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Open access

Jes Sloth Mathiesen, Jens Peter Kroustrup, Peter Vestergaard, Per Løgstrup Poulsen, Åse Krogh Rasmussen, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Sten Schytte, Stefano Christian Londero, Henrik Baymler Pedersen, Christoffer Holst Hahn, Jens Bentzen, Sören Möller, Mette Gaustadnes, Maria Rossing, Finn Cilius Nielsen, Kim Brixen, Christian Godballe and Danish Thyroid Cancer Group (DATHYRCA)

A recent study proposed new TNM groupings for better survival discrimination among stage groups for medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) and validated these groupings in a population-based cohort in the United States. However, it is unknown how well the groupings perform in populations outside the United States. Consequently, we conducted the first population-based study aiming to evaluate if the recently proposed TNM groupings provide better survival discrimination than the current American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM staging system (seventh and eighth edition) in a nationwide MTC cohort outside the United States. This retrospective cohort study included 191 patients identified from the nationwide Danish MTC cohort between 1997 and 2014. In multivariate analysis, hazard ratios for overall survival under the current AJCC TNM staging system vs the proposed TNM groupings with stage I as reference were 1.32 (95% CI: 0.38–4.57) vs 3.04 (95% CI: 1.38–6.67) for stage II, 2.06 (95% CI: 0.45–9.39) vs 3.59 (95% CI: 1.61–8.03) for stage III and 5.87 (95% CI: 2.02–17.01) vs 59.26 (20.53–171.02) for stage IV. The newly proposed TNM groupings appear to provide better survival discrimination in the nationwide Danish MTC cohort than the current AJCC TNM staging. Adaption of the proposed TNM groupings by the current AJCC TNM staging system may potentially improve accurateness in survival discrimination. However, before such an adaption further population-based studies securing external validity are needed.

Open access

Emmi Naskali, Katja Dettmer, Peter J Oefner, Pedro A B Pereira, Kai Krohn, Petri Auvinen, Annamari Ranki and Nicolas Kluger


Intestinal autoimmunity with gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction has been shown in patients with autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED). Patients lack entero-endocrine (EE) cells and have circulating autoantibodies (Aabs) against critical enzymes in serotonin (5-HT) biosynthesis.


We sought to determine the serum levels of 5-HT, tryptophan (Trp) metabolites and L-DOPA in 37 Finnish APECED patients and to correlate their abundance with the presence of TPH and AADC Aabs, GI dysfunction and depressive symptoms. We also performed an exploratory analysis of the gut microbiome.


Serum 5-HT, L-DOPA and Trp metabolite levels were determined by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). TPH and AADC Aabs were measured by ELISA. Depression was assessed with a structured RBDI questionnaire. The V3–V4 regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene were sequenced for gut microbiome exploration.


Serum 5-HT levels were significantly decreased (130 ± 131 nmol/L vs 686 ± 233 nmol/L, P < 0.0001) in APECED patients with TPH-1 (±AADC) Aabs compared to controls and patients with only AADC Aabs. Reduced 5-HT levels correlated with constipation. The genus Escherichia/Shigella was overrepresented in the intestinal microbiome. No correlation between serum Trp, 5-HT or l-DOPA levels and the RBDI total score, fatigue or sleep disorders was found.


This exploratory study found low serum levels of 5-HT to be associated with constipation and the presence of TPH-1 and AADC Aabs, but not with symptoms of depression. Hence, serum 5-HT, TPH1 and AADC Aabs should be determined in APECED patients presenting with GI symptoms.

Open access

Alessandra Gambineri and Carla Pelusi

An imbalance in sex hormones has an important impact on type 2 diabetes (T2DM) mainly through the involvement of visceral adipose tissue. Androgens have an interesting sex-dimorphic association with T2DM, since hyperandrogenism in females and hypogonadism in males are risk factors for T2DM. Thus, treatments aimed at correcting hyperandrogenism in females and hypogonadism in males may prevent the development of T2DM or help in its treatment.

Open access

Alexander Tacey, Lewan Parker, Bu B Yeap, John Joseph, Ee Mun Lim, Andrew Garnham, David Hare, Tara Brennan-Speranza and Itamar Levinger

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a single dose of prednisolone on (A) high-intensity interval cycling performance and (B) post-exercise metabolic, hormonal and haematological responses. Nine young men participated in this double blind, randomised, cross over study. The participants completed exercise sessions (4 × 4 minute cycling bouts at 90 - 95% of peak heart rate), twelve hours after ingesting prednisolone (20mg) or placebo. Work load was adjusted to maintain the same relative heart rate between the sessions. Exercise performance was measured as total work performed. Blood samples were taken at rest, immediately post-exercise and up to 3h post-exercise. Prednisolone ingestion decreased total work performed by 5% (p < 0.05). Baseline blood glucose was elevated following prednisolone compared to placebo (p < 0.001). Three hours post-exercise, blood glucose in the prednisolone trial was reduced to a level equivalent to the baseline concentration in the placebo trial (p < 0.05). Prednisolone suppressed the increase in blood lactate immediately post-exercise (p < 0.05). Total white blood cell count was elevated at all time-points with prednisolone (p < 0.01). Androgens and sex hormone-binding globulin where elevated immediately after exercise, irrespective of prednisolone or placebo. In contrast, prednisolone significantly reduced the ratio of testosterone / luteinizing hormone (p < 0.01). Acute prednisolone treatment impairs high-intensity interval cycling performance and alters metabolic and haematological parameters in healthy young men. Exercise may be an effective tool to minimise the effect of prednisolone on blood glucose levels.

Open access

Ermina Bach, Niels Møller, Jens Otto Lunde Jørgensen, Mads Buhl and Holger Jon Møller

Aims/hypothesis: The macrophage-specific glycoprotein sCD163 has emerged as a biomarker of low grade inflammation in the metabolic syndrome and related disorders. High sCD163 levels are seen in acute sepsis as result of direct lipopolysaccharide-mediated shedding of the protein from macrophage surfaces including Kupffer cells. The aims of this study were to investigate if low grade endotoxinemia in human subjects results in increasing levels of sCD163 in a cortisol-dependent manner.

Methods: We studied eight male hypopituitary patients and eight age and gender matched healthy controls during intravenous low dose LPS or placebo infusion administered continuously over 360 min. Furthermore, we studied eight healthy volunteers with bilateral femoral vein and artery catheters during a 360 minutes infusion with saline and low dose LPS in each leg respectively.

Results: Systemic low grade endotoxinemia resulted in a gradual increase in sCD163 from 1.65±0.51 mg/L (placebo) to 1.92±0.46 mg/L (LPS) at 220 min, p=0.005; and from 1.66±0.42 mg/L (placebo) to 2.19±0.56 mg/L (LPS) at 340 min, p=0.006. A very similar response was observed in hypopituitary patients: from 1.59±0.53 mg/L (placebo) to 1.83±0.45 mg/L (LPS) at 220 min, p=0.021; and from 1.52±0.53 mg/L (placebo) to 2.03±0.44 mg/L (LPS) at 340 min, p<0.001. As opposed to systemic treatment, continuous femoral artery infusion did not result in increased sCD163.

Conclusion: Systemic low grade endotoxinemia resulted in increased sCD163 to levels seen in the metabolic syndrome in both controls and hypopituitary patients. This suggests a direct and cortisol-independent effect of LPS on the shedding of sCD163. We observed no effect of local endotoxinemia on levels of serum sCD163.

Open access

Zi-Di Xu, Wei Zhang, Min Liu, Huan-Min Wang, Pei-Pei Hui, Xue-Jun Liang, Jie Yan, Yu-Jun Wu, Yan-Mei Sang, Cheng Zhu and Gui-Chen Ni

This study aims to summarize and analyze the clinical manifestations, genetic characteristics, treatment modalities and long-term prognosis of congenital hyperinsulinemia (CHI) in Chinese children. Sixty children with CHI, who were treated at Beijing Children’s Hospital from January 2014 to August 2017, and their families, were selected as subjects. The CHI-related causative genes in children were sequenced and analyzed using second-generation sequencing technology. Furthermore, the genetic pathogenesis and clinical characteristics of Chinese children with CHI were explored. Among the 60 CHI children, 27 children (27/60, 45%) carried known CHI-related gene mutations: 16 children (26.7%) carried ABCC8 gene mutations, seven children (11.7%) carried GLUD1 gene mutations, one child carried GCK gene mutations, two children carried HNF4α gene mutations and one child carried HADH gene mutations. In these 60 patients, eight patients underwent 18F-L-DOPA PET scan for the pancreas, and five children were found to be focal type. The treatment of diazoxide was ineffective in these five patients, and hypoglycemia could be controlled after receiving partial pancreatectomy. In conclusion, ABCC8 gene mutation is the most common cause of CHI in Chinese children. The early genetic analysis of children’s families has an important guiding significance for treatment planning and prognosis assessment.

Open access

Sandra R Dahl, Ingrid Nermoen, Ingeborg Brønstad, Eystein S Husebye, Kristian Løvås and Per M Thorsby

Immunoassays of steroid hormones are still used in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. However, cross-reactivity between steroids can give rise to falsely elevated steroid levels. Here, we compare the use of immunoassays and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) in the monitoring of patients with classic 21-hydroxylase deficiency (21OHD). Steroid profiles in different mutation groups (genotypes) were also compared. Fifty-five patients with classic 21OHD (38 women) were studied. Blood samples were collected in the morning after an overnight medication fast. LC–MS/MS and immunoassays were employed to assay 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP), testosterone and androstenedione. In addition, 21-deoxycortisol (21DF), 11-deoxycortisol (11DF), corticosterone, deoxycorticosterone, cortisone and cortisol were analyzed by LC–MS/MS. Testosterone, androstenedione and 17OHP levels were consistently lower (by about 30–50%) when measured by LC–MS/MS compared with immunoassays, with exception of testosterone in men. There was a significant correlation between 21DF and 17OHP (r = 0.87, P < 0.001), but three patients had undetectable 21DF. Subjects with no enzyme activity had significantly lower mean 11DF concentrations than subjects with residual activity. The use of LC–MS/MS gives a more specific view of adrenal steroid levels in 21OHD compared with immunoassays, which seem to considerably overestimate the levels of 17OHP and androstenedione. Falsely elevated levels of 17OHP and androstenedione could lead to overtreatment with glucocorticoids.

Open access

Kristin Ottarsdottir, Anna G Nilsson, Margareta Hellgren, Ulf Lindblad and Bledar Daka

The objective of this study was to investigate whether there is a bidirectional association between testosterone concentrations and insulin resistance, in a prospective population study. A random population sample of 1400 men, aged 30–74, was examined in 2002–2005 in southwestern Sweden and followed up in 2012–2014 (N = 657). After excluding subjects without information on sex hormones and insulin resistance, 1282 men were included in the baseline study. Fasting measurements of plasma glucose, insulin and hormones were performed. Insulin resistance was defined using HOMA-Ir. Mean age at baseline was 47.3 ± 11.4 years. From the follow-up survey 546 men were included, mean age 57.7 ± 11.6 years. Low concentrations of total testosterone at baseline were significantly associated with high logHOMA-Ir at follow-up in a multivariable model including age, waist–hip ratio, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking, LDL, CRP, hypertension, diabetes and logHOMA-Ir at baseline as covariates (β = −0.096, P = 0.006). Similar results were observed for bioavailable testosterone. Men within the lowest quartile of total testosterone at baseline had significantly higher logHOMA-Ir at follow-up than other quartiles (Q1 vs Q2 P = 0.008, Q1 vs Q3 P = 0.001, Q1 vs Q4 P = 0.052). Multivariable analysis of the impact of insulin resistance at baseline on testosterone levels at follow-up revealed no significant associations regarding testosterone concentrations (β = −0.003, P = 0.928) or bioavailable testosterone (β = −0.006, P = 0.873), when adjusting for baseline concentrations of total testosterone, age, waist–hip-ratio, LDL, CRP, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking, hypertension and diabetes. Low testosterone concentrations at baseline predicted higher insulin resistance at follow-up, but high insulin resistance at baseline could not predict low testosterone at follow-up.

Open access

Satoshi Inoue, Taichi Mizushima, Hiroki Ide, Guiyang Jiang, Takuro Goto, Yujiro Nagata, George J Netto and Hiroshi Miyamoto

We investigated the functional role of ATF2, a transcription factor normally activated via its phosphorylation in response to phospho-ERK/MAPK signals, in the outgrowth of urothelial cancer. In both neoplastic and non-neoplastic urothelial cells, the expression levels of androgen receptor (AR) correlated with those of phospho-ATF2. Dihydrotestosterone treatment in AR-positive bladder cancer cells also induced the expression of phospho-ATF2 and phospho-ERK as well as nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity of ATF2. Meanwhile, ATF2 knockdown via shRNA resulted in significant decreases in cell viability, migration and invasion of AR-positive bladder cancer lines, but not AR-negative lines, as well as significant increases and decreases in apoptosis or G0/G1 cell cycle phase and S or G2/M phase, respectively. Additionally, the growth of AR-positive tumors expressing ATF2-shRNA in xenograft-bearing mice was retarded, compared with that of control tumors. ATF2 knockdown also resulted in significant inhibition of neoplastic transformation induced by a chemical carcinogen 3-methylcholanthrene, as well as the expression of Bcl-2/cyclin-A2/cyclin-D1/JUN/MMP-2, in immortalized human normal urothelial SVHUC cells stably expressing AR, but not AR-negative SVHUC cells. Finally, immunohistochemistry in surgical specimens demonstrated significant elevation of ATF2/phospho-ATF2/phospho-ERK expression in bladder tumors, compared with non-neoplastic urothelial tissues. Multivariate analysis further showed that moderate/strong ATF2 expression and phospho-ATF2 positivity were independent predictors for recurrence of low-grade tumors (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.956, P = 0.045) and cancer-specific mortality of muscle-invasive tumors (HR = 5.317, P = 0.012), respectively. Thus, ATF2 appears to be activated in urothelial cells through the AR pathway and promotes the development and progression of urothelial cancer.

Open access

Linfei Yang, Xiao Yu and Yongchao Yang

Although the upregulation of autotaxin (ATX) is associated with many solid tumours, its role in pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (pNEN) has not been well elucidated. The expression of ATX in pNEN tissues and pNEN cell line BON1 was analysed by Western blot, PCR and immunocytochemistry upon exposure to interleukin-6 (IL-6). Additionally, pNEN cell line BON1 was transfected with siRNAs against ATX or signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and assessed by in vitro invasion assays. The following results were obtained. The expression of ATX in pNEN tissues was significantly increased compared with that in normal pancreatic tissues. High ATX expression was strongly correlated with tumour grade, lymph node metastasis and tumour-node-metastasis stage. Furthermore, ATX downregulation notably inhibited the metastatic capacity of pNEN cells, whereas STAT3 knockdown was found to downregulate the expression of ATX. ATX expression was upregulated in BON1 cells upon stimulation with IL-6, and this was accompanied by activation/phosphorylation of STAT3. Western blot analysis of human pNEN tissue extracts confirmed increased ATX expression and STAT3 phosphorylation with elevated expression levels of IL-6. In conclusion, ATX is upregulated in pNEN and is correlated with the metastatic capacity of pNEN cells, potentially via interaction with STAT3 activation.