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Open access

Fahim Ebrahimi, Sandrine A Urwyler, Philipp Schuetz, Beat Mueller, Luca Bernasconi, Peter Neyer, Marc Y Donath and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Background

Anti-inflammatory treatment with interleukin-1 (IL-1) antagonism decreases both cortisol and adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) levels in individuals with obesity in short term. However, it remains unknown whether these effects persist upon prolonged treatment.

Methods

In this double-blind, parallel-group trial involving patients with features of the metabolic syndrome, 33 patients were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of anakinra (recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist) subcutaneously twice-daily and 34 patients to receive placebo for 4 weeks. For this analysis, change in cortisol and ACTH levels from baseline to 4 weeks were predefined end points of the trial.

Results

The mean age was 54 years, baseline cortisol levels were 314 nmol/L (IQR 241–385) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were 3.4 mg/L (IQR 1.7–4.8). Treatment with anakinra led to a significant decrease in cortisol levels at day 1 when compared to placebo with an adjusted between-group difference of 28 nmol/L (95% CI, −7 to −43; P = 0.03). After 4 weeks, the cortisol-lowering effect of anakinra was attenuated and overall was statistically not significant (P = 0.72). Injection-site reactions occurred in 21 patients receiving anakinra and were associated with higher CRP and cortisol levels.

Conclusions

IL-1 antagonism decreases cortisol levels in male patients with obesity and chronic low-grade inflammation on the short term. After prolonged treatment, this effect is attenuated, probably due to injection-site reactions (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02672592).

Open access

Giulia Bresciani, Angeliki Ditsiou, Chiara Cilibrasi, Viviana Vella, Federico Rea, Marco Schiavon, Narciso Giorgio Cavallesco, Georgios Giamas, Maria Chiara Zatelli and Teresa Gagliano

Broncho-pulmonary neuroendocrine neoplasms (BP-NENs) are neoplasms orphan of an efficient therapy. Available medical treatments derived from clinical trials are not specific for the management of this malignancy. Sunitinib is a multi-receptor tyrosine-kinases (RTKs) inhibitor that has already shown its efficacy in NENs, but there are no available data about its action in BP-NENs. Therefore, our aim was to understand the effects of RTKs inhibition promoted by sunitinib in order to evaluate new putative targets useful in malignancy treatment. Since our results underlined a role for EGFR and IGF1R in modulating sunitinib antiproliferative action, we investigated the effects of erlotinib, an EGFR inhibitor, and linsitinib, an IGF1R inhibitor, in order to understand their function in regulating cells behaviour. Cell viability and caspase activation were evaluated on two immortalised human BP-NEN cell lines and primary cultures. Our results showed that after treatment with sunitinib and/or IGF1, EGF and VEGF, the antiproliferative effect of sunitinib was counteracted by EGF and IGF1 but not by VEGF. Therefore, we evaluated with AlphaScreen technology the phosphorylated EGFR and IGF1R levels in primary cultures treated with sunitinib and/or EGF and IGF1. Results showed a decrease of p-IGF1R after treatment with sunitinib and an increase after co-treatment with IGF1. Then, we assessed cell viability and caspase activation on BP-NEN cell lines after treatment with linsitinib and/or erlotinib. Results demonstrate that these two agents have a stronger antiproliferative effect compared to sunitinib. In conclusion, our results suggest that IGF1R and EGF1R could represent putative molecular targets in BP-NENs treatment.

Open access

Min Li, Ying Chen, Jingjing Jiang, Yan Lu, Zhiyi Song, Shengjie Zhang, Chao Sun, Hao Ying, Xiaofang Fan, Yuping Song, Jialin Yang and Lin Zhao

Objective

Recent studies have shown that neuregulin 4 (Nrg4), a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family of extracellular ligands, plays an important role in the prevention of obesity, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Considering that thyroid hormone (TH) has profound effects on whole-body energy metabolism, we speculate that circulating Nrg4 levels might be altered in patients with hyperthyroidism.

Design and methods

A total of 129 hyperthyroid patients and 100 healthy subjects were recruited. Of them, 39 hyperthyroid patients received thionamide treatment for 3 months until euthyroidism. Serum Nrg4 levels were determined using the ELISA method. To further confirm the relationship between TH and Nrg4, C57BL/6 mice were treated with T3 and quantitative real-time PCR was performed to detect Nrg4 gene expression.

Results

Serum Nrg4 levels were significantly elevated in hyperthyroid patients as compared with normal controls (3.84 ± 1.63 vs 2.21 ± 1.04 ng/mL, P < 0.001). After achieving euthyroidism by thionamide treatment, serum Nrg4 levels dropped markedly from 3.57 ± 1.26 to 1.94 ± 0.72 ng/ml (P < 0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, serum Nrg4 levels were independently associated with hyperthyroidism. The upregulation of Nrg4 expression in the livers and white adipose tissues by T3 was further confirmed by animal and cell culture experiments.

Conclusions

Serum Nrg4 levels were increased in patients with hyperthyroidism. The liver and white adipose tissue might be primary sources contributing to elevated serum Nrg4 concentrations.

Open access

Qianqian Pang, Yuping Xu, Xuan Qi, Yan Jiang, Ou Wang, Mei Li, Xiaoping Xing, Ling Qin and Weibo Xia

Background

Primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy (PHO) is a rare genetic multi-organic disease characterized by digital clubbing, periostosis and pachydermia. Two genes, HPGD and SLCO2A1, which encodes 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) and prostaglandin transporter (PGT), respectively, have been reported to be related to PHO. Deficiency of aforementioned two genes leads to failure of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) degradation and thereby elevated levels of PGE2. PGE2 plays an important role in tumorigenesis. Studies revealed a tumor suppressor activity of 15-PGDH in tumors, such as lung, bladder and breast cancers. However, to date, no HPGD-mutated PHO patients presenting concomitant tumor has been documented. In the present study, we reported the first case of HPGD-mutated PHO patient with soft tissue giant tumors at lower legs and evaluated the efficacy of selective COX-2 inhibitor (etoricoxib) treatment in the patient.

Methods

In this study, we summarized the clinical data, collected the serum and urine samples for biochemical test and analyzed the HPGD gene in our patient.

Results

A common HPGD mutation c.310_311delCT was identified in the patient. In addition to typical clinical features (digital clubbing, periostosis and pachydermia), the patient demonstrated a new clinical manifestation, a giant soft tissue tumor on the left lower leg which has not been reported in HPGD-mutated PHO patient before. After 6-month treatment with etoricoxib, the patient showed decreased PGE2 levels and improved PHO-related symptoms. Though the soft tissue tumor persisted, it seemed to be controlled under the etoricoxib treatment.

Conclusion

This finding expanded the clinical spectrum of PHO and provided unique insights into the HPGD-mutated PHO.

Open access

Li Jing and Wang Chengji

Metabolomics was used to explore the effect of exercise intervention on type 2 diabetes. The rat model of type 2 diabetes was induced by an injection of streptozocin (30 mg/kg), after fed with 8-week high-fat diet. The rats were divided into three groups: the control group, the diabetic model group (DM) and the diabetes + exercise group (DME). After exercise for 10 weeks, blood samples were collected to test biomedical indexes, and 24-h urine samples were collected for the metabolomics experiment. In the DME group, fasting blood glucose (FBG), both total cholesterol (TC) and total plasma triglycerides (TG), were decreased significantly, compared with those in the DM group. Based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), a urinary metabolomics method was used to study the mechanism of exercise intervention on diabetes mellitus. Based on the principal component analysis (PCA), it was found that the DM group and control group were separated into two different clusters. The DME group was located between the DM group and the control group, closer to the control group. Twelve significantly changed metabolites of diabetes mellitus were detected and identified, including glycolate, 4-methyl phenol, benzoic acid, 1H-indole, arabinitol, threitol, ribonic acid, malic acid, 2,3-dihydroxy-butanoic, aminomalonic acid, l-ascorbic acid and 3-hydroxy hexanedioic acid. After exercise, seven metabolites were significantly changed, compared with the control group, the relative contents of benzoic acid, aminomalonic acid, tetrabutyl alcohol and ribonucleic acid in the diabetic exercise group decreased significantly. The relative contents of 2,3-dihydroxybutyric acid, l-ascorbic acid and 3-hydroxy adipic acid increased significantly. l-ascorbic acid and aminomalonic acid which related with the oxidative stress were significantly regulated to normal. The results showed that exercise could display anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic effects. The exercise had antioxidation function in preventing the occurrence of complications with diabetes mellitus to some extent. The work illustrates that the metabolomics method is a useful tool to study the mechanism of exercise treatment.

Open access

Meena Asmar, Ali Asmar, Lene Simonsen, Flemming Dela, Jens Juul Holst and Jens Bülow

Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) in combination with hyperinsulinemia increase blood flow and triglyceride clearance in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue in lean humans. The present experiments were performed to determine whether the increase involves capillary recruitment. Eight lean healthy volunteers were studied before and after 1 h infusion of GIP or saline during a hyperglycemic–hyperinsulinemic clamp, raising plasma glucose and insulin to postprandial levels. Subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue blood flow (ATBF) was measured by the 133Xenon clearance technique, and microvascular blood volume was determined by contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging. During infusion of saline and the clamp, both ATBF (2.7 ± 0.5 mL/min 100 g/tissue) and microvascular blood volume remained unchanged throughout the experiments. During GIP infusion and the clamp, ATBF increased ~fourfold to 11.4 ± 1.9 mL/min 100 g/tissue, P < 0.001. Likewise, the contrast-enhanced ultrasound signal intensity, a measure of the microvascular blood volume, increased significantly 1 h after infusion of GIP and the clamp (P = 0.003), but not in the control experiments. In conclusion, the increase in ATBF during GIP infusion involves recruitment of capillaries in healthy lean subjects, which probably increases the interaction of circulating lipoproteins with lipoprotein lipase, thus promoting adipose tissue lipid uptake.

Open access

Andrea V Haas, Paul N Hopkins, Nancy J Brown, Luminita H Pojoga, Jonathan S Williams, Gail K Adler and Gordon H Williams

There are conflicting data on whether variations of physiologic cortisol levels associated with cardiovascular risk. We hypothesize that prior discordant findings are related to problems associated with varying sample size, techniques for assessing cardiovascular risk and failure to adequately account for environmental factors. To address these issues, we utilized a large sample size, selected the Framingham risk score to compute cardiovascular risk and performed the study in a highly controlled setting. We had two main objectives: determine whether higher, yet physiologic, cortisol levels associated with increased cardiovascular risk and determine whether caveolin-1 (rs926198) risk allele carriers associated with increased cardiovascular risk. This was a cross-sectional study of 574 non-diabetic individuals who completed a common protocol. Data collection included fasting blood samples, blood pressure measurements and a 24-h urine-free cortisol collection. Five hundred seventeen of these participants also completed caveolin-1 genotyping. Subjects were classified as belonging to either the low-mode or high-mode urine-free cortisol groups, based on the bimodal distribution of urine-free cortisol. In multivariate analysis, Framingham risk score was statistically higher in the high-mode cortisol group (10.22 (mean) ± 0.43 (s.e.m.)) compared to the low-mode cortisol group (7.73 ± 0.34), P < 0.001. Framingham risk score was also statistically higher in the caveolin-1 risk allele carriers (8.91 ± 0.37) compared to caveolin-1 non-risk allele carriers (7.59 ± 0.48), P = 0.034. Overall, the estimated effect on Framingham risk score of carrying the caveolin-1 risk allele was 1.33 ± 0.61, P = 0.029. Both urinary cortisol and caveolin-1 risk allele status are independent predictors of Framingham risk score.

Open access

Ling Shan, Yingying Zhou, Shiqiao Peng, Xinyi Wang, Zhongyan Shan and Weiping Teng

Background

Pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism are associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. This study aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying the effects of maternal subclinical hypothyroidism during early pregnancy on abortion in the uterus, focusing upon the LIF/STAT3 signaling pathway.

Methods

One hundred five Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups (35 rats in each group): control (CON) group, subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) group and overt hypothyroidism (OH) group. We examined the weight of rat uteri, rat placenta and embryos. We also determined the number of implantation sites and the embryo absorption rates. The protein and mRNA expressions of TSHR, TR-α, TR-β, LIFR, gp130, JAK1, p-STAT3 and STAT3 were measured by immunohistochemical staining, real-time PCR and Western blotting.

Results

The weights of rat uteri, rat placenta and embryos were significantly reduced in the SCH and OH groups. The number of implantation sites was significantly decreased in the SCH and OH groups, while embryo absorption rates were significantly increased. The mRNA and protein expressions of TSHR were upregulated in the SCH and OH groups, while TR-α and TR-β showed no difference when compared between the three groups. The expression levels of LIFR, gp130, JAK1 and p-STAT3 were significantly higher in the SCH and OH groups.

Conclusions

Clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism during early pregnancy might cause adverse pregnancy outcomes. Implantation failure in rats with subclinical hypothyroidism was associated with abnormal LIF/STAT3 signaling.

Open access

Michaela Keuper

The crosstalk between macrophages (MΦ) and adipocytes within white adipose tissue (WAT) influences obesity-associated insulin resistance and other associated metabolic disorders, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. MΦ infiltration is increased in WAT during obesity, which is linked to decreased mitochondrial content and activity. The mechanistic interplay between MΦ and mitochondrial function of adipocytes is under intense investigation, as MΦ and inflammatory pathways exhibit a pivotal role in the reprogramming of WAT metabolism in physiological responses during cold, fasting and exercise. Thus, the underlying immunometabolic pathways may offer therapeutic targets to correct obesity and metabolic disease. Here, I review the current knowledge on the quantity and the quality of human adipose tissue macrophages (ATMΦ) and their impact on the bioenergetics of human adipocytes. The effects of ATMΦ and their secreted factors on mitochondrial function of white adipocytes are discussed, including recent research on MΦ as part of an immune signaling cascade involved in the ‘browning’ of WAT, which is defined as the conversion from white, energy-storing adipocytes into brown, energy-dissipating adipocytes.

Open access

Monika Bilic, Huma Qamar, Akpevwe Onoyovwi, Jill Korsiak, Eszter Papp, Abdullah Al Mahmud, Rosanna Weksberg, Alison D Gernand, Jennifer Harrington and Daniel E Roth

Fetal growth restriction is linked to adverse health outcomes and is prevalent in low- and middle-income countries; however, determinants of fetal growth are still poorly understood. The objectives were to determine the effect of prenatal vitamin D supplementation on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis at birth, to compare the concentrations of IGF-I in newborns in Bangladesh to a European reference population and to estimate the associations between IGF protein concentrations and birth size. In a randomized controlled trial in Dhaka, Bangladesh, pregnant women enrolled at 17–24 weeks of gestation were assigned to weekly oral vitamin D3 supplementation from enrolment to delivery at doses of 4200 IU/week, 16,800 IU/week, 28,000 IU/week or placebo. In this sub-study, 559 woman–infant pairs were included for analysis and cord blood IGF protein concentrations were quantified at birth. There were no significant effects of vitamin D supplementation on cord blood concentrations of IGF-I (P = 0.398), IGF-II (P = 0.525), binding proteins (BPs) IGFBP-1 (P = 0.170), IGFBP-3 (P = 0.203) or the molar ratio of IGF-I/IGFBP-3 (P = 0.941). In comparison to a European reference population, 6% of girls and 23% of boys had IGF-I concentrations below the 2.5th percentile of the reference population. IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-3 and the IGF-I/IGFBP-3 ratio were positively associated with at least one anthropometric parameter, whereas IGFBP-1 was negatively associated with birth anthropometry. In conclusion, prenatal vitamin D supplementation does not alter or enhance fetal IGF pathways.