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Open access

Fahim Ebrahimi, Sandrine A Urwyler, Philipp Schuetz, Beat Mueller, Luca Bernasconi, Peter Neyer, Marc Y Donath and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Background

Anti-inflammatory treatment with interleukin-1 (IL-1) antagonism decreases both cortisol and adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) levels in individuals with obesity in short term. However, it remains unknown whether these effects persist upon prolonged treatment.

Methods

In this double-blind, parallel-group trial involving patients with features of the metabolic syndrome, 33 patients were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of anakinra (recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist) subcutaneously twice-daily and 34 patients to receive placebo for 4 weeks. For this analysis, change in cortisol and ACTH levels from baseline to 4 weeks were predefined end points of the trial.

Results

The mean age was 54 years, baseline cortisol levels were 314 nmol/L (IQR 241–385) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were 3.4 mg/L (IQR 1.7–4.8). Treatment with anakinra led to a significant decrease in cortisol levels at day 1 when compared to placebo with an adjusted between-group difference of 28 nmol/L (95% CI, −7 to −43; P = 0.03). After 4 weeks, the cortisol-lowering effect of anakinra was attenuated and overall was statistically not significant (P = 0.72). Injection-site reactions occurred in 21 patients receiving anakinra and were associated with higher CRP and cortisol levels.

Conclusions

IL-1 antagonism decreases cortisol levels in male patients with obesity and chronic low-grade inflammation on the short term. After prolonged treatment, this effect is attenuated, probably due to injection-site reactions (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02672592).

Open access

Giulia Bresciani, Angeliki Ditsiou, Chiara Cilibrasi, Viviana Vella, Federico Rea, Marco Schiavon, Narciso Giorgio Cavallesco, Georgios Giamas, Maria Chiara Zatelli and Teresa Gagliano

Broncho-pulmonary neuroendocrine neoplasms (BP-NENs) are neoplasms orphan of an efficient therapy. Available medical treatments derived from clinical trials are not specific for the management of this malignancy. Sunitinib is a multi-receptor tyrosine-kinases (RTKs) inhibitor that has already shown its efficacy in NENs, but there are no available data about its action in BP-NENs. Therefore, our aim was to understand the effects of RTKs inhibition promoted by sunitinib in order to evaluate new putative targets useful in malignancy treatment. Since our results underlined a role for EGFR and IGF1R in modulating sunitinib antiproliferative action, we investigated the effects of erlotinib, an EGFR inhibitor, and linsitinib, an IGF1R inhibitor, in order to understand their function in regulating cells behaviour. Cell viability and caspase activation were evaluated on two immortalised human BP-NEN cell lines and primary cultures. Our results showed that after treatment with sunitinib and/or IGF1, EGF and VEGF, the antiproliferative effect of sunitinib was counteracted by EGF and IGF1 but not by VEGF. Therefore, we evaluated with AlphaScreen technology the phosphorylated EGFR and IGF1R levels in primary cultures treated with sunitinib and/or EGF and IGF1. Results showed a decrease of p-IGF1R after treatment with sunitinib and an increase after co-treatment with IGF1. Then, we assessed cell viability and caspase activation on BP-NEN cell lines after treatment with linsitinib and/or erlotinib. Results demonstrate that these two agents have a stronger antiproliferative effect compared to sunitinib. In conclusion, our results suggest that IGF1R and EGF1R could represent putative molecular targets in BP-NENs treatment.

Open access

Marra Aghajani, Tara Roberts, Tao Yang, Charles McCafferty, Nicole Caixeiro, Paul DeSouza and Navin Niles

To date, no research evaluating the predictive capabilities of soluble programmed cell death-ligand 1 (sPD-L1) in thyroid cancer patients has been performed. We aimed to investigate the prognostic significance of sPD-L1 expression in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), and to evaluate the association between sPD-L1 levels with tumoural PD-L1 expression and patient outcomes. Pre-treatment levels of serum and plasma sPD-L1 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 101 PTC patients. Tissue microarrays were stained with an anti-PD-L1 antibody, clone SP263 (Ventana). The median serum sPD-L1 concentration in PTC patients was significantly higher compared to healthy controls (p=0.028). An increased incidence of extrathyroidal extension was significantly associated with an elevated serum sPD-L1 level (p=0.015). Patients with high serum sPD-L1 levels had significantly shorter median disease-free survival (DFS) as compared to those with low sPD-L1 levels (p=0.011). Following multivariate analysis, serum sPD-L1 was the only statistically significant predictor for DFS. Patients with both positive serum and tumoural PD-L1 expression had a significantly shorter DFS than those in any other subgroup (p=0.007). Our study is the first to confirm that sPD-L1 concentration is significantly associated with patient outcome in PTC. Soluble PD-L1 may provide clinicians with a non-invasive biomarker that can lessen dependence on tissue biopsies and diagnose aggressive thyroid cancers at a more treatable stage.

Open access

Min Li, Ying Chen, Jingjing Jiang, Yan Lu, Zhiyi Song, Shengjie Zhang, Chao Sun, Hao Ying, Xiaofang Fan, Yuping Song, Jialin Yang and Lin Zhao

Objective

Recent studies have shown that neuregulin 4 (Nrg4), a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family of extracellular ligands, plays an important role in the prevention of obesity, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Considering that thyroid hormone (TH) has profound effects on whole-body energy metabolism, we speculate that circulating Nrg4 levels might be altered in patients with hyperthyroidism.

Design and methods

A total of 129 hyperthyroid patients and 100 healthy subjects were recruited. Of them, 39 hyperthyroid patients received thionamide treatment for 3 months until euthyroidism. Serum Nrg4 levels were determined using the ELISA method. To further confirm the relationship between TH and Nrg4, C57BL/6 mice were treated with T3 and quantitative real-time PCR was performed to detect Nrg4 gene expression.

Results

Serum Nrg4 levels were significantly elevated in hyperthyroid patients as compared with normal controls (3.84 ± 1.63 vs 2.21 ± 1.04 ng/mL, P < 0.001). After achieving euthyroidism by thionamide treatment, serum Nrg4 levels dropped markedly from 3.57 ± 1.26 to 1.94 ± 0.72 ng/ml (P < 0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, serum Nrg4 levels were independently associated with hyperthyroidism. The upregulation of Nrg4 expression in the livers and white adipose tissues by T3 was further confirmed by animal and cell culture experiments.

Conclusions

Serum Nrg4 levels were increased in patients with hyperthyroidism. The liver and white adipose tissue might be primary sources contributing to elevated serum Nrg4 concentrations.

Open access

Qianqian Pang, Yuping Xu, Xuan Qi, Yan Jiang, Ou Wang, Mei Li, Xiaoping Xing, Ling Qin and Weibo Xia

Background

Primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy (PHO) is a rare genetic multi-organic disease characterized by digital clubbing, periostosis and pachydermia. Two genes, HPGD and SLCO2A1, which encodes 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) and prostaglandin transporter (PGT), respectively, have been reported to be related to PHO. Deficiency of aforementioned two genes leads to failure of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) degradation and thereby elevated levels of PGE2. PGE2 plays an important role in tumorigenesis. Studies revealed a tumor suppressor activity of 15-PGDH in tumors, such as lung, bladder and breast cancers. However, to date, no HPGD-mutated PHO patients presenting concomitant tumor has been documented. In the present study, we reported the first case of HPGD-mutated PHO patient with soft tissue giant tumors at lower legs and evaluated the efficacy of selective COX-2 inhibitor (etoricoxib) treatment in the patient.

Methods

In this study, we summarized the clinical data, collected the serum and urine samples for biochemical test and analyzed the HPGD gene in our patient.

Results

A common HPGD mutation c.310_311delCT was identified in the patient. In addition to typical clinical features (digital clubbing, periostosis and pachydermia), the patient demonstrated a new clinical manifestation, a giant soft tissue tumor on the left lower leg which has not been reported in HPGD-mutated PHO patient before. After 6-month treatment with etoricoxib, the patient showed decreased PGE2 levels and improved PHO-related symptoms. Though the soft tissue tumor persisted, it seemed to be controlled under the etoricoxib treatment.

Conclusion

This finding expanded the clinical spectrum of PHO and provided unique insights into the HPGD-mutated PHO.

Open access

Li Jing and Wang Chengji

Metabolomics was used to explore the effect of exercise intervention on type 2 diabetes. The rat model of type 2 diabetes was induced by an injection of streptozocin (30 mg/kg), after fed with 8-week high-fat diet. The rats were divided into three groups: the control group, the diabetic model group (DM) and the diabetes + exercise group (DME). After exercise for 10 weeks, blood samples were collected to test biomedical indexes, and 24-h urine samples were collected for the metabolomics experiment. In the DME group, fasting blood glucose (FBG), both total cholesterol (TC) and total plasma triglycerides (TG), were decreased significantly, compared with those in the DM group. Based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), a urinary metabolomics method was used to study the mechanism of exercise intervention on diabetes mellitus. Based on the principal component analysis (PCA), it was found that the DM group and control group were separated into two different clusters. The DME group was located between the DM group and the control group, closer to the control group. Twelve significantly changed metabolites of diabetes mellitus were detected and identified, including glycolate, 4-methyl phenol, benzoic acid, 1H-indole, arabinitol, threitol, ribonic acid, malic acid, 2,3-dihydroxy-butanoic, aminomalonic acid, l-ascorbic acid and 3-hydroxy hexanedioic acid. After exercise, seven metabolites were significantly changed, compared with the control group, the relative contents of benzoic acid, aminomalonic acid, tetrabutyl alcohol and ribonucleic acid in the diabetic exercise group decreased significantly. The relative contents of 2,3-dihydroxybutyric acid, l-ascorbic acid and 3-hydroxy adipic acid increased significantly. l-ascorbic acid and aminomalonic acid which related with the oxidative stress were significantly regulated to normal. The results showed that exercise could display anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic effects. The exercise had antioxidation function in preventing the occurrence of complications with diabetes mellitus to some extent. The work illustrates that the metabolomics method is a useful tool to study the mechanism of exercise treatment.

Open access

Meena Asmar, Ali Asmar, Lene Simonsen, Flemming Dela, Jens Juul Holst and Jens Bülow

Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) in combination with hyperinsulinemia increase blood flow and triglyceride clearance in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue in lean humans. The present experiments were performed to determine whether the increase involves capillary recruitment. Eight lean healthy volunteers were studied before and after 1 h infusion of GIP or saline during a hyperglycemic–hyperinsulinemic clamp, raising plasma glucose and insulin to postprandial levels. Subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue blood flow (ATBF) was measured by the 133Xenon clearance technique, and microvascular blood volume was determined by contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging. During infusion of saline and the clamp, both ATBF (2.7 ± 0.5 mL/min 100 g/tissue) and microvascular blood volume remained unchanged throughout the experiments. During GIP infusion and the clamp, ATBF increased ~fourfold to 11.4 ± 1.9 mL/min 100 g/tissue, P < 0.001. Likewise, the contrast-enhanced ultrasound signal intensity, a measure of the microvascular blood volume, increased significantly 1 h after infusion of GIP and the clamp (P = 0.003), but not in the control experiments. In conclusion, the increase in ATBF during GIP infusion involves recruitment of capillaries in healthy lean subjects, which probably increases the interaction of circulating lipoproteins with lipoprotein lipase, thus promoting adipose tissue lipid uptake.

Open access

Andrea V Haas, Paul N Hopkins, Nancy J Brown, Luminita H Pojoga, Jonathan S Williams, Gail K Adler and Gordon H Williams

There are conflicting data on whether variations of physiologic cortisol levels associated with cardiovascular risk. We hypothesize that prior discordant findings are related to problems associated with varying sample size, techniques for assessing cardiovascular risk and failure to adequately account for environmental factors. To address these issues, we utilized a large sample size, selected the Framingham risk score to compute cardiovascular risk and performed the study in a highly controlled setting. We had two main objectives: determine whether higher, yet physiologic, cortisol levels associated with increased cardiovascular risk and determine whether caveolin-1 (rs926198) risk allele carriers associated with increased cardiovascular risk. This was a cross-sectional study of 574 non-diabetic individuals who completed a common protocol. Data collection included fasting blood samples, blood pressure measurements and a 24-h urine-free cortisol collection. Five hundred seventeen of these participants also completed caveolin-1 genotyping. Subjects were classified as belonging to either the low-mode or high-mode urine-free cortisol groups, based on the bimodal distribution of urine-free cortisol. In multivariate analysis, Framingham risk score was statistically higher in the high-mode cortisol group (10.22 (mean) ± 0.43 (s.e.m.)) compared to the low-mode cortisol group (7.73 ± 0.34), P < 0.001. Framingham risk score was also statistically higher in the caveolin-1 risk allele carriers (8.91 ± 0.37) compared to caveolin-1 non-risk allele carriers (7.59 ± 0.48), P = 0.034. Overall, the estimated effect on Framingham risk score of carrying the caveolin-1 risk allele was 1.33 ± 0.61, P = 0.029. Both urinary cortisol and caveolin-1 risk allele status are independent predictors of Framingham risk score.

Open access

Amarjit Saini, LInda Björkhem Bergman, Johan Boström, Mats Lilja, Michael Melin, Karl Olsson, Lena Ekström, Peter Bergman, Mikael Altun, Eric Rullman and Thomas Gustafsson

The CC-genotype of the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236 has previously been associated with a higher risk of developing myopathy compared to TT-carriers. However, the mechanistic role of this polymorphism in skeletal muscle is not well defined. The effects of vitamin D on patients genotyped for the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236, comparing CC and TT-carriers were evaluated. Primary human myoblasts isolated from 4 CC-carriers were compared with myoblasts isolated from 4 TT-carriers and treated with vitamin D in vitro. A dose-dependent inhibitory effect on myoblast proliferation and differentiation was observed concurrent with modifications of key myogenic regulatory factors. RNA-sequencing revealed a Vitamin D dose-response gene signature enriched with a higher number of VDR-responsive elements (VDREs) per gene. Interestingly, the greater the expression of muscle differentiation markers in myoblasts the more pronounced was the Vitamin D-mediated response to suppress genes associated with myogenic fusion and myotube formation. This novel finding provides a mechanistic explanation to the inconsistency regarding previous reports of the role of vitamin D in myoblast differentiation. No effects in myoblast proliferation, differentiation or gene expression were related to CC vs. TT carriers. Our findings suggest that the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236 comparing CC vs. TT carriers did not influence the effects of vitamin D on primary human myoblasts and that vitamin D inhibits myoblast proliferation and differentiation through key regulators of cell cycle progression. Future studies need to employ strategies to identify the primary responses of vitamin D that drive the cellular response towards quiescence.

Open access

Ling Shan, Yingying Zhou, Shiqiao Peng, Xinyi Wang, Zhongyan Shan and Weiping Teng

Background

Pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism are associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. This study aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying the effects of maternal subclinical hypothyroidism during early pregnancy on abortion in the uterus, focusing upon the LIF/STAT3 signaling pathway.

Methods

One hundred five Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups (35 rats in each group): control (CON) group, subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) group and overt hypothyroidism (OH) group. We examined the weight of rat uteri, rat placenta and embryos. We also determined the number of implantation sites and the embryo absorption rates. The protein and mRNA expressions of TSHR, TR-α, TR-β, LIFR, gp130, JAK1, p-STAT3 and STAT3 were measured by immunohistochemical staining, real-time PCR and Western blotting.

Results

The weights of rat uteri, rat placenta and embryos were significantly reduced in the SCH and OH groups. The number of implantation sites was significantly decreased in the SCH and OH groups, while embryo absorption rates were significantly increased. The mRNA and protein expressions of TSHR were upregulated in the SCH and OH groups, while TR-α and TR-β showed no difference when compared between the three groups. The expression levels of LIFR, gp130, JAK1 and p-STAT3 were significantly higher in the SCH and OH groups.

Conclusions

Clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism during early pregnancy might cause adverse pregnancy outcomes. Implantation failure in rats with subclinical hypothyroidism was associated with abnormal LIF/STAT3 signaling.