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Open access

Yun Hu, Na Li, Peng Jiang, Liang Cheng, Bo Ding, Xiao-Mei Liu, Ke He, Yun-Qing Zhu, Bing-li Liu, Xin Cao, Hong Zhou and Xiao-Ming Mao

Objective

Thyroid nodules are usually accompanied by elevated thyroglobulin (Tg) level and autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs). However, the relationship between Tg and AITDs is not fully understood. Dysfunction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) plays an important role in the development of AITDs. We aimed to evaluate the effects of Tg on the function of Tregs in patients with thyroid nodules.

Methods

Tg levels and the functions of Tregs in peripheral blood and thyroid tissues of patients with thyroid nodules from Nanjing First Hospital were evaluated. The effects of Tg on the function of Tregs from healthy donors were also assessed in vitro. The function of Tregs was defined as an inhibitory effect of Tregs on the effector T cell (CD4+ CD25 T cell) proliferation rate.

Results

The level of Tg in peripheral blood correlated negatively with the inhibitory function of Tregs (R = 0.398, P = 0.03), and Tregs function declined significantly in the high Tg group (Tg >77 μg/L) compared with the normal Tg group (11.4 ± 3.9% vs 27.5 ± 3.5%, P < 0.05). Compared with peripheral blood, the function of Tregs in thyroid declined significantly (P < 0.01), but the proportion of FOXP3+ Tregs in thyroid increased (P < 0.01). High concentration of Tg (100 μg/mL) inhibited the function of Tregs and downregulated FOXP3, TGF-β and IL-10 mRNA expression in Tregs in vitro.

Conclusions

Elevated Tg level could impair the function of Tregs, which might increase the risk of AITDs in patient with thyroid nodules.

Open access

Jia Li, Yan Zhao, Caoxin Huang, Zheng Chen, Xiulin Shi, Long Li, Zhong Chen and Xuejun Li

Objective

Exercise benefits people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study was to identify a panel of biomarkers and to provide the possible mechanism for the effect of exercise on NAFLD patients via an untargeted mass spectrometry-based serum metabolomics study.

Methods

NAFLD patients were classified randomly into a control group (n = 74) and a 6-month vigorous exercise (n = 68) group. Differences in serum metabolic profiles were analyzed using untargeted ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF/MS) technology. Principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) were used to validate the differences between these two groups, and altered metabolites were obtained by ANOVA (fold change >2, P < 0.05) and identified with the online database Metlin and an in-house database.

Results

Metabolic profiling and multiple statistical analyses of the serum samples indicated significant differences between the NAFLD patients in the control and the 6-month vigorous exercise groups. Finally, 36 metabolites were identified between the control vs exercise groups. These metabolites were mainly associated with glycerophospholipid- and sphingolipid-related pathways.

Conclusion

Our study demonstrates that glycerophospholipid and sphingolipid alterations may contribute to the mechanism underlying the effect of exercise on NAFLD patients. A LC-MS-based metabolomics approach has a potential value for screening exercise-induced biomarkers.

Open access

Weixi Wang, Rulai Han, Lei Ye, Jing Xie, Bei Tao, Fukang Sun, Ran Zhuo, Xi Chen, Xiaxing Deng, Cong Ye, Hongyan Zhao and Shu Wang

Objective

Up to 40% of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) patients may have adrenal cortical tumors. However, adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is rare. The clinical manifestations, prevalence, inheritance and prognosis of ACC associated with MEN1 remain unclear. Here we report the clinical manifestations and prevalence of ACC in patients with MEN1.

Design and methods

A retrospective analysis of ACC associated with MEN1 patients at a single tertiary care center from December 2001 to June 2017. Genetic analysis of MEN1 and other ACC associated genes, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of MEN1 locus, immunohistochemistry staining of menin, P53 and β-catenin in ACC tissue were performed.

Results

Two related patients had ACC associated with MEN1. The father had ENSAT stage IV tumor with excessive production of cortisol; the daughter had nonfunctional ENSAT stage I tumor. Both patients carried novel germline heterozygous mutation (c.400_401insC) of MEN1. The wild-type MEN1 allele was lost in the resected ACC tissue from the daughter with no menin staining. The ACC tissue had nuclear β-catenin staining, with heterozygous CTNNB1 mutation of 357del24 and P53 staining in only 20% cells.

Conclusions

ACC associated with MEN1 is rare and may occur in familial aggregates.

Open access

Adrian Daly, David A Cano, Eva Venegas, Patrick Petrossians, Elena Dios, Emily Castermans, Alvaro Flores-Martínez, Vincent Bours, Albert Beckers and Alfonso Soto

Background: Pituitary adenomas have a high disease burden due to tumor growth/invasion and disordered hormonal secretion. Germline mutations in genes such as MEN1 and AIP are associated with early onset of aggressive pituitary adenomas that can be resistant to medical therapy.

Aims: We performed a retrospective screening study using published risk criteria to assess the frequency of AIP and MEN1 mutations in pituitary adenoma patients in a tertiary-referral center.

Methods: Pituitary adenoma patients with pediatric/adolescent onset, macroadenomas occurring ≤30 years of age, familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA) kindreds, and acromegaly or prolactinoma cases that were uncontrolled by medical therapy were studied genetically. We also assessed whether immunohistochemical staining for AIP (AIP-IHC) in somatotropinomas was associated with somatostatin analogs (SSA) response.

Results: Fifty-five patients met the study criteria and underwent genetic screening for AIP/MEN1 mutations. No mutations were identified and large deletions/duplications were ruled out using MLPA. In a cohort of sporadic somatotropinomas, low AIP-IHC tumors were significantly larger (p=0.002) and were more frequently sparsely-granulated (p=0.046) than high AIP-IHC tumors. No significant relationship between AIP-IHC and SSA responses was seen.

Conclusions: Germline mutations in AIP/MEN1 in pituitary adenoma patients are rare and the use of published risk criteria did not identify cases in a large tertiary-referral setting. In acromegaly, low AIP-IHC was related to larger tumor size and more frequent sparsely-granulated subtype but no relationship with SSA-responsiveness was seen. The genetics of aggressive, treatment-resistant and familial pituitary adenomas remain largely unexplained and screening criteria could be significantly refined.

Open access

Adrian Daly, Liliya Rostomyan, Daniela Betea, Jean francois Bonneville, Chiara Villa, Natalia S Pellegata, Beatrice Waser, Jean Claude Reubi, Catherine Waeber Stephan, Emanuel Christ and Albert Beckers

Acromegaly is a rare disease due to chronic excess growth hormone (GH) and IGF-1. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) mutations are associated with an aggressive, inheritable form of acromegaly that responds poorly to SST2-specific somatostatin analogs (SSA). The role of pasireotide, an SSA with affinity for multiple SSTs, in patients with AIP mutations has not been reported. We studied two AIP-mutation positive acromegaly patients with early-onset, invasive macroadenomas and inoperable residues after neurosurgery. Patient 1 came from a FIPA kindred and had uncontrolled GH/IGF-1 throughout 10 years of octreotide/lanreotide treatment. When switched to pasireotide LAR, he rapidly experienced hormonal control and was associated with marked regression of his tumor residue. Pasireotide LAR was stopped after >10 years due to low IGF-1 and he maintained hormonal control without tumor regrowth for >12 months off pasireotide LAR. Patient 2 had disease onset aged 17 that was not cured by surgery. Chronic pasireotide LAR therapy produced hormonal control and marked tumor shrinkage but control was lost when switched to octreotide. Tumor immunohistochemistry showed absent AIP and SST2 staining and positive SST5. Her AIP-mutation positive sister developed a 2.5 cm follicular thyroid carcinoma aged 21 with tumoral loss of heterozygosity at the AIP locus and absent AIP. Patients 1 and 2 required multi-modal therapy to control diabetes. On stopping pasireotide LAR after >10 years of treatment, Patient 1’s glucose metabolism returned to baseline levels. Long-term pasireotide LAR therapy can be beneficial in some AIP-mutation positive acromegaly patients that are resistant to first-generation SSA.

Open access

Nicola Tufton, Lucy Shapiro, Anju Sahdev, Ajith V Kumar, Lee Martin, William M Drake, Scott A Akker and Helen L Storr

Objective

Phaeochromocytomas (PCC) and paragangliomas (PGL) are rare in children. A large proportion of these are now understood to be due to underlying germline mutations. Here we focus on succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) gene mutation carriers as these tumours carry a high risk of malignant transformation. There remains no current consensus with respect to optimal surveillance for asymptomatic carriers and those in whom the presenting tumour has been resected.

Method

We undertook a retrospective analysis of longitudinal clinical data of all children and adolescents with SDHB mutations followed up in a single UK tertiary referral centre. This included index cases that pre-dated the introduction of surveillance screening and asymptomatic carriers identified through cascade genetic testing. We also conducted a literature review to inform a suggested surveillance protocol for children and adolescents harbouring SDHB mutations.

Results

Clinical outcomes of a total of 38 children are presented: 8 index cases and 30 mutation-positive asymptomatic carriers with 175 patient years of follow-up data. Three of the eight index cases developed metachronous disease and two developed metastatic disease. Of the 30 asymptomatic carriers, 3 were found to have PGLs on surveillance screening.

Conclusions

Surveillance screening was well tolerated in our paediatric cohort and asymptomatic paediatric subjects. Screening can identify tumours before they become secretory and/or symptomatic, thereby facilitating surgical resection and reducing the chance of distant spread. We propose a regular screening protocol commencing at age 5 years in this at-risk cohort of patients.

Open access

Weiwei He, Bin Wang, Kaida Mu, Jing Zhang, Yanping Yang, Wei Yao, Sheli Li and Jin-an Zhang

Background

Accumulating data have shown that interleukin-27 (IL27) polymorphisms are linked to the susceptibility of some autoimmune diseases. We assessed whether there was an association between three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of IL27 gene and autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs).

Methods

Three SNPs (rs153109, rs17855750 and rs181206) of IL27 gene were genotyped by Hi-SNP high-throughput genotyping in 843 patients with AITDs (516 Graves’ disease (GD) and 327 Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT)) and 677 healthy controls in Chinese Han population.

Results

Compared with controls, rs153109 displayed significant associations with GD in allele and genotype frequencies (P = 0.002 and P = 0.008, respectively) and rs17855750 displayed significant associations with HT in allele frequencies (P = 0.02), whereas no differences in genotype or allele frequencies were found between AITD patients and controls at rs181206.

Conclusion

Our study, for the first time, showed the significant association of the IL27 gene SNPs with AITD.

Open access

Anna C Simcocks, Kayte A Jenkin, Lannie O’Keefe, Chrishan S Samuel, Michael L Mathai, Andrew J McAinch and Deanne H Hryciw

Atypical cannabinoid compounds O-1602 and O-1918 are ligands for the putative cannabinoid receptors G protein-coupled receptor 55 and G protein-coupled receptor 18. The role of O-1602 and O-1918 in attenuating obesity and obesity-related pathologies is unknown. Therefore, we aimed to determine the role that either compound had on body weight and body composition, renal and hepatic function in diet-induced obesity. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a high-fat diet (40% digestible energy from lipids) or a standard chow diet for 10 weeks. In a separate cohort, male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a high-fat diet for 9 weeks and then injected daily with 5 mg/kg O-1602, 1 mg/kg O-1918 or vehicle (0.9% saline/0.75% Tween 80) for a further 6 weeks. Our data demonstrated that high-fat feeding upregulates whole kidney G protein receptor 55 expression. In diet-induced obesity, we also demonstrated O-1602 reduces body weight, body fat and improves albuminuria. Despite this, treatment with O-1602 resulted in gross morphological changes in the liver and kidney. Treatment with O-1918 improved albuminuria, but did not alter body weight or fat composition. In addition, treatment with O-1918 also upregulated circulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-1α, IL-2, IL-17α, IL-18 and RANTES as well as plasma AST. Thus O-1602 and O-1918 appear not to be suitable treatments for obesity and related comorbidities, due to their effects on organ morphology and pro-inflammatory signaling in obesity.

Open access

Marko Stojanovic, Zida Wu, Craig E Stiles, Dragana Miljic, Ivan Soldatovic, Sandra Pekic, Mirjana Doknic, Milan Petakov, Vera Popovic, Christian J Strasburger and Marta Korbonits

Background: Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) is evolutionarily conserved and expressed widely throughout the organism. Loss-of-function AIP mutations predispose to young-onset pituitary adenomas. AIP co-localizes with growth hormone in normal and tumorous somatotroph secretory vesicles. AIP protein is detectable in circulation. We aimed to investigate possible AIP and GH co-secretion, through studying serum AIP and GH levels at baseline and after GH stimulation or suppression, in GH deficiency (GHD) and in acromegaly patients.

Subjects and methods: Insulin tolerance test (ITT) was performed in GHD patients (n=13) and age-BMI-matched normal GH axis control patients (n=31). Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed in active acromegaly patients (n=26) and age-BMI-matched normal GH axis control patients (n=18). In-house immunometric assay was developed for measuring circulating AIP.

Results: Serum AIP levels were in the 0.1ng/ml range independently of gender, age or BMI. Baseline AIP did not differ between GHD and non-GHD or between acromegaly and patients with no acromegaly. There was no change in peak, trough or area under the curve during OGTT or ITT. Serum AIP did not correlate with GH during ITT or OGTT.

Conclusions: Human circulating serum AIP in vivo was assessed by a novel immunometric assay. AIP levels were independent of age, sex or BMI, and unaffected by hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia. Despite co-localization in secretory vesicles, AIP and GH did not correlate at baseline or during GH stimulation or suppression tests. A platform of reliable serum AIP measurement is established for further research of its circulatory source, role and impact.

Open access

Raymond J Rodgers, Jodie C Avery, Vivienne M Moore, Michael J Davies, Ricardo Azziz, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Lisa J Moran, Sarah A Robertson, Nigel K Stepto, Robert J Norman and Helena J Teede

Objective

Many complex diseases exhibit co-morbidities often requiring management by more than one health specialist. We examined cross-speciality issues that ultimately affect the health and wellbeing of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS was originally described as a reproductive condition but is now recognised to also be a metabolic and psychological condition affecting 8–13% of women of reproductive age. With a four-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes (DM2), the Population Attributable Risk of DM2 that could be avoided if PCOS were eliminated is a substantial 19–28% of women of reproductive age. To determine the extent to which PCOS is an important consideration in diabetes development, we examined publications, funding, guidelines and predictors of risk of developing DM2.

Results

We found that the topic of PCOS appeared in specialist diabetes journals at only 10% the rate seen in endocrinology journals – about 1 in 500 articles. We found research funding to be substantially less than for diabetes and found that diabetes guidelines and predictive tools for DM2 risk mostly ignore PCOS. This is surprising since insulin resistance in women with PCOS has a different aetiology and additionally women with PCOS are at increased risk of becoming overweight or obese – high risk factors for DM2.

Conclusions

We consider the causes of these concerning anomalies and discuss current activities to address the co-morbidities of PCOS, including the recent development of international guidelines, an international PCOS awareness program and potentially changing the name of PCOS to better reflect its metabolic consequences.