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Open access

Florian Schederecker, Alexander Cecil, Cornelia Prehn, Jana Nano, Wolfgang Koenig, Jerzy Adamski, Tanja Zeller, Annette Peters and Barbara Thorand

Objective: Sex hormone-binding globulin (SBHG) and androgen have been associated with mortality in women and men, but controversy still exists. Our objective was to investigate associations of SHBG and androgen with all-cause and cause-specific mortality in men and women.

Design: 1006 men and 709 peri- and postmenopausal women (age range: 45-82 years) from the German population-based KORA F4 cohort study were followed up for a median of 8.7 years.

Methods: SHBG was measured with an immunoassay, total testosterone (TT) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) with mass-spectrometry in serum samples and we calculated free testosterone (cFT). To assess associations between SHBG and androgen levels and mortality, we calculated hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using Cox proportional-hazards models.

Results: 128 men (12.7%) and 70 women (9.9%) died. In women, we observed positive associations of SHBG with all-cause (HR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.16-2.04) and with other-cause mortality (HR: 1.86, 95% CI: 1.08-3.20) and for DHT with all-cause mortality (HR: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.00-1.73). In men, we found a positive association of SHBG (HR: 1.24 95% CI: 1.00-1.54) and inverse associations of TT (HR: 0.87, 95% CI: 0.77-0.97) and cFT (HR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.73-0.97) with all-cause mortality. No other associations were found for cause-specific mortality.

Conclusions: Higher SHBG levels were associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality in men and women. Lower TT and cFT levels in men and higher DHT levels in women were associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality. Future, well-powered population-based studies should further investigate cause-specific mortality risk.

Open access

Solène Castellnou, Alexandre Vasiljevic, Véronique Lapras, Véronique Raverot, Eudeline Alix, Françoise Borson-Chazot, Emmanuel Jouanneau, Gérald Raverot and Hélène Lasolle

Objective

Somatostatin receptor type 5 (SST5) is inconsistently expressed by corticotroph tumors, with higher expression found in corticotropinomas having ubiquitin-specific protease 8 (USP8) mutations. Aims were to study the correlation between characteristics of corticotropinomas and SST5 expression/USP8 mutation status and to describe the response to pasireotide in five patients.

Design

Retrospective cohort study.

Methods

Clinico-biochemical, radiological and pathological data of 62 patients, operated for a functioning or silent corticotropinoma between 2013 and 2017, were collected. SST5 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry (clone UMB-4, Abcam, IRS > 1 being considered positive), and Sanger sequencing was performed on 50 tumors to screen for USP8 mutations.

Results

SST5 expression was positive in 26/62 pituitary tumors. A moderate or strong IRS was found in 15/58 corticotropinomas and in 13/35 functioning corticotropinomas. Among functioning tumors, those expressing SST5 were more frequent in women (22/24 vs 9/15, P = 0.04) and had a lower grade (P = 0.04) compared to others. USP8 mutations were identified in 13/50 pituitary tumors and were more frequent in functioning compared to silent tumors (11/30 vs 2/20, P = 0.05). SST5 expression was more frequent in USP8mut vs USP8wt tumors (10/11 vs 7/19, P = 0.007). Among treated patients, normal urinary free cortisol levels were obtained in three patients (IRS 0, 2 and 6), while a four-fold decrease was observed in one patient (IRS 4).

Conclusion

SST5 expression appears to be associated with functioning, USP8mut and lower grade corticotropinomas. A correlation between SST5 expression or USP8mut and response to pasireotide remains to be confirmed.

Open access

Anna Olsson-Brown, Rosemary Lord, Joseph Sacco, Jonathan Wagg, Mark Coles and Munir Pirmohamed

Intoduction: Immune checkpoint inhibitors can lead to thyroid dysfunction. However the understanding of the clinical phenotype of ICI-induced thyroid dysfunction in the real-world population is limited. The purpose of this study was to characterise the clinical patterns of dysfunction and evaluate the demographic, biochemical and immunological features associated with this patient cohort.

Materials and Methods: To characterise the longitudinal clinical course of thyroid dysfunction in patients from a single, UK regional cancer centre a retrospective review of patients was conducted. Inclusion criteria included all patients treated with antiPD-1 checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), either as monotherapy (pembrolizumab/nivolumab) or in combination with a CTLA-4 inhibitor (ipilimumab). Patterns of toxicity were evaluated together with assessment of antibody titres.

Results: Over 16 months, thyroid dysfunction was seen in 13/90 and 3/13 patients treated with anti-PD1 monotherapy, and in combination with the anti-CTLA4 ICI ipilimumab, respectively. Patients either developed hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism 12/16 or de novo hypothyroidism 4/16. Most patients were female (n=11). All patients required thyroid replacement therapy. There was no relationship between clinical pattern of dysfunction and the presence of thyroid autoantibodies.

Conclusions: There are two distinct patterns of thyroid dysfunction in ICI-treated patients. Patients with thyroiditis develop subsequent hypothyroidism in the vast majority of cases. The potential benefit from steroids or other therapy to manage the hyperthyroid phase remains unclear. Early detection of these patients through appropriate monitoring will improve clinical management and early hormone replacement reducing the symptomatic burden of hypothyroidism.

Open access

Li Li, Qifa Song and Xi Yang

Insufficient insulin release plays a crucial role in the development of unhealthy status in patients with obesity; the present study aimed to classify these patients by the indices for insulin resistance and insulin release. After the indices from OGTT were assessed to achieve high differentiability and low redundancy in classifying patients, HOMA-IR and IGI30min were chosen to classify the patients using K-means clustering method. A total of 249 non-diabetic patients with obesity were classified into four groups. In Group 1, 19 patients were characteristic of high insulin resistance and high insulin release, as well as well-controlled glucose levels, the highest BMI, the youngest age, and the highest early phase release of insulin. In Group 2, 38 patients were unhealthiest in terms of high insulin resistance, reduced insulin release and IGT status. Group 3 consisted of 63 patients that were healthiest with low insulin resistance and high insulin release. In Group 4, 46 IGT patients and 14 IFG patients were identified among 129 patients that showed low insulin resistance, low insulin release, moderate obesity and older age. These concurrent impotent insulin release, older age, and moderate obesity indicated decreasing obesity with increasing age and reduced insulin release. The classification of patients with obesity using K-means clustering method by HOMA-IR and IGI30min provides more information about the development of obesity and unhealthy status. The patients with distinct insulin resistance and insulin release should be followed up, especially for those with reduced or even absent insulin response to glucose stimulation.

Open access

Monika Karczewska-Kupczewska, Agnieszka Nikołajuk, Radosław Majewski, Remigiusz Filarski, Magdalena Stefanowicz, Natalia Matulewicz and Marek Strączkowski

Objective

Insulin resistance is a major pathophysiological link between obesity and its metabolic complications. Weight loss (WL) is an effective tool to prevent obesity-related diseases; however, the mechanisms of an improvement in insulin sensitivity (IS) after weight-reducing interventions are not completely understood. The aim of the present study was to analyze the relationships between IS and adipose tissue (AT) expression of the genes involved in the regulation of lipolysis in obese subjects after WL.

Methods

Fifty-two obese subjects underwent weight-reducing dietary intervention program. The control group comprised 20 normal-weight subjects, examined at baseline only. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and s.c. AT biopsy with subsequent gene expression analysis were performed before and after the program.

Results

AT expression of genes encoding lipases (PNPLA2, LIPE and MGLL) and lipid-droplet proteins enhancing (ABHD5) and inhibiting lipolysis (PLIN1 and CIDEA) were decreased in obese individuals in comparison with normal-weight individuals. The group of 38 obese participants completed dietary intervention program and clamp studies, which resulted in a significant WL and an improvement in mean IS. However, in nine subjects from this group IS did not improve in response to WL. AT expression of PNPLA2, LIPE and PLIN1 increased only in the group without IS improvement.

Conclusions

Excessive lipolysis may prevent an improvement in IS during WL. The change in AT PNPLA2 and LIPE expression was a negative predictor of the change in IS after WL.

Open access

Sebastião Freitas de Medeiros, Márcia Marly Winck Yamamoto, Matheus Antônio Souto de Medeiros, Bruna Barcelo Barbosa, José Maria Soares Junior and Edmund Chada Baracat

Objective

To verify whether aging can modify the clinical and biochemical characteristics of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Material and methods

This observational cross-sectional study was conducted at the reproductive endocrinology clinics of Julio Muller University Hospital and Tropical Institute of Reproductive Medicine in Cuiabá, MT, Brazil, between 2003 and 2017. Both, 796 PCOS and 444 non-PCOS normal cycling women underwent the same examination. PCOS was diagnosed using the Rotterdam criteria as recommended for adolescent and adult subjects. Anthropometric, metabolic, and endocrinological modifications with aging were initially examined in the two groups: control and PCOS. Further analyses were performed after a 5-year age stratification of data throughout the reproductive period. All participants signed a consent form approved by the local ethical committee.

Results

Biomarkers of adiposity were more remarkable in African descendant PCOS women. Body weight, waist/hip ratio, fat mass, and BMI were higher in PCOS women and tended to increase at all 5 age-strata, between ≤19 and 35 years of age. Serum androgen levels decreased with aging, markedly in PCOS subjects (P < 0.01 for all age-strata comparisons), but remained elevated when compared with the levels found in controls. Carbohydrate markers, triglycerides, and total cholesterol tended to increase over time in PCOS (P < 0.01 for all age-strata comparisons). Total cholesterol also tended to increase with age in non-PCOS women (P = 0.041).

Conclusion

The present study has shown that the advancing age influences many features of PCOS women. Biochemical hyperandrogenism, the core criterion recommended in the current systems to define the syndrome, showed statistically significant tendencies to decrease with aging progression but did not normalize. The use of age-adjusted features for the diagnosis of PCOS are recommended.

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

Objective

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.