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Open access

Jana Ernst, Urszula Grabiec, Kathrin Falk, Faramarz Dehghani, and Kristina Schaedlich

Studies of the last decade associated the environmental contamination by di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP) with obesity and endocrine malfunction. DEHP was found to interact with several receptors – among them are receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) with high expression levels in adipose tissue. Furthermore, the correlation for BMI and body fat to the serum endocannabinoid level raises the question if the obesogenic and endocrine-disrupting DEHP effects are mediated via the ECS. We therefore characterized the ECS in a human cell model of adipogenesis using the SGBS preadipocytes to subsequently investigate if DEHP exposure affects the intrinsic ECS. The receptors of the ECS and the endocannabinoid-metabolizing enzymes were upregulated during normal adipogenesis, accompanied by an increasing secretion of the adipokines adiponectin and leptin. DEHP affected the secretion of both adipokines but not the ECS, suggesting DEHP to alter the endocrine function of adipocytes without the involvement of the intrinsic ECS.

Open access

W Liu, Y Wang, X Han, X Cai, Y Zhu, M Zhang, S Gong, J Li, and L Ji


Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) is associated with a higher risk of premature death, but there are factors in certain patients with T1DM that protect them from complications and premature death. These factors had not been identified in non-Caucasian populations, so we aimed to identify factors that protect against the development of diabetic nephropathy (DN) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in long-standing T1DM in China.


Ninety-five T1DM patients with >30 years’ duration of diabetes were enrolled in this nationwide study. Differences between groups of patients with and without complications were compared, and multivariable regression analysis was used to evaluate the relationships between candidate protective factors and the development of DN or DR.


Thirty of the participants did not have DN and the same amount did not have DR. 6/52 of participants without DN were from a rural area, whereas 11/28 of participants with DN had been born in a rural area (P = 0.005). Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was higher in participants with DN (135 ± 26 mmHg vs 121 ± 13 mmHg; P = 0.002). In participants without DR, 27/30 were married or cohabitating, and only 3/30 were single, never married, or widowed, but for those with proliferative DR (PDR), 13/26 had been married (P = 0.003). A rural or urban origin and SBP were associated with DN in the multivariable analysis.


we have shown that higher socioeconomic status, indicated by birth in an urban area, and being married or cohabitating, are accompanied by better blood pressure control and a lower risk of microvascular complications in Chinese patients with long-standing T1DM. These findings illustrate the importance of improving care for patients with T1DM in China.

Open access

Eric Seidel, Gudrun Walenda, Clemens Messerschmidt, Benedikt Obermayer, Mirko Peitzsch, Paal Wallace, Rohini Bahethi, Taekyeong Yoo, Murim Choi, Petra Schrade, Sebastian Bachmann, Gerhard Liebisch, Graeme Eisenhofer, Dieter Beule, and Ute I Scholl

Mitotane is the only drug approved for the therapy of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). Its clinical use is limited by the occurrence of relapse during therapy. To investigate the underlying mechanisms in vitro, we here generated mitotane-resistant cell lines. After long-term pulsed treatment of HAC-15 human adrenocortical carcinoma cells with 70 µM mitotane, we isolated monoclonal cell populations of treated cells and controls and assessed their respective mitotane sensitivities by MTT assay. We performed exome sequencing and electron microscopy, conducted gene expression microarray analysis and determined intracellular lipid concentrations in the presence and absence of mitotane. Clonal cell lines established after pulsed treatment were resistant to mitotane (IC50 of 102.2 ± 7.3 µM (n = 12) vs 39.4 ± 6.2 µM (n = 6) in controls (biological replicates, mean ± s.d., P = 0.0001)). Unlike nonresistant clones, resistant clones maintained normal mitochondrial and nucleolar morphology during mitotane treatment. Resistant clones largely shared structural and single nucleotide variants, suggesting a common cell of origin. Resistance depended, in part, on extracellular lipoproteins and was associated with alterations in intracellular lipid homeostasis, including levels of free cholesterol, as well as decreased steroid production. By gene expression analysis, resistant cells showed profound alterations in pathways including steroid metabolism and transport, apoptosis, cell growth and Wnt signaling. These studies establish an in vitro model of mitotane resistance in ACC and point to underlying molecular mechanisms. They may enable future studies to overcome resistance in vitro and improve ACC treatment in vivo.

Open access

Giovanni Tulipano

A variety of endocrine and metabolic signals regulate pituitary cell function acting through the hypothalamus-pituitary neuroendocrine axes or directly at the pituitary level. The underlying intracellular transduction mechanisms in pituitary cells are still debated. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) functions as a cellular sensor of low energy stores in all mammalian cells and promotes adaptive changes in response to calorie restriction. It is also regarded as a target for therapy of proliferative disorders. Various hormones and drugs can promote tissue-specific activation or inhibition of AMPK by enhancing or inhibiting AMPK phosphorylation, respectively. This review explores the preclinical studies published in the last decade that investigate the role of AMP-activated protein kinase in the intracellular transduction pathways downstream of endocrine and metabolic signals or drugs affecting pituitary cell function, and its role as a target for drug therapy of pituitary proliferative disorders. The effects of the hypoglycemic agent metformin, which is an indirect AMPK activator, are discussed. The multiple effects of metformin on cell metabolism and cell signalling and ultimately on cell function may be either dependent or independent of AMPK. The in vitro effects of metformin may also help highlighting differences in metabolic requirements between pituitary adenomatous cells and normal cells.

Open access

Volha V Zhukouskaya, Anya Rothenbuhler, Annamaria Colao, Carolina Di Somma, Peter Kamenický, Séverine Trabado, Dominique Prié, Christelle Audrain, Anna Barosi, Christèle Kyheng, Anne-Sophie Lambert, and Agnès Linglart


X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) is a rare disease characterized by low phosphate levels. Scientific evidence points to a link between hypophosphatemia and obesity in general population. The aim of our longitudinal observational study was to investigate the prevalence of obesity and associated factors in a large cohort of children with XLH.


We studied 172 XLH-children 5–20 years of age (113 girls/59 boys). Anthropometric parameters (weight, height, and BMI) were collected at birth and during follow-up at mean ages of 5.3, 8.2, 11.3, and 15.9 years (groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). In each group, subjects were classified based on International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) cut off values of BMI for age and sex as overweight or obese (IOTF 25–30 or ≥30 kg/m2, respectively).


In each age-group, almost 1/3 of XLH-patients were classified as overweight or obese (29.4, 28.7, 27.5, and 36.7% in groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Children without a XLH-family history had higher BMI-IOTF at every point of follow-up, compared to those with positive XLH-family history. Similarly, higher BMI-IOTF was significantly associated with treatment duration (23.3 ± 4.4 vs 23.8 ± 3.8 vs 25.2 ± 4.5 kg/m2, for subjects with treatment duration of <5, 5–10 and >10 years, respectively, P for trend = 0.025). Multiple regression analysis confirmed an association of treatment duration and lack of XLH-family history with higher BMI-IOTF.


One out of three of XLH-children have phenotypically unfavourable metabolic profile expressed as increased prevalence of overweight or obesity in comparison to general population. Both the lack of XLH family history and the duration of treatment increase the risk of higher BMI-IOTF. BMI should be carefully monitored in children, and later in adults, with XLH.

Open access

Silan Zheng, Meifeng Tong, Lianqin Dong, Chunmin Du, Xin Zheng, Liying Wang, Peiying Huang, Wei Liu, Mingzhu Lin, and Changqin Liu


To explore the independent associations of the new adiposity indices lipid accumulation product (LAP) index, visceral adiposity index (VAI), and product of triglycerides and glucose (TyG) with the risks of hepatic steatosis (HS) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


This is a cross-sectional study with 101 women with PCOS undergoing controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) measurement who were recruited from November 2018 to August 2019. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the associations of adiposity indices with HS.


Among the 101 PCOS patients, the prevalence rate of HS was 70.3%. The PCOS patients with HS have higher percentage of overweight/obesity status, higher level of aminotransferase (AST and ALT), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), LAP, VAI, TyG, waist circumference (WC), and BMI (P < 0.05). Partial correlation analysis showed LAP, WC and BMI were significantly positively associated with CAP (P < 0.05) after controlling for confounding factors. Besides, BMI, WC, and CAP were gradually elevated with the increase of LAP level. Further, multivariable logistic regression analysis showed adjusted odd ratio (OR) with associated 95% CI (OR (95% CI)) were respectively 1.09 (1.03–1.16) for LAP, 1.14 (1.05–1.23) for WC, 1.28 (1.08–1.51) for BMI, respectively.


The present study demonstrates that in women with PCOS, except for the traditional adiposity indices (WC and BMI), LAP is independently correlated with the risk of HS.

Open access

Alexis Sudlow, Carel W le Roux, and Dimitri J Pournaras

Bariatric surgery is established as a highly effective treatment for obesity and related metabolic complications. Although once seen as a last resort for patients with obesity, given the data demonstrating the profound weight loss, improvement in comorbidity and safety, perceptions have since shifted. There is evidence from 12 RCTs demonstrating its safety and efficacy in terms of weight loss which is sustained in the long term with a resultant improvement in co-morbidity. Clinicians are increasingly recognising the importance of timely intervention to maximise the effects of bariatric surgery, particularly in light of the low likelihood of being able to adequately manage patients with medication or lifestyle interventions alone. The inclusion of bariatric surgery in the standard treatment algorithm has been a step forward in the approach to treating patients with obesity. What remains challenging for clinicians is knowing which procedure is most beneficial to patients. There is no level one data demonstrating the superiority of one procedure over another. Head to head RCTs are ongoing which may shed light on this question; however, it is likely that there is no single procedure that will be demonstrated to be the gold standard. Herein we review the most commonly performed procedures along with the evidence available to support their effects with regards to weight loss and metabolic changes along with their limitations and recognised risks. The aim is to provide a general framework to allow clinicians to take advantage of the variety of operative approaches to tailor their treatment strategy to the individual patient.

Open access

Mardia López-Alarcón, Jessie N Zurita-Cruz, Alonso Torres-Rodríguez, Karla Bedia-Mejía, Manuel Pérez-Güemez, Leonel Jaramillo-Villanueva, Mario E Rendón-Macías, Jose R Fernández, and Patricia Martínez-Maroñas

Childhood obesity is associated with stress. However, most treatment strategies include only dietary and physical activity approaches. Mindfulness may assist in weight reduction, but its effectiveness is unclear. We assessed the effect of mindfulness on stress, appetite regulators, and weight of children with obesity and anxiety. A clinical study was conducted in a pediatric hospital. Eligible children were 10–14 years old, BMI ≥95th percentile, Spence anxiety score ≥55, and who were not taking any medication or supplementation. Participants were assigned to receive an 8-week conventional nutritional intervention (CNI) or an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention plus CNI (MND-CNI). Anthropometry, body composition, leptin, insulin, ghrelin, cortisol, and Spence scores were measured at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Anthropometry was analyzed again 8 weeks after concluding interventions. Log-transformed and delta values were calculated for analysis. Thirty-three MND-CNI and 12 CNI children finished interventions; 17 MND-CNI children accomplished 16 weeks. At the end of the intervention, significant reductions in anxiety score (−6.21 ± 1.10), BMI (−0.45 ± 1.2 kg/m2), body fat (−1.28 ± 0.25%), ghrelin (−0.71 ± 0.37 pg/mL), and serum cortisol (−1.42 ± 0.94 µg/dL) were observed in MND-CNI children. Changes in anxiety score, ghrelin, and cortisol were different between groups (P < 0.05). Children who completed 16 weeks decreased BMI after intervention (−0.944 ± 0.20 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and remained lower 8 weeks later (−0.706 ± 0.19 kg/m2, P = 0.001). We concluded that mindfulness is a promising tool as an adjunctive therapy for childhood obesity. However, our findings need confirmation in a larger sample population.

Open access

Kunal Thakkar, Swati Ramteke-Jadhav, Rajeev Kasaliwal, Saba Samad Memon, Virendra Patil, Puja Thadani, Nilesh Lomte, Shilpa Sankhe, Atul Goel, Sridhar Epari, Naina Goel, Anurag Lila, Nalini S Shah, and Tushar Bandgar


Most common incidentally detected sellar-suprasellar region (SSR) masses are pituitary adenomas, followed by craniopharyngioma, rathke’s cleft cyst, hypophysitis, and meningioma. Besides these, certain unusual SSR lesions can sometimes present as diagnostic challenges, where diagnosis is often made post-operatively on histopathology, the pre-operative suspicion of which might have influenced the management strategies. Series describing such masses are few.


To present clinical, biochemical, and radiological characteristics and management outcomes of rare SSR lesions other than pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngioma, rathke’s cleft cyst, hypophysitis, and meningioma.

Design, setting, patients

Retrospective case record analysis of patients with uncommon SSR masses (from January 2006 to December 2016).


Our series consisted of ten patients, five with neoplastic and five with non-neoplastic lesions. Neoplastic masses included granular cell tumor (n = 2), astrocytoma (n = 1), malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST, n = 1), and metastasis from occult papillary carcinoma of thyroid (n = 1), while non-neoplastic masses were aspergillus abscess (n = 1), sterile abscess (n = 1), and tubercular abscess (n = 1), aneurysm of left internal carotid artery (n = 1), and ruptured dermoid cyst (n = 1). All patients (except one) presented with headache and/or visual disturbance. Only one patient had acromegaly while most others had hypopituitarism. We describe detailed MRI characteristics of each of the lesion. Seven patients underwent trans-sphenoidal surgery. Post-operatively, five patients had permanent diabetes insipidus, while two patients died in early post-operative period.


Our series expand the differential diagnostic considerations of SSR lesions. Most of the rare SSR masses present with symptoms of mass effects and hypopituitarism. Except for some non-neoplastic lesions like sellar abscesses, aneurysms, and dermoid cysts which can have some specific imaging characteristics that can provide clue to pre-operative diagnosis, most of the other neoplastic masses have overlapping radiological features, and pre-operative suspicion remains difficult.

Open access

Katherine U Gaynor, Irina V Grigorieva, Samantha M Mirczuk, Sian E Piret, Kreepa G Kooblall, Mark Stevenson, Karine Rizzoti, Michael R Bowl, M Andrew Nesbit, Paul T Christie, William D Fraser, Tertius Hough, Michael P Whyte, Robin Lovell-Badge, and Rajesh V Thakker

Hypoparathyroidism is genetically heterogeneous and characterized by low plasma calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations. X-linked hypoparathyroidism (XLHPT) in two American families is associated with interstitial deletion-insertions involving deletions of chromosome Xq27.1 downstream of SOX3 and insertions of predominantly non-coding DNA from chromosome 2p25.3. These could result in loss, gain, or movement of regulatory elements, which include ultraconserved element uc482, which could alter SOX3 expression. To investigate this, we analysed SOX3 expression in EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cells from three affected males, three unaffected males, and four carrier females from one XLHPT family. SOX3 expression was similar in all individuals, indicating that the spatiotemporal effect of the interstitial deletion-insertion on SOX3 expression postulated to occur in developing parathyroids did not manifest in lymphoblastoids. Expression of SNTG2, which is duplicated and inserted into the X chromosome, and ATP11C, which is moved telomerically, were also similarly expressed in all individuals. Investigation of male hemizygous (Sox3 −/Y and uc482 −/Y) and female heterozygous (Sox3 +/ and uc482 +/ ) knockout mice, together with wild-type littermates (male Sox3 +/Y and uc482 +/Y, and female Sox3 +/+ and uc482 +/+), revealed Sox3 −/Y, Sox3 +/ , uc482 /Y, and uc482 +/ mice to have normal plasma biochemistry, compared to their respective wild-type littermates. When challenged with a low calcium diet, all mice had hypocalcaemia, and elevated plasma PTH concentrations and alkaline phosphatase activities, and Sox3 −/Y, Sox3 +/ , uc482 −/Y, and uc482 +/ mice had similar plasma biochemistry, compared to wild-type littermates. Thus, these results indicate that absence of Sox3 or uc482 does not cause hypoparathyroidism and that XLHPT likely reflects a more complex mechanism.