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Open access

Sylvia Thiele, Anke Hannemann, Maria Winzer, Ulrike Baschant, Heike Weidner, Matthias Nauck, Rajesh V Thakker, Martin Bornhäuser, Lorenz C Hofbauer and Martina Rauner

Glucocorticoids (GC) are used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including various forms of arthritis. However, their use is limited, amongst others, by adverse effects on bone. The Wnt and bone formation inhibitor sclerostin was recently implicated in the pathogenesis of GC-induced osteoporosis. However, data are ambiguous. The aim of this study was to assess the regulation of sclerostin by GC using several mouse models with high GC levels and two independent cohorts of patients treated with GC. Male 24-week-old C57BL/6 and 18-week-old DBA/1 mice exposed to GC and 12-week-old mice with endogenous hypercortisolism displayed reduced bone formation as indicated by reduced levels of P1NP and increased serum sclerostin levels. The expression of sclerostin in femoral bone tissue and GC-treated bone marrow stromal cells, however, was not consistently altered. In contrast, GC dose- and time-dependently suppressed sclerostin at mRNA and protein levels in human mesenchymal stromal cells, and this effect was GC receptor dependent. In line with the human cell culture data, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA, n = 101) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR, n = 21) who were exposed to GC had lower serum levels of sclerostin than healthy age- and sex-matched controls (−40%, P < 0.01 and −26.5%, P < 0.001, respectively). In summary, sclerostin appears to be differentially regulated by GC in mice and humans as it is suppressed by GCs in humans but is not consistently altered in mice. Further studies are required to delineate the differences between GC regulation of sclerostin in mice and humans and assess whether sclerostin mediates GC-induced osteoporosis in humans.

Open access

Changjiao Yan, Meiling Huang, Xin Li, Ting Wang and Rui Ling

Objective

To investigate the mutant status of BRAF gene and analyze its relationship to epidemiological risk factors and clinical outcomes among patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in the largest, single-institution Chinese cohort to date.

Methods

The medical records of 2048 PTC patients were reviewed in this retrospective study. Single-factor and multiple logistic regression analyses were applied to identify risk factors for BRAF V600E mutation. Survival outcomes including distant metastatic and persistent or recurrent PTC were examined, with a mean follow-up time of 23.4 (5–47) months.

Results

The BRAF V600E mutation was present in 83.7% of patients (1715 of 2048). Correlation was found between BRAF V600E mutation and several epidemiological features, including age, concomitant hypertension and Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT). For the clinicopathological features, BRAF V600E was significantly associated with bilateral multifocality (odds ratio (OR) 1.233, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.063–1.431, P < 0.01) and less lateral lymph node metastases (OR 0.496, 95% CI 0.357–0.689, P < 0.01). Smaller tumor size and advanced disease stage were significant in single-factor analyses but became insignificant after multivariate adjustment. No association was found between BRAF V600E mutation and extrathyroidal invasion, distant metastatic and disease persistence or recurrence.

Conclusion

Part of epidemiological features are independent risk or protective factors for BRAF V600E mutation. The presence of BRAF V600E mutation is not an aggressive prognosis on poor clinical outcomes in PTC. However, the high prevalence of BRAF V600E may provide guidance for surgery strategy and opportunity for targeted treatment in recurrent and advanced stage disease.

Open access

Karim Gariani, Pedro Marques-Vidal, Gérard Waeber, Peter Vollenweider and François R Jornayvaz

Background

Excessive glucocorticoid secretion has been associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and other features of the metabolic syndrome. We aimed to evaluate whether basal or evening salivary cortisol may predict the occurrence of incident insulin resistance (IR) or T2DM.

Method

This was a prospective, population-based study derived from the CoLaus/PsyCoLaus study including 1525 participants (aged 57.7 ± 10.3 years; 725 women). A total of 1149 individuals were free from T2DM at baseline. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin were measured after a follow-up of 5.3 years. Basal and evening salivary cortisol were measured at baseline. The association between basal or evening salivary cortisol level and incidence of IR or T2DM were analyzed by logistic regression, and the results were expressed for each independent variable as ORs and 95% CI.

Results

After a median follow-up of 5.3 years, a total of 376 subjects (24.7%) developed IR and 32 subjects (2.1%) developed T2DM. Basal and evening salivary cortisol divided in quartiles were not associated with incidence of IR or T2DM. Multivariable analysis for age, gender, body mass index, physical activity and smoking status showed no association between basal or evening salivary cortisol and incidence of IR or T2DM.

Conclusion

In the CoLaus/PsyCoLaus study of healthy adults, neither basal nor evening salivary cortisol was associated with incident IR or T2DM.

Open access

Nidan Qiao

Introduction

Machine learning methods in sellar region diseases present a particular challenge because of the complexity and the necessity for reproducibility. This systematic review aims to compile the current literature on sellar region diseases that utilized machine learning methods and to propose a quality assessment tool and reporting checklist for future studies.

Methods

PubMed and Web of Science were searched to identify relevant studies. The quality assessment included five categories: unmet needs, reproducibility, robustness, generalizability and clinical significance.

Results

Seventeen studies were included with the diagnosis of general pituitary neoplasms, acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, craniopharyngioma and growth hormone deficiency. 87.5% of the studies arbitrarily chose one or two machine learning models. One study chose ensemble models, and one study compared several models. 43.8% of studies did not provide the platform for model training, and roughly half did not offer parameters or hyperparameters. 62.5% of the studies provided a valid method to avoid over-fitting, but only five reported variations in the validation statistics. Only one study validated the algorithm in a different external database. Four studies reported how to interpret the predictors, and most studies (68.8%) suggested possible clinical applications of the developed algorithm. The workflow of a machine-learning study and the recommended reporting items were also provided based on the results.

Conclusions

Machine learning methods were used to predict diagnosis and posttreatment outcomes in sellar region diseases. Though most studies had substantial unmet need and proposed possible clinical application, replicability, robustness and generalizability were major limits in current studies.

Open access

Masafumi Tetsuka and Misato Tanakadate

The bovine cumulus-oocyte complex (COC) is capable of converting cortisone, an inert glucocorticoid to active cortisol. This mechanism is mediated by 11β-hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase type 1 (HSD11B1), whose expression dramatically increases in the mature COC. In this study, we investigate the time course expression of HSD11B1 and the enzyme activity in the bovine COC undergoing maturation and fertilization in relation to key events taking place in the COC. Bovine COCs were subjected to in vitro maturation (IVM) and fertilization (IVF). The activities of HSD11B1 and HSD11B2, which mediates the opposite reaction, were measured by using a radiometric conversion assay. In parallel studies, cumulus expansion, P4 production, and the expression of genes associated with ovulation were measured. The reductive activity of HSD11B1 increased in the latter half of IVM and remained high during IVF, whereas the oxidative activity of HSD11B2 remained unchanged over both periods. Consequently, the net glucocorticoid metabolism in the bovine COC shifted from inactivation to activation around the time of ovulation and fertilization. The increase in HSD11B1 expression lagged behind that of P4 increase and cumulus expansion but ahead of the expressions of genes responsible for PGE2 synthesis. The reductive activity of HSD11B1 was well correlated with the cumulus expansion rate. This outcome indicates that the ability of the cumulus to activate glucocorticoids is related to its ability to synthesize hyaluronan. These results also indicate that the activation of HSD11B1 is an integral part of the sequential events taking place at the ovulation and fertilization in the bovine COC.

Open access

Kosmas Daskalakis, Marina Tsoli, Anna Angelousi, Evanthia Kassi, Krystallenia I Alexandraki, Denise Kolomodi, Gregory Kaltsas and Anna Koumarianou

Comparisons between everolimus and sunitinib regarding their efficacy and safety in neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are scarce. We retrospectively analysed the clinicopathological characteristics and outcomes in 92 patients with well-differentiated (WD) NEN of different origin (57 pancreatic NENs (PanNENs)), treated with molecular targeted therapy (MTT) with everolimus or sunitinib, first- (73:19) or second-line (sequential; 12:22) for progressive disease. Disease control rates (DCR: partial response or stable disease) at first-line were higher in all patients treated with everolimus than sunitinib (64/73 vs 12/19, P = 0.012). In PanNENs, DCR at first-line everolimus was 36/42 versus 9/15 with sunitinib (P = 0.062). Progression-free survival (PFS) at first-line everolimus was longer than sunitinib (31 months (95% CI: 23.1–38.9) vs 9 months (95% CI: 0–18.5); log-rank P < 0.0001) in the whole cohort and the subset of PanNENs (log-rank P < 0.0001). Median PFS at second-line MTT was 12 months with everolimus (95% CI: 4.1–19.9) vs 13 months with sunitinib (95% CI: 9.3–16.7; log-rank P = 0.951). Treatment with sunitinib (HR: 3.47; 95% CI: 1.5–8.3; P value: 0.005), KI67 >20% (HR: 6.38; 95% CI: 1.3–31.3; P = 0.022) and prior chemotherapy (HR: 2.71; 95% CI: 1.2–6.3; P = 0.021) were negative predictors for PFS at first line in multivariable and also confirmed at multi-state modelling analyses. Side effect (SE) analysis indicated events of serious toxicities (Grades 3 and 4: n = 13/85 for everolimus and n = 4/41 for sunitinib). Discontinuation rate due to SEs was 20/85 for everolimus versus 4/41 for sunitinib (P = 0.065). No additive toxicity of second-line MTT was confirmed. Based on these findings, and until reliable predictors of response become available, everolimus may be preferable to sunitinib when initiating MTT in progressive NENs.

Open access

Vito Francic, Martin Keppel, Verena Schwetz, Christian Trummer, Marlene Pandis, Valentin Borzan, Martin R Grübler, Nicolas D Verheyen, Marcus E Kleber, Graciela Delgado, Angela P Moissl, Benjamin Dieplinger, Winfried März, Andreas Tomaschitz, Stefan Pilz and Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch

Objective

Cardiovascular disease manifestation and several associated surrogate markers, such as vitamin D, have shown substantial seasonal variation. A promising cardiovascular biomarker, soluble ST2 (sST2), has not been investigated in this regard – we therefore determined if systemic levels of sST2 are affected by seasonality and/or vitamin D in order to investigate their clinical interrelation and usability.

Design

sST2 levels were measured in two cohorts involving hypertensive patients at cardiovascular risk, the Styrian Vitamin D Hypertension Trial (study A; RCT design, 8 weeks 2800 IU cholecalciferol daily) and the Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health Study (LURIC; study B; cross-sectional design).

Methods

The effects of a vitamin D intervention on sST2 levels were determined in study A using ANCOVA, while seasonality of sST2 levels was determined in study B using ANOVA.

Results

The concentrations of sST2 remained unchanged by a vitamin D intervention in study A, with a mean treatment effect (95% confidence interval) of 0.1 (−0.6 to 0.8) ng/mL; P = 0.761), despite a rise in 25(OH)D (11.3 (9.2–13.5) ng/mL; P < 0.001) compared to placebo. In study B, seasonal variations were present in 25(OH)D levels in men and women with or without heart failure (P < 0.001 for all subgroups), while sST2 levels remained unaffected by the seasons in all subgroups.

Conclusions

Our study provides the first evidence that systemic sST2 levels are not interrelated with vitamin D levels or influenced by the seasons in subjects at cardiovascular risk.

Open access

Guoquan Zhu, Yuying Deng, Liqin Pan, Wei Ouyang, Huijuan Feng, Juqing Wu, Pan Chen, Jing Wang, Yanying Chen and Jiaxin Luo

The goal of this study was to explore the relationship of the BRAFV600E mutation with clinicopathologic factors and evaluate the effect of radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy in a large group of intermediate- and high-risk papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients with the BRAFV600E mutation and without distant metastases. We collected data for PTC patients who underwent total or near-total thyroidectomy and RAI treatment in our hospital from January 2014–December 2017. There were 1220 PTC patients who met the criteria, and the BRAFV600E mutation was observed in 979 of them (80.2%). Multivariate analysis identified that the BRAFV600E mutation remained independently associated with age at diagnosis, and bilaterality (OR = 1.023, 95% CI = 1.012–1.039, P < 0.001; OR = 1.685, 95% CI = 1.213–2.341, P = 0.002, respectively). In addition, the patients with bilateral PTCs had a higher prevalence of extrathyroid invasion, capsular invasion and fusion of metastatic lymph nodes than the unilateral PTC patients. The response to RAI therapy was evaluated in both the entire series and the patients with a high recurrence risk; no significant difference was discerned between the BRAFV600E mutation and the wild-type groups (P = 0.237 and P = 0.498, respectively). To summarize, our results confirmed that PTC patients with the BRAFV600E mutation exhibit more aggressive characteristics. In addition, the patients with bilateral PTC have a higher incidence of extrathyroid invasion. Moreover, BRAFV600E mutation PTC patients did not show a poorer clinical response after postsurgical RAI therapy, suggesting that RAI therapy may improve the general clinical outcome of these patients.

Open access

Yiyan Wang, Yaoyao Dong, Yinghui Fang, Yao Lv, Qiqi Zhu, Xiaoheng Li, Qingquan Lian and Renshan Ge

Glucocorticoid hormone might cause intrauterine growth restriction. The glucocorticoid metabolizing enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (HSD11B2) in the placenta eliminates excess levels of glucocorticoids during pregnancy. The aim of the current study was to define the effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES) on HSD11B2 activity in the mammalian placentas and identify its mode of action. Rat and human placental microsomal HSD11B2 were incubated with different concentrations of DES and IC50 values were determined. The mode of action was analyzed by incubation of DES together with substrates, glucocorticoid and NAD+. DES suppressed rat and human HSD11B2 with IC50 values of 5.33 and 12.62 μM, respectively. DES was a competitive inhibitor of rat and human HSD11B2 when steroid substrates were added, while it was an uncompetitive inhibitor when cofactor NAD+ was exposed. Oral administration of DES (0.5 mg/kg) to the rat delayed the cortisol metabolism in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats, as indicated by the increases in cortisol’s elimination half-life, maximum concentration, and AUC. In conclusion, DES is a potent HSD11B2 inhibitor, possibly contributing to the intrauterine growth restriction.

Open access

Emmanuelle Noirrit, Mélissa Buscato, Marion Dupuis, Bernard Payrastre, Coralie Fontaine, Jean-François Arnal and Marie-Cécile Valera

Estrogen–progestin therapy was previously considered as the standard of care for managing bothersome symptoms associated with menopause, but it increases risks of breast cancer and of thromboembolism. The combination of conjugated estrogen (CE) with bazedoxifene (BZA) named tissue-selective estrogen complex (TSEC) was designed to minimize or even abrogate the undesirable effects on breast, while maintaining the beneficial effects such as prevention of osteoporosis and suppression of climacteric symptoms. The risk on thromboembolism associated with TSEC is unknown, although the clinical available data are reassuring. The aim of this study was to define the impact of a chronic administration of CE, BZA or CE + BZA on hemostasis and thrombosis in ovariectomized mice. As expected, CE, but not BZA neither CE + BZA, induced uterine and vagina hypertrophy. As previously demonstrated for 17β-estradiol (E2), we found that CE (i) increased tail-bleeding time, (ii) prevented occlusive thrombus formation in injured carotid artery and (iii) protected against collagen/epinephrine-induced thromboembolism. Thus, whereas BZA antagonized CE action on reproductive tissues, it had no impact on the effect of CE on hemostasis, thromboembolism and arterial thrombosis in mice. CE + BZA shared the anti-thrombotic actions of CE in these mouse models. If a similar process is at work in women, CE combined with BZA could contribute to minimize the risk of thrombosis associated with hormone replacement therapy.