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Open access

Thomas Crezee, Mirela Petrulea, Doina Piciu, Martin Jaeger, Jan W A Smit, Theo S Plantinga, Carmen E Georgescu, and Romana Netea-Maier

The PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway plays a central role in the development of non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (NMTC). Although somatic mutations have been identified in these genes in NMTC patients, the role of germline variants has not been investigated. Here, we selected frequently occurring genetic variants in AKT1, AKT2, AKT3, PIK3CA and MTOR and have assessed their effect on NMTC susceptibility, progression and clinical outcome in a Dutch discovery cohort (154 patients, 188 controls) and a Romanian validation cohort (159 patients, 260 controls). Significant associations with NMTC susceptibility were observed for AKT1 polymorphisms rs3803304, rs2494732 and rs2498804 in the Dutch discovery cohort, of which the AKT1 rs3803304 association was confirmed in the Romanian validation cohort. No associations were observed between PI3K-Akt-mTOR polymorphisms and clinical parameters including histology, TNM staging, treatment response and clinical outcome. Functionally, cells bearing the associated AKT1 rs3803304 risk allele exhibit increased levels of phosphorylated Akt protein, potentially leading to elevated signaling activity of the oncogenic Akt pathway. All together, germline encoded polymorphisms in the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway could represent important risk factors in development of NMTC.

Open access

Letícia Ribeiro Oliveira, Carlos Alberto Longui, Guilherme Guaragna-Filho, José Luiz Costa, Rafael Lanaro, David Antônio Silva, Maria Izabel Chiamolera, Maricilda Palandi de Mello, André Moreno Morcillo, Andrea Trevas Maciel-Guerra, and Gil Guerra-Junior

Objective

Steroid measurement is a challenge in pediatric endocrinology. Currently, liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is considered a gold standard for this purpose. The aim of this study was to compare both LC-MS/MS and immunoassay (IA) for androgens before and after human recombinant chorionic gonadotropin (rhCG) stimulus in children with 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD).

Methods

Nineteen patients with 46,XY DSD were evaluated; all of them were prepubertal and non-gonadectomized. Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), DHEA and androstenedione were measured by IA and LC-MS/MS before and 7 days after rhCG injection. The correlation between IA and LC-MS/MS was analyzed by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (SCC). For concordance analysis the Passing and Bablok (PB) regression and the Bland and Altman (BA) method were used.

Results

Testosterone showed excellent correlation (ICC = 0.960 and SCC = 0.964); DHT showed insignificant and moderate correlations as indicated by ICC (0.222) and SCC (0.631), respectively; DHEA showed moderate correlation (ICC = 0.585 and SCC = 0.716); and androstenedione had poor and moderate correlations in ICC (0.363) and SCC (0.735), respectively. Using the PB method, all hormones showed a linear correlation, but proportional and systematic concordance errors were detected for androstenedione, systematic errors for testosterone and no errors for DHEA and DHT. By the BA method, there was a trend of IA to overestimate testosterone and androstenedione and underestimate DHEA and DHT when compared to LC-MS/MS.

Conclusion

Traditional IA should be replaced by LC-MS/MS for the androgens measurement in prepubertal children whenever is possible.

Open access

Kinnaree Sorapipatcharoen, Thipwimol Tim-Aroon, Pat Mahachoklertwattana, Wasun Chantratita, Nareenart Iemwimangsa, Insee Sensorn, Bhakbhoom Panthan, Poramate Jiaranai, Saisuda Noojarern, Patcharin Khlairit, Sarunyu Pongratanakul, Chittiwat Suprasongsin, Manassawee Korwutthikulrangsri, Chutintorn Sriphrapradang, and Preamrudee Poomthavorn

Objective

To identify the genetic etiologies of congenital primary hypothyroidism (CH) in Thai patients.

Design and methods

CH patients were enrolled. Clinical characteristics including age, signs and symptoms of CH, pedigree, family history, screened thyroid-stimulating hormone results, thyroid function tests, thyroid imaging, clinical course and treatment of CH were collected. Clinical exome sequencing by next-generation sequencing was performed. In-house gene list which covered 62 potential candidate genes related to CH and thyroid disorders was developed for targeted sequencing. Sanger sequencing was performed to validate the candidate variants. Thyroid function tests were determined in the heterozygous parents who carried the same DUOX2 or DUOXA2 variants as their offsprings.

Results

There were 118 patients (63 males) included. Mean (SD) age at enrollment was 12.4 (7.9) years. Forty-five of 118 patients (38%) had disease-causing variants. Of 45 variants, 7 genes were involved (DUOX2, DUOXA2, TG, TPO, SLC5A5, PAX8 and TSHR). DUOX2, a gene causing thyroid dyshormonogenesis, was the most common defective gene (25/45, 56%). The most common DUOX2 variant found in this study was c.1588A>T. TG and TPO variants were less common. Fourteen novel variants were found. Thyroid function tests of most parents with heterozygous state of DUOX2 and DUOXA2 variants were normal.

Conclusions

DUOX2 variants were most common among Thai CH patients, while TG and TPO variants were less common. The c.1588A>T in DUOX2 gene was highly frequent in this population.

Open access

Hauke Thomsen, Xinjun Li, Kristina Sundquist, Jan Sundquist, Asta Försti, and Kari Hemminki

Design

Addison’s disease (AD) is a rare autoimmune disease (AID) of the adrenal cortex, present as an isolated AD or part of autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes (APSs) 1 and 2. Although AD patients present with a number of AID co-morbidities, population-based family studies are scarce, and we aimed to carry out an unbiased study on AD and related AIDs.

Methods

We collected data on patients diagnosed with AIDs in Swedish hospitals and calculated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) in families for concordant AD and for other AIDs, the latter as discordant relative risks.

Results

The number of AD patients was 2852, which accounted for 0.4% of all hospitalized AIDs. A total of 62 persons (3.6%) were diagnosed with familial AD. The SIR for siblings was remarkably high, reaching 909 for singleton siblings diagnosed before age 10 years. It was 32 in those diagnosed past age 29 years and the risk for twins was 323. SIR was 9.44 for offspring of affected parents. AD was associated with 11 other AIDs, including thyroid AIDs and type 1 diabetes and some rarer AIDs such as Guillain–Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, polymyalgia rheumatica and Sjögren’s syndrome.

Conclusions

The familial risk for AD was very high implicating genetic etiology, which for juvenile siblings may be ascribed to APS-1. The adult part of sibling risk was probably contributed by recessive polygenic inheritance. AD was associated with many common AIDs; some of these were known co-morbidities in AD patients while some other appeared to more specific for a familial setting.

Open access

Anastasia Ibba, Francesca Corrias, Chiara Guzzetti, Letizia Casula, Mariacarolina Salerno, Natascia di Iorgi, Gianluca Tornese, Giuseppa Patti, Giorgio Radetti, Mohamad Maghnie, Marco Cappa, and Sandro Loche

A number of studies have evaluated the role of IGF1 measurement in the diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency (GHD). This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy and the best cut-off of IGF1 SDS in the diagnosis of GHD in a large cohort of short children and adolescents. One-hundred and forty-two children and adolescents with GHD ((63 organic/genetic (OGHD), 79 idiopathic (IGHD)) and 658 short non-GHD children (median age 10.4 years) were included in the analysis. The two groups were subdivided according to age (G1 <6, G2 6 <9, G3 9 <12, G4 ≥12) and to pubertal status. Serum IGFI was measured by the same chemiluminescence assay in all samples and expressed as age- and sex-based SDS. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to evaluate the optimal IGF1 SDS cut-off and the diagnostic accuracy. Median IGF1 SDS was significantly lower in the GHD than in non-GHD patients. The area under the curve (AUC) was 0.69, with the best IGF1 cut-off of −1.5 SDS (sensitivity 67.61%, specificity 62.62%). The AUC was 0.75 for OGHD and 0.63 for IGHD. The accuracy was better in the pubertal (AUC = 0.81) than the prepubertal group (AUC = 0.64). In our cohort, IGF1 measurement has poor accuracy in discriminating GHD from non-GHD. Our findings confirm and reinforce the belief that IGF1 values should not be used alone in the diagnosis of GHD but should be interpreted in combination with other clinical and biochemical parameters.

Open access

Salman Razvi, Sanaa Mrabeti, and Markus Luster

The current standard of care for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine (LT4) monotherapy to reduce levels of thyrotropin (thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH) within its reference range and amelioration of any symptoms. A substantial minority continues to report hypothyroid-like symptoms despite optimized TSH, however. These symptoms are not specific to thyroid dysfunction and are frequent among the euthyroid population, creating a therapeutic dilemma for the treating clinician as well as the patient. We present a concise, narrative review of the clinical research and evidence-based guidance on the management of this challenging population. The clinician may endeavor to ensure that the serum TSH is within the target range. However, the symptomatic patient may turn to alternative non-evidence-based therapies in the hope of obtaining relief. Accordingly, it is important for the clinician to check for conditions unrelated to the thyroid that could account for the ongoing symptoms such as other autoimmune conditions, anemia or mental health disorders. Systematic and thorough investigation of the potential causes of persistent symptoms while receiving LT4 therapy will resolve the problem for most patients. There may be some patients that may benefit from additional treatment with liothyronine (LT3), although it is unclear as yet as to which patient group may benefit the most from combined LT4 + LT3 therapy. In the future, personalized treatment with LT4 + LT3 may be of benefit for some patients with persistent symptoms of hypothyroidism such as those with polymorphisms in the deiodinase enzyme 2 (DIO2). For now, this remains a subject for research.

Open access

Pernille Bækgaard Udesen, Dorte Glintborg, Anja Elaine Sørensen, Rikke Svendsen, Nanna Louise Skov Nielsen, Marie Louise Muff Wissing, Marianne Skovsager Andersen, Anne Lis Mikkelsen Englund, and Louise Torp Dalgaard

Metformin is associated with increased insulin sensitivity, whereas oral contraceptive pills (OCP) could increase the risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Certain miRNAs might serve as biomarkers for the risk of T2D. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in circulating miRNA levels during treatment with metformin and OCP in women with PCOS. Sixty-five women with PCOS according to Rotterdam criteria were randomized to metformin (2 g/day), metformin + OCP (150 mg desogestrel + 30 µg ethinylestradiol) or OCP alone for 12 months. Serum miRNA analysis was performed with individual RT-qPCR or Taqman low density array cards of 22 selected miRNAs previously related to PCOS, glucose and/or lipid metabolism. miR-122 and miR-29a levels were decreased after treatment with metformin compared with metformin + OCP and OCP group: miR-122: log2 difference −0.7 (P = 0.01) and −0.7 (P = 0.02), miR-29a: log2 difference −0.5 (P = 0.01) and −0.4 (P = 0.04), while miR-223 levels were decreased in the metformin + OCP group after treatment: log2 difference −0.5 (P = 0.02). During the treatment period, a significant weight loss was observed in the metformin group compared with the OCP group. In the OCP group, miRNA levels were unchanged during the treatment period. Levels of circulating miRNAs associated with lipid and glucose metabolism decreased during metformin treatment. Changes in miRNA levels in the metformin group could be explained by the simultaneous weight loss in the same group. These results support the notion that metformin treatment alone may be superior for metabolic health compared with OCP.

Open access

Selina Mäkinen, Neeta Datta, Yen H Nguyen, Petro Kyrylenko, Markku Laakso, and Heikki A Koistinen

Objectives

Simvastatin use is associated with muscular side effects, and increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). In clinical use, simvastatin is administered in inactive lipophilic lactone-form, which is then converted to active acid-form in the body. Here, we have investigated if lactone- and acid-form simvastatin differentially affect glucose metabolism and mitochondrial respiration in primary human skeletal muscle cells.

Methods

Muscle cells were exposed separately to lactone- and acid-form simvastatin for 48 h. After pre-exposure, glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis were measured using radioactive tracers; insulin signalling was detected with Western blotting; and glycolysis, mitochondrial oxygen consumption and ATP production were measured with Seahorse XFe96 analyzer.

Results

Lactone-form simvastatin increased glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis, whereas acid-form simvastatin did not affect glucose uptake and decreased glycogen synthesis. Phosphorylation of insulin signalling targets Akt substrate 160 kDa (AS160) and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) was upregulated with lactone-, but not with acid-form simvastatin. Exposure to both forms of simvastatin led to a decrease in glycolysis and glycolytic capacity, as well as to a decrease in mitochondrial respiration and ATP production.

Conclusions

These data suggest that lactone- and acid-forms of simvastatin exhibit differential effects on non-oxidative glucose metabolism as lactone-form increases and acid-form impairs glucose storage into glycogen, suggesting impaired insulin sensitivity in response to acid-form simvastatin. Both forms profoundly impair oxidative glucose metabolism and energy production in human skeletal muscle cells. These effects may contribute to muscular side effects and risk for T2D observed with simvastatin use.

Open access

Hei Yi Vivian Pak, Andrew Lansdown, Peter Taylor, Dafydd Aled Rees, John Stephen Davies, and Caroline Hayhurst

Objective

Acromegaly is a rare condition and there is often a long path to diagnosis for many patients. We sought to explore patient’s perceptions and understanding of acromegaly, to examine the quality of communication and find gaps in the information provided at diagnosis.

Design

A prospective study using qualitative research methodology and grounded theory. A semi-structured interview was conducted with 18 patients treated for acromegaly in a single tertiary centre and verbatim transcripts were thematically analysed for overarching themes.

Results

Eighteen patients with acromegaly were interviewed. The mean age of participants was 52 (range 30–72). Four overarching themes emerged; (1) Patients rely on online resources to understand acromegaly in the time between diagnosis and tertiary care clinic; (2) There is not enough support available for patients; (3) Patients have a basic understanding of acromegaly and associated conditions, but the long-term impact is underestimated; and (4) Patients initially felt intimidated by the multidisciplinary team panel, but overall found it useful.

Conclusion

Acromegalic patients have a strong need for information at the point of initial diagnosis, in particular online resources and interaction with other experienced patients. Wider dissemination of patient educational resources into primary and secondary care settings may improve overall patient satisfaction, treatment adherence and subsequent health care provider–patient relationships.

Open access

Xiaojie Wang, Zhiyuan Chen, Ziyi Li, Bo Chen, Yong Qi, Guowei Li, and Jonathan D Adachi

Background

Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated the risk factors for fall, while few studies investigated the association between frailty and risk of fall in diabetic patients aged ≥45 years.

Methods

In this multicity observational study, participants with type 2 diabetes aged ≥45 years were enrolled. Frailty status was measured by a frailty index (FI) of deficit accumulation. We used multivariable regression models to examine the relationship between frailty and fall in diabetic patients, and further investigated the associations between frailty and fall in varied subgroups.

Results

A total of 2049 participants with type 2 diabetes were identified in our study. Our results showed a per-s.d. and a per-0.01 increment of FI were associated with an increased risk of fall, with a fully adjusted OR of 1.89 (95% CI: 1.50, 2.38), 1.06 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.09), respectively. The effects were magnified when frailty was considered as dichotomous, with an OR of 3.08 (95% CI: 2.18, 4.34). In further subgroup analyses, we found that the females, the older, rural residents, individuals with no sitting toilet, people with poor balance performance and those in poor health status were susceptible to fall. Especially, for the risk of fall in the older, a per-s.d. increase of FI corresponded to an OR of 2.46 (95% CI: 1.68, 3.62). When frailty was regarded as a binary variable, the effect increased to 4.62 (95% CI: 2.54, 8.38) in the older subgroup.

Conclusion

Frailty was associated with a higher risk of fall in people with type 2 diabetes, and the effects were higher in vulnerable groups. This evidence suggested that more attention should be paid to vulnerable groups for fall prevention.