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Open access

Rajae Talbi and Victor M Navarro

Kiss1 neurons are essential regulators of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis by regulating gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) release. Compelling evidence suggests that Kiss1 neurons of the arcuate nucleus (Kiss1ARC), recently identified as the hypothalamic GnRH pulse generator driving fertility, also participate in the regulation of metabolism through kisspeptinergic and glutamatergic interactions with, at least, proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP)/neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons, located in close apposition with Kiss1ARC. This review offers a comprehensive overview of the recent developments, mainly derived from animal models, on the role of Kiss1 neurons in the regulation of energy balance, including food intake, energy expenditure and the influence of circadian rhythms on this role. Furthermore, the possible neuroendocrine pathways underlying this effect, and the existing controversies related to the anorexigenic action of kisspeptin in the different experimental models, are also discussed.

Open access

Lianghui You, Yan Wang, Yao Gao, Xingyun Wang, Xianwei Cui, Yanyan Zhang, Lingxia Pang, Chenbo Ji, Xirong Guo, and Xia Chi

Enhanced brown adipose tissue (BAT) mass and activity have been demonstrated to promote the expenditure of excess stored energy and reduce prevalence of obesity. Cold is known as a potent stimulator of BAT and activates BAT primarily through the β3-adrenergic-cAMP signaling. Here, we performed RNA-sequencing to identify differential miRNAs in mouse BAT upon cold exposure and a total of 20 miRNAs were validated. With the treatment of CL-316,243 (CL) and forskolin (Fsk) in mouse and human differentiated brown adipocyte cells in vitro, miR-23b-5p, miR-133a-3p, miR-135-5p, miR-491-5p, and miR-150-3p expression decreased and miR-455-5p expression increased. Among these deferentially expressed miRNAs, miR-23b-5p expression was differentially regulated in activated and aging mouse BAT and negatively correlated with Ucp1 expression. Overexpression of miR-23b-5p in the precursor cells from BAT revealed no significant effects on lipid accumulation, but diminished mitochondrial function and decreased expression of BAT specific markers. Though luciferase reporter assays did not confirm the positive association of miR-23b-5p with the 3′UTRs of the predicted target Ern1, miR-23b-5p overexpression may affect brown adipocyte thermogenic capacity mainly through regulating genes expression involving in lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation pathways. Our results suggest that miRNAs are involved in cold-mediated BAT thermogenic activation and further acknowledged miR-23b-5p as a negative regulator in controlling thermogenic programs, further providing potential molecular therapeutic targets to increase surplus energy and treat obesity.

Open access

Ulrik Ø Andersen, Dijana Terzic, Nicolai Jacob Wewer Albrechtsen, Peter Dall Mark, Peter Plomgaard, Jens F Rehfeld, Finn Gustafsson, and Jens P Goetze

Aims

Neprilysin degrades natriuretic peptides in circulation and is also suggested to degrade the gut hormones gastrin and cholecystokinin. Neprilysin inhibition has become a therapeutic strategy and thus a regimen in need of further testing in terms of other hormonal axes besides natriuretic peptides. The aim of this study was to examine whether acute inhibition of neprilysin affects meal-induced responses in gastrin and cholecystokinin concentrations in healthy individuals.

Methods and results

Nine healthy young men were included in an open-labelled, randomized cross-over clinical trial. The participants received a standardized meal (25 g fat, 26 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate) on two separate days with or without a one-time dosage of sacubitril ((194 mg)/valsartan (206 mg)). Blood pressure, heart rate and blood samples were measured and collected during the experiment. Statistical differences between groups were assessed using area under the curve together with an ANOVA with a Bonferroni post hoc test. Sacubitril/valsartan increased the postprandial plasma concentrations of both gastrin and cholecystokinin (80% (AUC0-270 min, P = 0.004) and 60% (AUC0-270 min, P = 0.003), respectively) compared with the control meal. No significant hemodynamic effects were noted (blood pressure, AUC0-270 min, P = 0.86, heart rate, AUC0-270 min, P = 0.96).

Conclusion

Our study demonstrates that sacubitril/valsartan increases the postprandial plasma concentrations of gastrin and cholecystokinin in healthy individuals. The results thus suggest that neprilysin-mediated degradation of gastrin and cholecystokinin is physiologically relevant and may have a role in heart failure patients treated with sacubitril/valsartan.

Open access

Monika Karczewska-Kupczewska, Agnieszka Nikołajuk, Magdalena Stefanowicz, Natalia Matulewicz, Irina Kowalska, and Marek Strączkowski

Objective

The aim of the study was to assess serum chemerin concentration and s.c. adipose tissue (SAT) chemerin expression in relation to insulin sensitivity and obesity in young healthy subjects.

Design

We performed a cross-sectional study including 128 subjects, 44 with normal weight, 44 with overweight and 40 with obesity.

Methods

Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and SAT biopsy were performed. Next, 30 subjects with obesity underwent 12-week weight-reducing dietary intervention.

Results

Serum chemerin was higher and SAT chemerin expression was lower in subjects with obesity in comparison with other groups. The relationship of serum chemerin with SAT expression and insulin sensitivity were positive in normal weight and overweight individuals, and negative in individuals with obesity. In the entire study population, serum chemerin was also positively related to hsCRP, serum fetuin A and alanine aminotransferase. SAT chemerin was positively related to insulin sensitivity, SAT insulin signaling and adipogenic genes. Weight loss decreased serum chemerin, whereas SAT chemerin increased in subjects with the highest increase in insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions

Serum and SAT chemerin is differentially associated with insulin sensitivity and the relationship between serum chemerin and insulin sensitivity depends on adiposity. SAT chemerin is positively associated with insulin sensitivity across a wide range of BMIs and may be proposed as a biomarker of metabolically healthy SAT. Our results suggest that SAT is not the main source of serum chemerin in obesity.

Open access

Rolf Jorde and Guri Grimnes

Objective

In addition to its skeletal effects, vitamin D may also be important for health in general. It is uncertain what level of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), marker of vitamin D status, is sufficient for these effects. With decreasing serum 25(OH)D levels there is an increase in serum PTH. The point at which this occurs has been considered as a threshold for vitamin D sufficiency. The thresholds found have varied widely and have mainly been based on observational studies. However, to truly establish a threshold for vitamin D effects, this has to be based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods

The study included 2803 subjects from a general health survey, the Tromsø study, and pooled individual person data from five vitamin D intervention studies (n = 1544). Serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and change in PTH after vitamin D supplementation were related to serum 25(OH)D levels in steps of 25 nmol/L (<24, 25–49, 50–74, 75–99, and >99 nmol/L).

Results

In the Tromsø study, in the females there was a gradual decrease in serum PTH with increasing serum 25(OH)D with no apparent plateau, whereas in the males the decrease in PTH in subjects with serum 25(OH)D >74 nmol/l was marginal. In pooled RCTs, there was a significant reduction in serum PTH by vitamin D supplementation regardless of baseline serum 25(OH)D level.

Conclusions

The use of the serum PTH–25(OH)D relation from observational studies to determine a threshold for vitamin D sufficiency is highly questionable.

Open access

Thabiso R P Mofokeng, Salem A Beshyah, Fazleh Mahomed, Kwazi C Z Ndlovu, and Ian L Ross

Background

The burden and management of primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) in Africa have not been well documented. We aimed to identify specific disease characteristics, patient demographics, and patterns of clinical management in established PAI in Africa.

Methods

An online survey of physicians’ experience relating to PAI.

Results

There were 1334 responses received, 589 were complete, and 332 respondents reported managing patients with hypoadrenalism. The described responses were related to a calculated pool of 5787 patients with hypoadrenalism (2746 females, 3041 males), of whom 2302 had PAI. The likely causes of PAI in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) vs the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions included autoimmune disease (20% vs 60.3%; P < 0.001), tuberculosis (34% vs 4.1%; P < 0.001), AIDS (29.8% vs 1%; P < 0.001), malignancy, and genetic conditions. Sixteen percent of AD patients (376/2302) presented in an adrenal crisis. Medical emergency identification was not used by 1233 (83.6%) SSA vs 330 (40.4%) MENA patients (P < 0.001), respectively. Relative non-availability of diagnostic tests across both regions included adrenal antibodies 63% vs 69.6% (P = 0.328), s-cortisol 49.4 % vs 26.7% (P = 0.004), s-ACTH 55.7% vs 53.3% (P = 0.217), and adrenal CT scans 52.4% vs 31.8% (P = 0.017) in the SSA and MENA region, respectively. Across the entire cohort, the overall hydrocortisone use and extrapolated proportion of synacthen use were 59.4% and 50.7%, respectively.

Conclusions

Through the perception and practice of healthcare professionals, we identified significant challenges in the diagnosis and management of PAI which may herald high mortality. Differences between regions may reflect the allocation of healthcare resources.

Open access

Aleksandra Gilis-Januszewska, Łukasz Kluczyński, and Alicja Hubalewska-Dydejczyk

Traumatic brain injury affects many people each year, resulting in a serious burden of devastating health consequences. Motor-vehicle and work-related accidents, falls, assaults, as well as sport activities are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. Consequently, they may lead to permanent or transient pituitary insufficiency that causes adverse changes in body composition, worrisome metabolic function, reduced bone density, and a significant decrease in one’s quality of life. The prevalence of post-traumatic hypopituitarism is difficult to determine, and the exact mechanisms lying behind it remain unclear. Several probable hypotheses have been suggested. The diagnosis of pituitary dysfunction is very challenging both due to the common occurrence of brain injuries, the subtle character of clinical manifestations, the variable course of the disease, as well as the lack of proper diagnostic algorithms. Insufficiency of somatotropic axis is the most common abnormality, followed by presence of hypogonadism, hypothyroidism, hypocortisolism, and diabetes insipidus. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current state of knowledge about post-traumatic hypopituitarism. Moreover, based on available data and on our own clinical experience, we suggest an algorithm for the evaluation of post-traumatic hypopituitarism. In addition, well-designed studies are needed to further investigate the pathophysiology, epidemiology, and timing of pituitary dysfunction after a traumatic brain injury with the purpose of establishing appropriate standards of care.

Open access

Willem de Ronde and Diederik L Smit

This review summarizes 10 years experience with male abusers of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS). The typical user of AAS is male, aged between 20 and 40 and lifting weights. Illegal AAS are cheap and easily obtained via internet or local suppliers. AAS are mostly used in cycles with a duration between 6 and 18 weeks. Most AAS cycles contain multiple agents, used simultaneously in a dose vastly exceeding a substitution dose. A variety of other performance and image-enhancing drugs are commonly used, including human growth hormone, thyroid hormone, tamoxifen, clomiphene citrate and human chorionic gonadotrophin. Short-term clinical and biochemical side effects are well established. Long-term side effects are uncertain, but may include heart failure, mood-and anxiety disorders, hypogonadism and subfertility. We share our views on the management of common health problems associated with AAS abuse.

Open access

Martine Cohen-Solal, Thomas Funck-Brentano, and Pablo Ureña Torres

Mineral and bone diseases (MBD) are predominant in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and lead to several bone manifestations, from pain to skeletal fractures. Cumulative traditional clinical risk factors, such as age and gender, in addition to those related to CKD, enhance the risk of comorbidity and mortality related to fractures. Despite great advances in understanding MBD in CKD, clinical and biological targets are lacking, which leads to under-management of fractures. Optimal PTH control results in a net improvement in defining the levels of bone remodeling. In addition, circulating biomarkers such as bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and cross-linked collagen type I peptide will also provide additional information about remodeling rate, bone mineralization and the evaluation of fracture risk. Imaging techniques identify patients at risk by measurement of bone mineral density by DEXA or by high peripheral QCT, which allow the discrimination of trabecular and cortical bone. Here, we have reviewed the literature related to epidemiology and the pathophysiological role of mineral and biochemical factors involved in CKD-MBD with a special focus on fracture risk. We also provide an algorithm that could be used for the management of bone diseases and to guide treatment decisions. Finally, the combined expertise of clinicians from various disciplines is crucial for the best prevention of fractures.

Open access

N K Stepto, D Hiam, M Gibson-Helm, S Cassar, C L Harrison, S K Hutchison, A E Joham, B J Canny, A Moreno-Asso, B J Strauss, N Hatzirodos, R J Rodgers, and H J Teede

Objective

Mechanisms of insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) remain ill defined, contributing to sub-optimal therapies. Recognising skeletal muscle plays a key role in glucose homeostasis we investigated early insulin signalling, its association with aberrant transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-regulated tissue fibrosis. We also explored the impact of aerobic exercise on these molecular pathways.

Methods

A secondary analysis from a cross-sectional study was undertaken in women with (n = 30) or without (n = 29) PCOS across lean and overweight BMIs. A subset of participants with (n = 8) or without (n = 8) PCOS who were overweight completed 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training. Muscle was sampled before and 30 min into a euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamp pre and post training.

Results

We found reduced signalling in PCOS of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). Exercise training augmented but did not completely rescue this signalling defect in women with PCOS. Genes in the TGFβ signalling network were upregulated in skeletal muscle in the overweight women with PCOS but were unresponsive to exercise training except for genes encoding LOX, collagen 1 and 3.

Conclusions

We provide new insights into defects in early insulin signalling, tissue fibrosis, and hyperandrogenism in PCOS-specific insulin resistance in lean and overweight women. PCOS-specific insulin signalling defects were isolated to mTOR, while gene expression implicated TGFβ ligand regulating a fibrosis in the PCOS-obesity synergy in insulin resistance and altered responses to exercise. Interestingly, there was little evidence for hyperandrogenism as a mechanism for insulin resistance.