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Open access

Zhengrong Jiang, Linghong Huang, Lijun Chen, Jingxiong Zhou, Bo Liang, Xuefeng Bai, Lizhen Wu, and Huibin Huang

Background

Graves’ disease is a common autoimmune disease. Cytokines and their signalling pathways play a major part in the pathogenesis of Graves’ disease; however, the underlying mechanism needs to be clarified.

Aims

The aim of this study was to explore whether circular RNAs participate in the immunological pathology of Graves’ disease via cytokine-related signalling pathways.

Methods

Bioinformatics analysis was performed to identify differentially expressed circular RNAs and their targets and associated pathways. A total of three patients with Graves’ disease and three sex- and age-matched healthy controls were enrolled for validation with microarray analysis and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). An additional 24 patients with Graves’ disease and 24 gender- and age-matched controls were included for validation by real-time fluorescent qPCR. Flow cytometry and CCK8 assays were used to detect the apoptotic and proliferative levels of Jurkat cells (T lymphocytes) with the silenced expression of circRNA. ELISA was performed to detect the growth and apoptosis-related proteins. The competition mechanism of endogenous RNA was explored by real-time fluorescence qPCR.

Results

A total of 366 significantly differentially expressed circular RNAs were identified in the Graves’ disease group compared to healthy controls. The level of hsa_circ_0090364 was elevated in Graves’ disease patients and positively correlated with thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibodies. Further analyses suggested that hsa_circ_0090364 may regulate the JAK-STAT pathway via the hsa-miR-378a-3p/IL-6ST/IL21R axis to promote cell growth.

Conclusions

These results provide novel clues into the pathophysiological mechanisms of Graves’ disease and potential targets for drug treatment.

Open access

Danielle Christine Maria van der Kaay, Anne Rochtus, Gerhard Binder, Ingo Kurth, Dirk Prawitt, Irène Netchine, Gudmundur Johannsson, Anita C S Hokken-Koelega, Miriam Elbracht, and Thomas Eggermann

The implementation of high-throughput and deep sequencing methods in routine genetic diagnostics has significantly improved the diagnostic yield in patient cohorts with growth disturbances and becomes increasingly important as the prerequisite of personalized medicine. They provide considerable chances to identify even rare and unexpected situations; nevertheless, we must be aware of their limitations. A simple genetic test in the beginning of a testing cascade might also help to identify the genetic cause of specific growth disorders. However, the clinical picture of genetically caused growth disturbance phenotypes can vary widely, and there is a broad clinical overlap between different growth disturbance disorders. As a consequence, the clinical diagnosis and therewith connected the decision on the appropriate genetic test is often a challenge. In fact, the clinician asking for genetic testing has to weigh different aspects in this decision process, including appropriateness (single gene test, stepwise procedure, comprehensive testing), turnaround time as the basis for rapid intervention, and economic considerations. Therefore, a frequent question in that context is ‘what to test when’. In this review, we aim to review genetic testing strategies and their strengths and limitations and to raise awareness for the future implementation of interdisciplinary genome medicine in diagnoses, treatment, and counselling of growth disturbances.

Open access

Silvia Ciancia, Vanessa Dubois, and Martine Cools

Both in the United States and Europe, the number of minors who present at transgender healthcare services before the onset of puberty is rapidly expanding. Many of those who will have persistent gender dysphoria at the onset of puberty will pursue long-term puberty suppression before reaching the appropriate age to start using gender-affirming hormones. Exposure to pubertal sex steroids is thus significantly deferred in these individuals. Puberty is a critical period for bone development: increasing concentrations of estrogens and androgens (directly or after aromatization to estrogens) promote progressive bone growth and mineralization and induce sexually dimorphic skeletal changes. As a consequence, safety concerns regarding bone development and increased future fracture risk in transgender youth have been raised. We here review published data on bone development in transgender adolescents, focusing in particular on differences in age and pubertal stage at the start of puberty suppression, chosen strategy to block puberty progression, duration of puberty suppression, and the timing of re-evaluation after estradiol or testosterone administration. Results consistently indicate a negative impact of long-term puberty suppression on bone mineral density, especially at the lumbar spine, which is only partially restored after sex steroid administration. Trans girls are more vulnerable than trans boys for compromised bone health. Behavioral health measures that can promote bone mineralization, such as weight-bearing exercise and calcium and vitamin D supplementation, are strongly recommended in transgender youth, during the phase of puberty suppression and thereafter.

Open access

Nobuo Matsuura, Tadashi Kaname, Norio Niikawa, Yoshihide Ooyama, Osamu Shinohara, Yukifumi Yokota, Shigeyuki Ohtsu, Noriyuki Takubo, Kazuteru Kitsuda, Keiko Shibayama, Fumio Takada, Akemi Koike, Hitomi Sano, Yoshiya Ito, and Kenji Ishikura

Objective

This study aimed to report on 15 Japanese patients with acrodysostosis and pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) and analyze them using the newly proposed classification of the EuroPHP network to determine whether this classification system is suitable for Japanese patients.

Design

We divided the patients into three groups based on hormone resistance, the number of fingers with short metacarpals, the existence of cone-shaped epiphyses and gene defects.

Methods

We carried out clinical, radiological and genetic evaluations of two patients in group A (iPPSD5), six patients in group B (iPPDS4) and seven patients in group C (iPPSD2).

Results

Group A consisted of two siblings without hormone resistance who had the most severe bone and physical developmental delays. PDE4D gene defects were detected in both cases. Group B consisted of six patients who showed hormone resistance without hypocalcemia. Short metacarpal bones with corn-shaped epiphyses were observed in all patients. In two cases, PRKAR1A gene defects were detected; however, their clinical and radiological features were not identical. The facial dysmorphism and developmental delay were less severe and PRKAR1A gene defects were detected in case B-3. Severe facial dysmorphism and deformity of metacarpal bones were observed, but no gene defect was detected in case B-1. Group C consisted of seven patients with PHP1a, four of whom had maternally inherited heterozygous inactivating mutations in one of the GNAS genes. The clinical and radiological features of the patients in group C were not identical either.

Conclusions

The newly proposed classification is suitable for Japanese patients; however, heterogeneities still existed within groups B and C.

Open access

Martin Bidlingmaier, Helena Gleeson, Ana-Claudia Latronico, and Martin O Savage

Precision medicine employs digital tools and knowledge of a patient’s genetic makeup, environment and lifestyle to improve diagnostic accuracy and to develop individualised treatment and prevention strategies. Precision medicine has improved management in a number of disease areas, most notably in oncology, and it has the potential to positively impact others, including endocrine disorders. The accuracy of diagnosis in young patients with growth disorders can be improved by using biomarkers. Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) is the most widely accepted biomarker of growth hormone secretion, but its predictive value for recombinant human growth hormone treatment response is modest and various factors can affect the accuracy of IGF-I measurements. These factors need to be taken into account when considering IGF-I as a component of precision medicine in the management of growth hormone deficiency. The use of genetic analyses can assist with diagnosis by confirming the aetiology, facilitate treatment decisions, guide counselling and allow prompt intervention in children with pubertal disorders, such as central precocious puberty and testotoxicosis. Precision medicine has also proven useful during the transition of young people with endocrine disorders from paediatric to adult services when patients are at heightened risk of dropping out from medical care. An understanding of the likelihood of ongoing GH deficiency, using tools such as MRI, detailed patient history and IGF-I levels, can assist in determining the need for continued recombinant human growth hormone treatment during the process of transitional care.

Open access

Aliyu Tijani Jibril, Ahmad Jayedi, and Sakineh Shab-Bidar

Objective

To examine the dose-dependent influence of oral alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) supplementation on cardiometabolic risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Design

We followed the instructions outlined in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation Handbook to conduct our systematic review. The protocol of the study was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021260587).

Method

We searched PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science to May 2021 for trials of oral ALA supplementation in adults with T2D. The primary outcomes were HbA1c, weight loss, and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C). Secondary outcomes included fasting plasma glucose (FPG), triglyceride (TG), C-reactive protein (CRP), and blood pressure. We conducted a random-effects dose–response meta-analysis to calculate the mean difference (MD) and 95% CI for each 500 mg/day oral ALA supplementation. We performed a nonlinear dose–response meta-analysis using a restricted cubic spline.

Results

We included 16 trials with 1035 patients. Each 500 mg/day increase in oral ALA supplementation significantly reduced HbA1c, body weight, CRP, FPG, and TG. Dose–response meta-analyses indicated a linear decrement in body weight at ALA supplementation of more than 600 mg/day (MD600 mg/day: −0.30 kg, 95% CI: −0.04, −0.57). A relatively J-shaped effect was seen for HbA1c (MD: −0.32%, 95% CI: −0.45, −0.18). Levels of FPG and LDL-C decreased up to 600 mg/day ALA intake. The point estimates were below minimal clinically important difference thresholds for all outcomes.

Conclusion

Despite significant improvements, the effects of oral ALA supplementation on cardiometabolic risk factors in patients with T2D were not clinically important.

Open access

Leqi He, Xiaoying Li, Zaoping Chen, Wei Wang, Kai Wang, Xinmei Huang, Qian Yang, Wencai Ke, Jun Liu, and Bingbing Zha

Objective

To explore the relationship between estradiol (E2) and thyroid function during the second trimester of pregnancy and the effect of E2 on sodium iodide transporter (NIS) expression in cultured thyroid cells.

Materials and methods

We analyzed relationships between E2 and thyroid function in 196 pregnant women during the second trimester. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed between E2 and thyroid function. The human thyroid Nthy-ori3-1 cells were cultured in different E2 concentrations, and the mRNA levels of NIS, estrogen receptor (ER)-α, and ER-β were measured by quantitative real-time PCR. Their protein levels were assessed by western blot.

Results

E2 was positively correlated with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and negatively correlated with free thyroxine (FT4) (P < 0.05). When we corrected for age, BMI, alanine aminotransferase, and serum creatinine, E2 was still negatively correlated with FT4 (P < 0.5) during the second trimester. In Nthy-ori3-1 cells treated with 10 nM E2, NIS and ER-β mRNA levels were significantly reduced, while ER-α mRNA level was not altered (P > 0.5). Moreover, 10 nM E2 significantly decreased protein levels of ER-β, phosphorylated versions of protein kinase A (p-PKA), phosphorylated versions of cAMP response element-binding protein (p-CREB), and NIS, while treatment with the ER-β inhibitor restored the expression of p-PKA, p-CREB, and NIS (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

High concentration of E2 has a negative correlation with FT4. High concentration of E2 can inhibit the NIS expression through the ER-β-mediated pathway, which may cause thyroid hormone fluctuations during pregnancy.

Open access

Mohammed S Razzaque

Fibroblast growth factor‐23 (FGF23) controls the homeostasis of both phosphate and vitamin D. Bone-derived FGF23 can suppress the transcription of 1α‐hydroxylase (1α(OH)ase) to reduce renal activation of vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D3). FGF23 can also activate the transcription of 24‐hydroxylase to enhance the renal degradation process of vitamin D. There is a counter-regulation for FGF23 and vitamin D; 1,25(OH)2D3 induces the skeletal synthesis and the release of FGF23, while FGF23 can suppress the production of 1,25(OH)2D3 by inhibiting 1α(OH)ase synthesis. Genetically ablating FGF23 activities in mice resulted in higher levels of renal 1α(OH)ase, which is also reflected in an increased level of serum 1,25(OH)2D3, while genetically ablating 1α(OH)ase activities in mice reduced the serum levels of FGF23. Similar feedback control of FGF23 and vitamin D is also detected in various human diseases. Further studies are required to understand the subcellular molecular regulation of FGF23 and vitamin D in health and disease.

Open access

Cihan Atila, Sophie Monnerat, Roland Bingisser, Martin Siegemund, Maurin Lampart, Marco Rueegg, Núria Zellweger, Stefan Osswald, Katharina Rentsch, Mirjam Christ-Crain, and Raphael Twerenbold

Objective

Hyponatremia in COVID-19 is often due to the syndrome of inadequate antidiuresis (SIAD), possibly mediated by interleukin-6 (IL-6)-induced non-osmotic arginine vasopressin (AVP) secretion. We hypothesized an inverse association between IL-6 and plasma sodium concentration, stronger in COVID-19 compared to other respiratory infections.

Design

Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study including patients with COVID-19 suspicion admitted to the Emergency Department, University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland, between March and July 2020.

Methods

We included patients with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 and patients with similar symptoms, further subclassified into bacterial and other viral respiratory infections. The primary objective was to investigate the association between plasma sodium and IL-6 levels.

Results

A total of 500 patients were included, 184 (37%) with COVID-19, 92 (18%) with bacterial respiratory infections, and 224 (45%) with other viral respiratory infections. In all groups, median (IQR) IL-6 levels were significantly higher in hyponatremic compared to normonatremic patients (COVID-19: 43.4 (28.4, 59.8) vs 9.2 (2.8, 32.7) pg/mL, P < 0.001; bacterial: 122.1 (63.0, 282.0) vs 67.1 (24.9, 252.0) pg/mL, P < 0.05; viral: 14.1 (6.9, 84.7) vs 4.3 (2.1, 14.4) pg/mL, P < 0.05). IL-6 levels were negatively correlated with plasma sodium levels in COVID-19, whereas the correlation in bacterial and other viral infections was weaker (COVID-19: R = −0.48, P < 0.001; bacterial: R = −0.25, P = 0.05, viral: R = −0.27, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

IL-6 levels were inversely correlated with plasma sodium levels, with a stronger correlation in COVID-19 compared to bacterial and other viral infections. IL-6 might stimulate AVP secretion and lead to higher rates of hyponatremia due to the SIAD in these patients.

Open access

Fabyan Esberard de Lima Beltrão, Daniele Carvalhal de Almeida Beltrão, Giulia Carvalhal, Fabyo Napoleão de Lima Beltrão, Igor Motta de Aquino, Thaíse da Silva Brito, Barbara Costa Paulino, Elisa Aires, Diana Viegas, Fabio Hecht, Bruno Halpern, Liana Clebia De Morais Pordeus, Maria da Conceição Rodrigues Gonçalves, and Helton Estrela Ramos

Introduction

The severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been positively correlated with several comorbidities. The primary outcome of the study was to assess the relationship between the mortality and severity of COVID-19 and obesity classes according to BMI, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) area, s.c. adipose tissue area, muscle area (MA), and leptin levels.

Methods

In this prospective cohort study, 200 patients hospitalized with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 underwent an unenhanced CT of the thorax and laboratory tests, and leptin levels between June and August 2020 were obtained.

Results

Our study included 200 patients (male 52%; mean age: 62 (49–74) years; obesity (BMI > 30): 51.5%)). Fifty-eight patients (23.5%) were admitted to the intensive care unit and 29 (14.5%) died. In multivariate logistic regression (corrected for leptin, sex, age, and serum biomarkers) and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses, high VAT > 150 cm2 (odds ratio (OR): 6.15; P < 0.002), MA < 92 cm2 (OR: 7.94; P < 0.005), and VAT/MA ratio > 2 (OR: 13.9; P < 0.0001) were independent risk factors for mortality. Indeed, the Kaplan–Meier curves showed that patients with MA < 92 cm2 and without obesity (BMI < 30) had a lower survival rate (hazard ratio between 3.89 and 9.66; P < 0.0006) than the other groups. Leptin levels were not related to mortality and severity.

Conclusion

This prospective study reports data on the largest number of hospitalized severe COVID-19 patients and pinpoints VAT area and MA calculated by CT as predictors of COVID-19 mortality.