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Open access

A H Ludwig-Slomczynska, S Borys, M T Seweryn, J Hohendorff, P Kapusta, B Kiec-Wilk, E Pitera, P P Wolkow and M T Malecki

Objective

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has been used to treat diabetic foot ulcerations (DFUs). Its action on the molecular level, however, is only partially understood. Some earlier data suggested NPWT may be mediated through modification of local gene expression. As methylation is a key epigenetic regulatory mechanism of gene expression, we assessed the effect of NPWT on its profile in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and neuropathic non-infected DFUs.

Methods

Of 36 included patients, 23 were assigned to NPWT and 13 to standard therapy. Due to ethical concerns, the assignment was non-randomized and based on wound characteristics. Tissue samples were obtained before and 8 ± 1 days after therapy initiation. DNA methylation patterns were checked by Illumina Methylation EPIC kit.

Results

In terms of clinical characteristics, the groups presented typical features of T2DM; however, the NPWT group had significantly greater wound area: 16.8 cm2 vs 1.4 cm2 (P = 0.0003). Initially only one region at chromosome 5 was differentially methylated. After treatment, 57 differentially methylated genes were found, mainly located on chromosomes 6 (chr6p21) and 20 (chr20p13); they were associated with DNA repair and autocrine signaling via retinoic acid receptor. We performed differential analyses pre treatment and post treatment. The analysis revealed 426 differentially methylated regions in the NPWT group, but none in the control group. The enrichment analysis showed 11 processes significantly associated with NPWT, of which 4 were linked with complement system activation. All but one were hypermethylated after NPWT.

Conclusion

The NPWT effect on DFUs may be mediated through epigenetic changes resulting in the inhibition of complement system activation.

Open access

Evelise Regina Polina, Fernando M Oliveira, Renan C Sbruzzi, Daisy Crispim, Luís Henrique Canani and Kátia G Santos

Circulating microRNA-155 (miR-155) is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the rs767649 polymorphism in the pre-MIR155 gene is associated with miR-155 expression. However, their relationship with diabetic retinopathy (DR) is still unknown. Therefore, the aim of this case-control study was to test the hypothesis that the rs767649 polymorphism in the pre-MIR155 gene is associated with DR in South Brazilians with T2DM. We also evaluated the association of plasma levels of miR-155 with DR and the rs767649 polymorphism in a subgroup of subjects. The rs767649 polymorphism was genotyped in 139 blood donors and 546 T2DM patients (244 had no DR, 161 had non-proliferative DR and 141 had proliferative DR). MiR-155 expression was quantified in 20 blood donors and 60 T2DM patients (20 from each group). Among T2DM patients, the carriership of the A allele and the A allele were more frequent in subjects with DR than in those without it (P<0.05), and the A allele was independently associated with an increased risk of DR (adjusted OR=2.12, 95% CI=1.12–4.01). The plasma levels of miR-155 were lower in T2DM patients than in blood donors (P<0.001). However, the miR-155 levels did not differ according to the presence and severity of DR or according to rs767649 genotypes among T2DM patients. These findings support that the rs767649 polymorphism in the pre-MIR155 gene is associated with DR in T2DM and that the miR-155 plasma levels might be associated with T2DM. Additional studies are needed to further investigate their clinical significance in DR and T2DM.

Open access

Patricia Iozzo and Maria Angela Guzzardi

The prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions and keeps growing. Obesity seems implicated in the pathogenesis of cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and vice versa. Growing scientific efforts are being devoted to the identification of central mechanisms underlying the frequent association between obesity and cognitive dysfunction. Glucose brain handling undergoes dynamic changes during the life-course, suggesting that its alterations might precede and contribute to degenerative changes or signaling abnormalities. Imaging of the glucose analog 18F-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG) by positron emission tomography (PET) is the gold-standard for the assessment of cerebral glucose metabolism in vivo. This review summarizes the current literature addressing brain glucose uptake measured by PET imaging, and the effect of insulin on brain metabolism, trying to embrace a life-course vision in the identification of patterns that may explain (and contribute to) the frequent association between obesity and cognitive dysfunction. The current evidence supports that brain hypermetabolism and brain insulin resistance occur in selected high-risk conditions as a transient phenomenon, eventually evolving toward normal or low values during life or disease progression. Associative studies suggest that brain hypermetabolism predicts low BDNF levels, hepatic and whole body insulin resistance, food desire and an unfavorable balance between anticipated reward from food and cognitive inhibitory control. Emerging mechanistic links involve the microbiota and the metabolome, which correlate with brain metabolism and cognition, deserving attention as potential future prevention targets.

Open access

Karolien Van De Maele, Jean De Schepper, Jesse Vanbesien, Monique Van Helvoirt, Ann De Guchtenaere and Inge Gies

Background

Vitamin D deficiency is common in obese adolescents and a risk factor for insulin resistance. We investigated if prevailing serum 25-OH vitamin D might predict the body fat loss in a group of obese adolescents undergoing a residential weight loss program.

Methods

In 92 (35 male) obese adolescents (aged 10.6–19 years) undergoing a residential weight loss program in Belgium, fasting serum 25-OH vitamin D (25-OH-D), insulin, glucose and lipid levels were measured and body composition was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

Results

Baseline median (range) serum 25-OH-D level was 17.7 µg/L (3.8–41.8). In total, 55 adolescents had a serum 25-OH-D below 20 µg/L. In 31 adolescents with a low baseline 25-OH-D level, median increase in serum 25-OH-D was 2.4 µg/L (−4.2 to 7.2) after 10 months. This resulted in normal 25-OH-D levels in seven adolescents, whereas median BMI decreased with 1.0 SDS and body fat percentage diminished with 9.9%. Obese adolescents with or without a 25-OH-D level below or above 20 µg/L at baseline had similar changes in body weight, BMI SDS, body fat percentage and body fat mass at the end of the program. The change in serum 25-OH-D did not correlate with change in serum insulin, BMI SDS or body fat percentage and body fat mass.

Conclusion

Vitamin D deficiency was present in 55 out of 92 obese adolescents at the start of the summer. Serum 25-OH-D concentration did not predict changes in body fat loss after a residential weight loss program.

Open access

Bregtje C M Hermans, Jules Derks, Harry J M Groen, Jos A Stigt, Robert Jan van Suylen, Lisa M Hillen, Esther C van den Broek, Ernst-Jan M. Speel and Anne-Marie C Dingemans

Introduction: Stage IV large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) of the lung generally presents as disseminated and aggressive disease with a Ki-67 proliferation index (PI) 40-80%. LCNEC can be subdivided in two main subtypes: the first harboring TP53/RB1 mutations (small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC)-like), the second with mutations in TP53 and STK11/KEAP1 (non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC)-like). Here we evaluated 11 LCNEC patients with only a solitary brain metastasis and evaluate phenotype, genotype and follow-up.

Methods: Eleven LCNEC patients with solitary brain metastases were analyzed. Clinical characteristics and survival data were retrieved from medical records. Pathological analysis included histomorphological analysis, immunohistochemistry (pRB and Ki-67 PI) and next generation sequencing (TP53, RB1, STK11, KEAP1 and MEN1).

Results: All patients had N0 or N1 disease. Median overall survival (OS) was 12 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.5-18.5 months). Mean Ki-67 PI was 59% (range 15-100%). In 6/11 LCNEC Ki-67 PI was ≤40%. OS was longer for Ki-67 ≤40% compared to >40% (17 months (95% CI 11-23 months) vs. 5 months (95% CI 0.7-9 months), p=0.007). Two patients were still alive at follow-up after 86 and 103 months, both had Ki-67 ≤40%. 8/11 patients could be subclassified and both SCLC-like (n=6) and NSCLC-like (n=2) subtype were present. No MEN1 mutation was found.

Conclusion: Stage IV LCNEC with a solitary brain metastasis and N0/N1 disease show in the majority of cases Ki-67 PI ≤40% and prolonged survival, distinguishing them from general LCNEC. This unique subgroup can be both of the SCLC-like and NSCLC-like subtype.

Open access

Richard Steeds, Vandana Sagar, Shishir Shetty, Tessa Oelofse, Harjot Singh, Raheel Ahmad, Elizabeth Bradley, Rachel Moore, Suzanne Vickrage, Stacey Smith, Ivan Yim, Yasir Elhassan, Hema Venkataraman, John Ayuk, Stephen Rooney and Tahir Shah

Carcinoid heart disease (CHD) is a consequence of valvular fibrosis triggered by vasoactive substances released from neuroendocrine tumours, classically in those with metastatic disease and resulting in tricuspid and pulmonary valve failure. CHD affects 1 in 5 patients who have carcinoid syndrome (CS). Valve leaflets become thickened, retracted and immobile, resulting most often in regurgitation that causes right ventricular dilatation and ultimately, right heart failure. The development of CHD heralds a significantly worse prognosis than those patients with CS who do not develop valvular disease. Diagnosis requires a low threshold of suspicion in all patients with CS, since symptoms occur late in the disease process and clinical signs are difficult to elicit. As a result, routine screening is recommended using the biomarker, N-terminal pro-natriuretic peptide, and regular echocardiography is then required for diagnosis and follow-up. There is no direct medical therapy for CHD, but the focus of non-surgical care is to control CS symptoms, reduce tumour load and decrease hormone levels. Valve surgery improves long-term outcome for those with severe disease compared to medical management, although peri-operative mortality remains at between 10-20% in experienced centres. Therefore, care needs to be multidisciplinary at all stages, with clear discussion with the patient and between teams to ensure optimum outcome for these often-complex patients.

Open access

Lian Hollander-Cohen, Benjamin Böhm, Krist Hausken and Berta Levavi-Sivan

The pituitary gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), are the principle endocrine drivers of reproductive processes in the gonads of jawed vertebrates. Canonically, FSH recruits and maintains selected ovarian follicles for maturation and LH induces the stages of germinal vesicle breakdown and ovulation. In mammals, LH and FSH specifically activate cognate G-protein-coupled receptors that affect the proteins involved in steroidogenesis, protein hormone synthesis, and gametogenesis. This dual-gonadotropin model also exists in some fish species, but not in all. In fact, due to their diverse number of species, extended number of ecological niches, and remarkably flexible reproductive strategies, fish are appropriate as models to understand the co-evolution of gonadotropins and their receptors. In this study, we cloned and characterized the expression profile over the final stages of ovarian maturation of carp (Cyprinus carpio) LHCGR and FSHR. Expression of both gonadotropin receptors increased in the later stage of early vitellogenesis, suggesting that both LH and FSH play a role in the development of mature follicles. We additionally tested the activation of cLHCGR and cFSHR using homologous and heterologous recombinant gonadotropins in order to gain insight into an evolutionary model of permissive gonadotropin receptor function. These data suggest that carp (Cyprinus carpio) gonad development and maturation depends on a specific gonadotropin profile that does not reflect the temporally distinct dual-gonadotropin model observed in salmonids or mammals, and that permissive gonadotropin receptor activation is a specific feature of Ostariophysi, not all teleosts.

Open access

Thalijn Liliana Catharina Wolters, Charlotte Dinka Christina Corrina van der Heijden, Nathasja van Leeuwen, Bregina Tonny Petra Hijmans-Kersten, Mihai Gheorghe Netea, Jan Wa Smit, Dick Henricus Julianus Thijssen, Ad Hermus, Niels Peter Riksen and Romana Netea-Maier

Objective: Acromegaly is characterized by an excess of growth hormone (GH) and insulin like growth-factor 1 (IGF1). Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are common in acromegaly and often persist after treatment. Both acute and long-lasting pro-inflammatory effects have been attributed to IGF1. Therefore, we hypothesized that inflammation persists in treated acromegaly and may contribute to CVD risk.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we assessed cardiovascular structure and function, and inflammatory parameters in treated acromegaly patients. Immune cell populations and inflammatory markers were assessed in peripheral blood from 71 treated acromegaly patients (with controlled or uncontrolled disease) and 41 matched controls. Whole blood (WB) was stimulated with Toll-like receptor ligands. In a subgroup of 21 controls and 33 patients with controlled disease, vascular ultrasound measurements were performed.

Results: Leukocyte counts were lower in patients with controlled acromegaly compared to patients with uncontrolled acromegaly and controls. Circulating IL-18 concentrations were lower in patients; concentrations of other inflammatory mediators were comparable with controls. In stimulated WB, cytokine production was skewed towards inflammation in patients, most pronounced in those with uncontrolled disease. Vascular measurements in controlled patients showed endothelial dysfunction as indicated by a lower flow-mediated dilatation/nitroglycerine-mediated dilatation ratio. Surprisingly, pulse wave analysis and pulse wave velocity, both markers of endothelial dysfunction, were lower in patients, whereas intima-media thickness did not differ.

Conclusions: Despite treatment, acromegaly patients display persistent inflammatory changes and endothelial dysfunction, which may contribute to CVD risk and development of CVD.

Open access

Stephen A Martin, Kenneth A Philbrick, Carmen P Wong, Dawn A Olson, Adam J Branscum, Donald B Jump, Charles K Marik, Jonathan M DenHerder, Jennifer L Sargent, Russell T Turner and Urszula T Iwaniec

Mice are a commonly used model to investigate aging-related bone loss but, in contrast to humans, mice exhibit cancellous bone loss prior to skeletal maturity. The mechanisms mediating premature bone loss are not well established. However, our previous work in female mice suggests housing temperature is a critical factor. Premature cancellous bone loss was prevented in female C57BL/6J mice by housing the animals at thermoneutral temperature (where basal rate of energy production is at equilibrium with heat loss). In the present study, we determined if the protective effects of thermoneutral housing extend to males. Male C57BL/6J mice were housed at standard room temperature (22°C) or thermoneutral (32°C) conditions from 5 (rapidly growing) to 16 (slowly growing) weeks of age. Mice housed at room temperature exhibited reductions in cancellous bone volume fraction in distal femur metaphysis and fifth lumbar vertebra; these effects were abolished at thermoneutral conditions. Mice housed at thermoneutral temperature had higher levels of bone formation in distal femur (based on histomorphometry) and globally (serum osteocalcin), and lower global levels of bone resorption (serum C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen) compared to mice housed at room temperature. Thermoneutral housing had no impact on bone marrow adiposity but resulted in higher abdominal white adipose tissue and serum leptin. The overall magnitude of room temperature housing-induced cancellous bone loss did not differ between male (current study) and female (published data) mice. These findings highlight housing temperature as a critical experimental variable in studies using mice of either sex to investigate aging-related changes in bone metabolism.

Open access

Marc Blondon, Emmanuel Biver, Olivia Braillard, Marc Righini, Pierre Fontana and Alessandro Casini

Objective

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risks of arterial and venous cardiovascular events. Hypothetically, supplementation with vitamin D may lead to a less prothrombotic phenotype, as measured by global coagulation assays and fibrin clot structure.

Methods

In this prospective cohort study, we enrolled adult outpatients attending the Primary Care Division of the Geneva University Hospitals with a severe vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin-D3 (25-OHD) <25 nmol/L), excluding obese patients or with a recent acute medical event. We evaluated changes in coagulation times, thrombin generation assay, clot formation and clot lysis time, 25-OHD and parathormone before and 1–3 months after cholecalciferol oral supplementation with one-time 300,000 IU then 800 IU daily. Paired t-tests with a two-sided alpha of 0.05 compared absolute mean differences.

Results

The 48 participants had a mean age of 43.8 ± 13.8 years. After supplementation, 25-OHD levels increased from 17.9 ± 4.6 nmol/L to 62.5 ± 20.7 nmol/L 6.4 ± 3.0 weeks after inclusion. Endogenous thrombin potential and thrombin generation peak values both decreased significantly (−95.4 nM × min (95%CI −127.9 to −62.8), P < 0.001; −15.1 nM (−23.3 to −6.8), P < 0.001). The maximum absorbance by turbidimetry decreased significantly (P = 0.001) after supplementation. There was no change in clot lysis time, coagulation times or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and homocysteine levels.

Conclusions

In severe vitamin D deficiency, a high-dose cholecalciferol supplementation was associated with a reduction in thrombin generation and an average decreased number of fibrin protofibrils per fibers and fibrin fiber size measured by turbidimetry. This suggests that severe vitamin D deficiency may be associated with a potentially reversible prothrombotic profile.