentrations. In future articles, we will show how the circadian rhythms are for different diseases, and how this can be used for diagnosis and to individualize treatment.

In a comment from the journal, it is stated that this method could represent a step forward in our understanding of hormone rhythms in healthy and sick people.