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Open access

Marieke Stientje Velema, Aline de Nooijer, Ad R M M Hermus, Henri J L M Timmers, Jacques W M Lenders, Olga Husson, and Jaap Deinum

Objective

To develop a primary aldosteronism (PA) disease-specific Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) questionnaire.

Methods

We included newly diagnosed patients with PA (n = 26), and patients with PA after adrenalectomy (n = 25) or treated with mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (n = 25). According to the guidelines for developing HRQoL questionnaires from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC): Phase I: systematic literature review followed by focus group meetings with patients (n = 13) resulting in a list of 94 HRQoL issues. Relevance of issues was rated by 18 other patients and by health care professionals (n = 15), resulting in 30 remaining issues. Phase II: selected issues were converted into questions. Phase III: the provisional questionnaire was pre-tested by a third group of patients (n = 45) who also completed the EORTC core Quality of Life questionnaire (QLQ-C30). Psychometric testing resulted in a final selection of questions with their scale structure.

Results

After the collection and selection of HRQoL issues a provisional questionnaire consisting of 30 items was formed. Of these items, 26 could be assigned to one of the four scales ‘physical and mental fatigue’, ‘anxiety and stress’, ‘fluid balance’ and ‘other complaints’ cumulatively accounting for 68% of variation in all items. All scales had good reliability and validity. There was a significant correlation of all four scales with the QLQ-C30 in most cases.

Conclusions

We developed the first PA-specific HRQoL questionnaire (PA-QoL) using standard, methodologically proven guidelines. After completion of the final validation (phase IV, international field testing), the questionnaire can be implemented into clinical practice.

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

Maurício Martins da Silva, Lueni Lopes Felix Xavier, Carlos Frederico Lima Gonçalves, Ana Paula Santos-Silva, Francisca Diana Paiva-Melo, Mariana Lopes de Freitas, Rodrigo Soares Fortunato, Leandro Miranda-Alves, and Andrea Claudia Freitas Ferreira

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the most common monomer in polycarbonate plastics and an endocrine disruptor. Though some effects of BPA on thyroid hormone (TH) synthesis and action have been described, the impact of this compound on thyroid H2O2 generation remains elusive. H2O2 is a reactive oxygen species (ROS), which could have deleterious effect on thyrocytes if in excess. Therefore, herein we aimed at evaluating the effect of BPA exposition both in vivo and in vitro on H2O2 generation in thyrocytes, besides other essential steps for TH synthesis. Female Wistar rats were treated with vehicle (control) or BPA 40 mg/kg BW for 15 days, by gavage. We then evaluated thyroid iodide uptake, mediated by sodium-iodide symporter (NIS), thyroperoxidase (TPO) and dual oxidase (DOUX) activities (H2O2 generation). Hydrogen peroxide generation was increased, while iodide uptake and TPO activity were reduced by BPA exposition. We have also incubated the rat thyroid cell line PCCL3 with 10−9 M BPA and evaluated Nis and Duox mRNA levels, besides H2O2 generation. Similar to that found in vivo, BPA treatment also led to increased H2O2 generation in PCCL3. Nis mRNA levels were reduced and Duox2 mRNA levels were increased in BPA-exposed cells. To evaluate the importance of oxidative stress on BPA-induced Nis reduction, PCCL3 was treated with BPA in association to N-acetylcysteine, an antioxidant, which reversed the effect of BPA on Nis. Our data suggest that BPA increases ROS production in thyrocytes, what could lead to oxidative damage thus possibly predisposing to thyroid disease.

Open access

Emanuelle Nunes-Souza, Mônica Evelise Silveira, Monalisa Castilho Mendes, Seigo Nagashima, Caroline Busatta Vaz de Paula, Guilherme Guilherme Vieira Cavalcante da Silva, Giovanna Silva Barbosa, Julia Belgrowicz Martins, Lúcia de Noronha, Luana Lenzi, José Renato Sales Barbosa, Rayssa Danilow Fachin Donin, Juliana Ferreira de Moura, Gislaine Custódio, Cleber Machado-Souza, Enzo Lalli, and Bonald Cavalcante de Figueiredo

Objective

Adaptive changes in DHEA and sulfated-DHEA (DHEAS) production from adrenal zona reticularis (ZR) have been observed in normal and pathological conditions. Here we used three different cohorts to assess timing differences in DHEAS blood level changes and characterize the relationship between early blood DHEAS reduction and cell number changes in women ZR.

Materials and methods

DHEAS plasma samples (n = 463) were analyzed in 166 healthy prepubertal girls before pubarche (<9 years) and 324 serum samples from 268 adult females (31.9–83.8 years) without conditions affecting steroidogenesis. Guided by DHEAS blood levels reduction rate, we selected the age range for ZR cell counting using DHEA/DHEAS and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), tumor suppressor and cell stress marker, immunostaining, and hematoxylin stained nuclei of 14 post-mortem adrenal glands.

Results

We confirmed that overweight girls exhibited higher and earlier DHEAS levels and no difference was found compared with the average European and South American girls with a similar body mass index (BMI). Adrenopause onset threshold (AOT) defined as DHEAS blood levels <2040 nmol/L was identified in >35% of the females >40 years old and associated with significantly reduced ZR cell number (based on PTEN and hematoxylin signals). ZR cell loss may in part account for lower DHEA/DHEAS expression, but most cells remain alive with lower DHEA/DHEAS biosynthesis.

Conclusion

The timely relation between significant reduction of blood DHEAS levels and decreased ZR cell number at the beginning of the 40s suggests that adrenopause is an additional burden for a significant number of middle-aged women, and may become an emergent problem associated with further sex steroids reduction during the menopausal transition.

Open access

Stan Ursem, Vito Francic, Martin Keppel, Verena Schwetz, Christian Trummer, Marlene Pandis, Felix Aberer, Martin R Grübler, Nicolas D Verheyen, Winfried März, Andreas Tomaschitz, Stefan Pilz, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, and Annemieke C Heijboer

Objective

PTH can be oxidised in vivo, rendering it biologically inactive. Non-oxidised PTH (n-oxPTH) may therefore give a better image of the hormonal status of the patient. While vitamin D supplementation decreases total PTH (tPTH) concentration, the effect on n-oxPTH concentration is unexplored. We investigated the effect of vitamin D on n-oxPTH concentration in comparison to tPTH and compared the correlations between parameters of calcium, bone and lipid metabolism with n-oxPTH and tPTH.

Methods

N-oxPTH was measured in 108 vitamin D-insufficient (25(OH)D <75 nmol/L) hypertensive patients, treated with vitamin D (2800 IE daily) or placebo for 8 weeks in the Styrian Vitamin D Hypertension Trial (NCT02136771). We calculated the treatment effect and performed correlation analyses of n-oxPTH and tPTH with parameters of calcium, bone and lipid metabolism and oxidative stress.

Results

After treatment, compared to placebo, 25(OH)D concentrations increased, tPTH decreased by 9% (P < 0.001), n-oxPTH by 7% (P = 0.025) and the ratio of n-oxPTH/tPTH increased (P = 0.027). Changes in phosphate and HDL concentration correlated with changes in n-oxPTH, but not tPTH.

Conclusions

tPTH and n-oxPTH decrease upon vitamin D supplementation. Our study suggests that vitamin D supplementation reduces the oxidation of PTH, as we observed a small but significant increase in the non-oxidised proportion of PTH upon treatment. In addition, we found that changes in phosphate and HDL concentration showed a relationship with changes in n-oxPTH, but not tPTH. This may be explained by the biological activity of n-oxPTH. Further research should be carried out to establish the clinical relevance of n-oxPTH.

Open access

Jairo Arturo Pinzón-Cortés, Angelina Perna-Chaux, Nicolás Steven Rojas-Villamizar, Angélica Díaz-Basabe, Diana Carolina Polanía-Villanueva, María Fernanda Jácome, Carlos Olimpo Mendivil, Helena Groot, and Valeriano López-Segura

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterized by oxidative stress that could lead to chronic micro- and macrovascular complications. We hypothesized that some of the target organ damage is mediated by oxidative alterations in epigenetic mechanisms involving DNA methylation (5mC) and DNA hydroxymethylation (5hmC). We analyzed global DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation in peripheral blood cells in well-controlled and poorly controlled patients with T2DM and compared them with healthy controls. We also analyzed microarrays of DNA methylation and gene expression of other important tissues in the context of diabetes from the GEO database repository and then compared these results with our experimental gene expression data. DNA methylation and, more importantly, DNA hydroxymethylation levels were increased in poorly controlled patients compared to well-controlled and healthy individuals. Both 5mC and 5hmC measurements were correlated with the percentage of glycated hemoglobin, indicating a direct impact of hyperglycemia on changes over the epigenome. The analysis of methylation microarrays was concordant, and 5mC levels were increased in the peripheral blood of T2DM patients. However, the DNA methylation levels were the opposite of those in other tissues, such as the pancreas, adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. We hypothesize that a process of DNA oxidation associated with hyperglycemia may explain the DNA demethylation in which the activity of ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins is not sufficient to complete the process. High levels of glucose lead to cellular oxidation, which triggers the process of DNA demethylation aided by TET enzymes, resulting in epigenetic dysregulation of the damaged tissues.

Open access

Ping Gu, Yuege Lin, Qi Wan, Dongming Su, and Qun Shu

Background

Increased insulin production and secretion by pancreatic β-cells are important for ensuring the high insulin demand during gestation. However, the underlying mechanism of β-cell adaptation during gestation or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) remains unclear. Oxytocin is an important physiological hormone in gestation and delivery, and it also contributes to the maintenance of β-cell function. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of oxytocin in β-cell adaptation during pregnancy.

Methods

The relationship between the blood oxytocin level and pancreatic β-cell function in patients with GDM and healthy pregnant women was investigated. Gestating and non-gestating mice were used to evaluate the in vivo effect of oxytocin signal on β-cells during pregnancy. In vitro experiments were performed on INS-1 insulinoma cells.

Results

The blood oxytocin levels were lower in patients with GDM than in healthy pregnant women and were associated with impaired pancreatic β-cell function. Acute administration of oxytocin increased insulin secretion in both gestating and non-gestating mice. A 3-week oxytocin treatment promoted the proliferation of pancreatic β-cells and increased the β-cell mass in gestating but not non-gestating mice. Antagonism of oxytocin receptors by atosiban impaired insulin secretion and induced GDM in gestating but not non-gestating mice. Oxytocin enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, and promoted cell proliferation in INS-1 cells.

Conclusions

These findings provide strong evidence that oxytocin is needed for β-cell adaptation during pregnancy to maintain β-cell function, and the lack of oxytocin could be associated with the risk of GDM.

Open access

Emmanuel K Fai, Cheryl Anderson, and Victor Ferreros

The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the extent to which patient attitudes and intentions predict adherence to the use of oral antihyperglycemic regimens in African Americans. This cross-sectional study of 115 participants used correlation analysis to establish relationships among patient attitudes, intentions and adherence. Data analyses showed significant correlations between the variables. Multiple regression analysis was used to establish predictions between the variables. A prediction model containing attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control (PBC) explained 37% of the variance to behavioral intention. Intentions accounted for 8.5% of the variance to adherence. Attitudes predicted behavioral intentions. The findings support the theory of planned behavior model and identify important correlations between attitudes, intentions and behaviors. In addition, the results underscore the need for promoting positive attitudes and positive intentions in effective adherence to the use of oral antihyperglycemic regimens. Achieving adequate adherence through behavioral counseling can effect positive social change by reducing the mortality and morbidity that are associated with inadequate adherence to the use of oral diabetic agents.

Open access

Violeta Iotova, Camilla Schalin-Jäntti, Petra Bruegmann, Manuela Broesamle, Natasa Bratina, Vallo Tillmann, Olaf Hiort, and Alberto M Pereira

Objective

The European Reference Network on Rare Endocrine Conditions (Endo-ERN), operational since 2017, consists of 71 health care providers (HCPs) in 19 EU member states. Our objective was to assess education and knowledge on rare endocrine conditions.

Design and methods

A survey was developed and sent through the DIGIT-EUROSURVEY system to all Endo-ERN HCPs.

Results

Response rate was 55% (n = 146), 95% physicians, 58% >20 years of experience, 96% academics. Largest knowledge gaps were reported for the transition and neonatal ages, and for the GPs. Less than 50% of HCPs had structured educational rare diseases (RD) plans, while 86% used RD specific guidelines. HCPs would share educational materials within Endo-ERN (74%), and participate in an accreditation model (85%). E-learning portals of the endocrine scientific societies used 58% (ESPE) and 64% (ESE). Most participants (90%) regarded Endo-ERN coordinated educational activities (annual meetings slots, webinars, etc.) as highly important and supported a common educational platform. Social media was perceived as important for educating patients (86%) but not for physicians (36%). Seventy-five % had developed patient education materials; only 31% had specific children’s materials, and by-country availability varied from 0 to 100%. Respondents provided newly diagnosed patients with their own material in the national language (81%); referred to advocacy groups (68%), and relevant online sources (50%). Respondents believed the European Commission should fund education through Endo-ERN.

Conclusion

Identified knowledge gaps in rare endocrine disorders set the basis for fast catch-up through collaboration, alignment with patients’ needs, and further development of existing and newly developed educational resources.

Open access

Navid Tabriz, Kilian Gloy, Astrid Schantzen, Dennis Fried, Dirk Weyhe, and Verena Uslar

Objectives

Validation of a German version of the ThyPRO-39 questionnaire for quality of life (QoL) in patients with benign thyroid diseases.

Design

Internal consistency, retest reliability, and validity were to be assessed in a test-retest study.

Methods

The ThyPRO-39 was translated based on standard methodology. A sample of 98 patients with benign thyroid diseases was tested with the ThyPRO-39de and the generic EuroQol 5D-5L. Forty-four patients with stable symptoms after 2 weeks formed the repeated measures sample. Cronbach’s alpha was calculated for the ThyPRO-39de composite score and for each disease-specific scale. Intraclass correlations between the original and the repeated measures sample were calculated for each scale as well as Pearson correlations between various ThyPRO scales and the EuroQol. T-tests were used to test for differences in the goiter and hyperthyroid symptom scales between relevant patient groups and other patients.

Results

Internal consistency was between satisfactory and good, except for two scales (tiredness and cosmetic complaints/appearance). The test-retest correlation was between 0.62 and 0.8 for most scales, but below 0.5 for two scales (tiredness and impaired social life). There were significant correlations between the EuroQol index score and most aspects of the ThyPRO-39de. Only the hyperthyroid symptoms scale was specific for the relevant patient group (Graves’ disease).

Conclusion

The ThyPRO-39de may be recommended for use in clinical and research settings, especially with regards to the composite score. However, the underlying thyroid disease should always be kept in mind when interpreting the test results. A larger sample would be needed to implement further improvements.