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Open access

Shan Wu, Jianjun Zhou, Jing Guo, Zhan Hua, Jianchen Li and Zai Wang

Angiogenesis has a pivotal role in the growth and metastasis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Apatinib inhibits angiogenesis as a highly selective KDR inhibitor and has been used to treat advanced gastric cancer and malignancies in clinical settings. However, the efficacy of apatinib in PNETs remains unclear. The aim of this study was to compare the antitumor efficacy of apatinib with that of the standard PNET drug sunitinib in our subcutaneous and liver metastasis models of insulinoma and non-functional PNET. Our results revealed that apatinib had a generally comparable or even superior antitumor effect to that of sunitinib on primary PNET, and it inhibited angiogenesis without directly causing tumor cell cytotoxicity. Apatinib inhibited the tumor in a dose-dependent manner, and the high dose was well tolerated in mice. We also found that the apatinib efficacy in liver metastasis models was cell-type (disease) selective. Although apatinib efficiently inhibited INR1G9-represented non-functional PNET liver metastasis, it led to the emergence of a hypoxic area in the INS-1-represented insulinoma and promoted liver metastasis. Our study demonstrated that apatinib has promise for clinical applications in certain malignant PNETs, and the application of anti-angiogenesis drugs to benign insulinomas may require careful consideration.

Open access

Shuhui Ma, Zixu Wang, Jing Cao, Yulan Dong and Yaoxing Chen

The avian pineal gland, an independent circadian oscillator, receives external photic cues and translates them for the rhythmical synthesis of melatonin. Our previous study found that monochromatic green light could increase the secretion of melatonin and expression of CLOCK and BMAL1 in chick pinealocytes. This study further investigated the role of BMAL1 and CLOCK in monochromatic green light-induced melatonin secretion in chick pinealocytes using siRNAs interference and overexpression techniques. The results showed that si-BMAL1 destroyed the circadian rhythms of AANAT and melatonin, along with the disruption of the expression of all the seven clock genes, except CRY1. Furthermore, overexpression of BMAL1 also disturbed the circadian rhythms of AANAT and melatonin, in addition to causing arrhythmic expression of BMAL1 and CRY1/2, but had no effect on the circadian rhythms of CLOCK, BMAL2 and PER2/3. The knockdown or overexpression of CLOCK had no impact on the circadian rhythms of AANAT, melatonin, BMAL1 and PER2, but it significantly deregulated the circadian rhythms of CLOCK, BMAL2, CRY1/2 and PER3. These results suggested that BMAL1 rather than CLOCK plays a critical role in the regulation of monochromatic green light-induced melatonin rhythm synthesis in chicken pinealocytes. Moreover, both knockdown and overexpression of BMAL1 could change the expression levels of CRY2, it indicated CRY2 may be involved in the BMAL1 pathway by modulating the circadian rhythms of AANAT and melatonin.

Open access

Elena Valassi, Natalia García-Giralt, Jorge Malouf, Iris Crespo, Jaume Llauger, Adolfo Díez-Pérez and Susan M Webb

Background

Biochemical control of GH/IGF-I excess in acromegaly (ACRO) is associated with persistent impairment of trabecular microstructure leading to increased risk of vertebral fractures. Circulating miRNAs modulate the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and may be potential biomarkers of osteoporosis.

Aims

Identify differentially expressed miRNAs in the serum of patients with controlled ACRO vs controls and correlate miRNA levels with both biochemical and structural bone parameters.

Patients and methods

Twenty-seven patients with controlled ACRO (11 males, 16 females; mean age, 48 ± 5 years; BMI, 28 ± 4 kg/m2) and 27 age-, gender- and BMI-matched controls were recruited. Areal BMD at lumbar spine and femur, and trabecular bone score were assessed; volumetric BMD was measured by quantitative computed tomography QCT-Pro (Mindways). Twenty miRNAs, chosen by their putative role in bone, were quantified in serum using real-time qPCR.

Results

In ACRO patients, miR-103a-3p and miR-191-5p were found overexpressed, whereas miR-660-5p was underexpressed (P < 0.001). miR-103a-3p levels were negatively associated with both trabecular vBMD at trochanter and serum osteoprotegerin concentrations (P < 0.05) and positively with vitamin D concentrations (P < 0.01) and total cross-sectional area of the femoral neck (P < 0.05). miR-660-5p levels were correlated with both trabecular vBMD at trochanter and OPG concentrations (P < 0.05), but were negatively associated with vitamin D levels (P < 0.05). A negative correlation between miR-103-a-3p and miR-660-5p was found in both groups (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Circulating miR-103a-3p and miR-660-5p are differentially expressed in controlled ACRO patients and associated with bone structural parameters. miRNAs may be one of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of bone disease and could be used as biomarkers in ACRO patients.

Open access

Ladan Younesi, Zeinab Safarpour Lima, Azadeh Akbari Sene, Zahra Hosseini Jebelli and Ghazaleh Amjad

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders. The aim of this study was to find the correlation between color Doppler ultrasound and serum tests as auxiliary diagnostic criteria in areas where there is no possibility of some tests. A total of 108 patients were enrolled. They were divided into three groups including patients with PCOS, patients with PCOA ultrasound, patients with ovaries and normal hormone tests. Transvaginal sonography was performed from three groups and the results were evaluated in gray scale. The volume of the ovary, the number of follicles and the placement of follicles were recorded using using Doppler spectrum of uterine artery and ovarian stroma. Their arterial resistance index was also calculated. In the next step, serum samples were evaluated to determine the level of LH, FSH, free testosterone, DHEAS and 17-OHP hormones in the early follicular phase. Gray scale ultrasonographic findings (volume and number of ovarian follicles) as well as LH values were higher in patients with PCOS than those in the other two groups. These results proved the reliability of using these factors in the prediction of PCOS. In this study, Doppler indexes did not correlate with the size of the ovaries, the number of ovarian follicles and the measured hormone levels. The findings of transvaginal ultrasound and investigating the relationship with clinical and laboratory outcomes, a more suitable pattern could be chosen for more accurate patient selection and, leading to timely treatment and reducing the complications of the disease.

Open access

Luca Persani, Biagio Cangiano and Marco Bonomi

Central hypothyrodism (CeH) is a hypothyroid state caused by an insufficient stimulation by thyrotropin (TSH) of an otherwise normal thyroid gland. Several advancements, including the recent publication of expert guidelines for CeH diagnosis and management, have been made in recent years thus increasing the clinical awareness on this condition. Here we reviewed the recent advancements and give expert opinions on critical issues. Indeed, CeH can be the consequence of various disorders affecting either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. Recent data enlarged the list of candidate genes for heritable CeH and a genetic origin may be the underlying cause for CeH discovered in pediatric or even adult patients without apparent pituitary lesions. This raises the doubt that the frequency of CeH may be underestimated. CeH is most frequently diagnosed as consequence of the biochemical assessments in patients with hypothalamic/pituitary lesions. In contrast with primary hypothyroidism, low FT4 with low/normal TSH levels are the biochemical hallmark of CeH and adequate thyroid hormone replacement leads to the suppression of residual TSH secretion. Thus, CeH often represents a clinical challenge because physicians cannot rely on the use of the “reflex TSH strategy” for screening or therapy monitoring. Nevertheless, in contrast with general assumption, the finding of normal TSH levels may indicate thyroxine under-replacement in CeH patients. The clinical management of CeH is further complicated by the combination with multiple pituitary deficiencies, as the introduction of sex steroids or GH replacements may uncover latent forms of CeH or increase the thyroxine requirements.

Open access

Julia H Goedecke, Mehreen Tootla and Dheshnie Keswell

Studies have shown ethnic differences in body fat distribution, characterised by greater peripheral and less central fat accumulation in black compared to white South African (SA) women. As sex hormones play an important role in body fat distribution, our study aimed to determine whether differences in body fat distribution between black and white SA women were associated with subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) expression of oestrogen receptors (ERA and ERB) and aromatase (CYP19A1). Body fat distribution (DXA and CT) and ERA, ERB and CYP19A1 expression in abdominal and gluteal SAT were measured in 26 black and 22 white SA women. Abdominal SAT ERA and ERB did not differ by ethnicity or BMI. Gluteal ERA was higher (1.08 ± 0.06 vs 0.99 ± 0.05, P < 0.001) and ERB was lower (0.99 ± 0.06 vs 1.10 ± 0.07, P < 0.001) in black vs white SA women. CYP19A1 increased with obesity in all depots (P < 0.001). In both black and white SA women, gluteal ERA was associated with lower central fat mass (FM) and greater gynoid FM (P < 0.05), while the inverse association was shown for CYP19A1 in all depots (P < 0.01). In conclusion, ethnic differences in gluteal ERA expression were associated with differences in body fat distribution previously reported between black and white SA women.

Open access

Zeming Liu, Di Hu, Huang Yi Hui, Chen Si Chao, Zeng Wen, Zhou Ling, Zhou Wei, Wang Min, Feng Hai Feng, Wei Wei, Chao Zhang, Chen Dan Yang and Liang Guo

Objectives: Controversies regarding factors associated with distant metastasis in pediatric thyroid cancer remain among the scientific community. The aim of this study was to investigate factors influencing distant metastasis in pediatric thyroid cancer.

Methods: We reviewed 1376 patients (aged 2 to 18 years) with thyroid cancer treated between 2003 and 2014. Data collected and analyzed included sex, race, age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, pathological type, number of tumor foci, tumor extension, T-stage, N-stage, surgical procedure, and radiation. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to evaluate factors influencing distant metastasis of pediatric thyroid cancer.

Results: In the univariate analysis, factors influencing distant metastasis of thyroid cancer were age at diagnosis (P<0.001), N-stage (P<0.001), number of tumor foci (P=0.003), tumor extension (P<0.001), and T-stage (T1 vs. T2 [P=0.803], T3 [P<0.001], and T4 [P<0.001]). In multivariate analysis, factors influencing distant metastasis of thyroid cancer were age at diagnosis (P=0.001), N-stage (P<0.001), and T-stage (T1 vs. T3 [P=0.036] and T4 [P<0.001]). Sex, race, year of diagnosis, pathological type, number of tumor foci, tumor extension, surgical procedure, and radiation had no significant influence on distant metastasis (all P<0.05). Furthermore, according to chi-squared test, younger pediatric thyroid cancer patients with higher T- and N-stage are more likely to have distant metastasis.

Conclusion: Age at diagnosis, T-stage, and N-stage influence distant metastasis of thyroid cancer patients aged 2 to 18 years; accordingly, more radical treatments may need to be used for patients with those risk elements.

Open access

Stefan Riedl, Friedrich-Wilhelm Röhl, Walter Bonfig, Jürgen Brämswig, Annette Richter-Unruh, Susanne Fricke-Otto, Markus Bettendorf, Felix Riepe, Gernot Kriegshäuser, Eckhard Schoenau, Gertrud Even, Berthold P Hauffa, Helmuth-Günther Dörr, Reinhard W Holl and Klaus Mohnike

Objective: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to CYP21A2 gene mutations is associated with a variety of clinical phenotypes (salt wasting, SW; simple virilizing, SV; non-classical, NC) depending on residual 21-hydroxylase activity. Phenotypes and genotypes correlate well in 80-90% of cases. We set out to test the predictive value of CAH phenotype assignment based on genotype classification in a large multi-center cohort.

Design and Methods: A retrospective evaluation of genetic data from 538 CAH patients (195 screened) collected from 28 tertiary centers as part of a German quality control program was performed. Genotypes were classified according to residual 21-hydroxylase activity (null, A, B, C) and assigned clinical phenotypes correlated with predicted phenotypes, including analysis of Prader stages. Ultimately, concordance of genotypes with clinical phenotypes was compared in patients diagnosed before or after the introduction of nationwide CAH-newborn screening.

Results: Severe genotypes (null and A) correlated well with the expected phenotype (SW in 97% and 91%, respectively) whereas less severe genotypes (B and C) correlated poorly (SV in 45% and NC in 57%, respectively), This was underlined by a high degree of virilization in girls with C genotypes (Prader stage <1 in 28%). SW was diagnosed in 90% of screening positive babies with classical CAH compared with 74% of pre-screening patients.

Conclusions: In our CAH series, assigned phenotypes were more severe than expected in milder genotypes and in screened versus pre-screening patients. Diagnostic discrimination between phenotypes based on genotypes may prove overcome due the overlap in their clinical presentations.

Open access

Kamran Iqbal, Kate Halsby, Robert D Murray, Paul V Carroll and Robert Petermann

Background and objectives

Glucocorticoids are used to manage adrenal insufficiency (AI). We describe treatments used in the United Kingdom and real-world clinical outcomes for each treatment.

Methods

We used 2010–2016 primary care data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN). Descriptive analyses were conducted, and differences in variables between patients prescribed immediate-release hydrocortisone (IR HC), prednisolone or modified-release hydrocortisone (MR HC) were assessed using Fisher’s exact test.

Results

Overall, 2648 patients were included: 1912 on IR HC (72%), 691 on prednisolone (26%) and 45 (2%) on MR HC. A total of 1174 (44.3%) had primary and 1150 (43.4%) had secondary AI. Patients on prednisolone were older (P < 0.001) and had a greater history of smoking (292/691, P < 0.001) and CVD (275/691, P < 0.001). Patients on MR HC had more PCOS (3/45, P = 0.001) and diabetes (27/45, P = 0.004). The number of GP visits/patient/year was 6.50 in IR HC, 9.54 in prednisolone and 9.11 in MR HC cohorts. The mean number of A&E visits and inpatient and outpatient hospital admissions ranged from 0.42 to 0.93 visits/patient/year. The mean number of adrenal crises/patient/year was between 0.02 and 0.03 for all cohorts.

Conclusion

IR HC is most commonly used for the management of AI in the United Kingdom, followed by prednisolone. Few patients receive MR HC. The prednisolone and MR HC cohorts displayed a greater prevalence of vascular risk factors compared with IR HC. The occurrence of AC and primary and secondary resource use were similar between treatment cohorts, and they indicate significant resource utilisation. Improved treatment and management of patients with AI is needed.