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Open access

Lia Ferreira, João Silva, Susana Garrido, Carlos Bello, Diana Oliveira, Hélder Simões, Isabel Paiva, Joana Guimarães, Marta Ferreira, Teresa Pereira, Rita Bettencourt-Silva, Ana Filipa Martins, Tiago Silva, Vera Fernandes, Maria Lopes Pereira, and Adrenal Tumors Study Group of the Portuguese Society of Endocrinology

Introduction

Primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) is a rare but severe and potentially life-threatening condition. No previous studies have characterized Portuguese patients with PAI.

Aims

To characterize the clinical presentation, diagnostic workup, treatment and follow‐up of Portuguese patients with confirmed PAI.

Methods

This multicentre retrospective study examined PAI patients in 12 Portuguese hospitals.

Results

We investigated 278 patients with PAI (55.8% were females), with a mean age of 33.6 ± 19.3 years at diagnosis. The most frequent presenting clinical features were asthenia (60.1%), mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation (55.0%) and weight loss (43.2%); 29.1% of the patients presented with adrenal crisis. Diagnosis was established by high plasma ACTH and low serum cortisol in most patients (43.9%). The most common aetiology of PAI was autoimmune adrenalitis (61.0%). There were 38 idiopathic cases. Autoimmune comorbidities were found in 70% of the patients, the most frequent being autoimmune thyroiditis (60.7%) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (17.3%). Seventy-nine percent were treated with hydrocortisone (mean dose 26.3 ± 8.3 mg/day) mostly in three (57.5%) or two (37.4%) daily doses. The remaining patients were treated with prednisolone (10.1%), dexamethasone (6.2%) and methylprednisolone (0.7%); 66.2% were also on fludrocortisone (median dose of 100 µg/day). Since diagnosis, 33.5% of patients were hospitalized for disease decompensation. In the last appointment, 17.2% of patients had complaints (7.6% asthenia and 6.5% depression) and 9.7% had electrolyte disturbances.

Conclusion

This is the first multicentre Portuguese study regarding PAI. The results emphasize the need for standardization in diagnostic tests and etiological investigation and provide a framework for improving treatment.

Open access

Eva Olga Melin, Magnus Hillman, and Mona Landin-Olsson

Objective

To explore associations between high midnight salivary cortisol (MSC) secretion and high blood pressure (BP) in type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Methods

Cross-sectional study of 196 adult patients with T1D (54% men). Associations between high MSC (≥9.3 nmol/L) and high systolic BP (>130 mmHg), and high diastolic BP (>80 mmHg) were explored for all patients, users and non-users of antihypertensive drugs (AHD). Adjustments were performed for age, sex, diabetes-related variables, p-creatinine, smoking, physical inactivity, depression and medication.

Results

The prevalence of high MSC differed between patients with high and low systolic BP in all 196 patients: 39 vs 13% (P = 0.001); in 60 users of AHD: 37 vs 12% (P = 0.039), and in 136 non-users of AHD: 43 vs 13% (P = 0.012). Significant associations with high systolic BP were for all patients: physical inactivity (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 6.5), high MSC (AOR 3.9), abdominal obesity (AOR 3.7), AHD (AOR 2.9), age (per year) (AOR 1.07), and p-creatinine (per µmol/L) (AOR 1.03); for 60 users of AHD: high MSC (AOR 4.1) and age (per year) (AOR 1.11); for 136 non-users of AHD: abdominal obesity (AOR 27.4), physical inactivity (AOR 14.7), male sex (AOR 9.0), smoking (AOR 7.9), and age (per year) (AOR 1.08). High MSC was not associated with high DBP.

Conclusions

In adult patients with T1D, high systolic BP was associated with physical inactivity, high MSC secretion, abdominal obesity, p-creatinine, age, and AHD, the latter indicating treatment failure.

Open access

Yu Lin, Yingying Zhang, Lei Xu, Wei Long, Chunjian Shan, Hongjuan Ding, Lianghui You, Chun Zhao, and Zhonghua Shi

Aims

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)-induced macrosomia is predominantly characterized by fat accumulation, which is closely related to adipocyte differentiation. An unknown long noncoding RNA RP11-290L1.3, referred to as RP11, was identified to be dramatically upregulated in the umbilical cord blood of women with GDM-induced macrosomia in our previous study. We conducted this study to identify the function of RP11 in GDM-induced macrosomia.

Methods

The effects of RP11 gain- and loss-of-function on HPA-v (human preadipocytes-visceral) adipogenesis were determined with lentivirus mediated cell transduction. The mRNA and protein expression levels of adipogenesis makers were evaluated by qPCR/Western blot. Then, we performed the microarray and pathway analysis to explore the possible mechanisms by which RP11 regulates adipogenesis.

Results

Overexpression of RP11 significantly enhanced adipocyte differentiation and increased the mRNA and protein expression levels of adipogenesis makers, such as PPARγ, SREBP1c, and FASN by qPCR/Western blot. Knockdown of RP11 showed opposite effects. Microarray and pathway analysis showed, after RP11 knockdown, 1612 genes were upregulated, and 583 genes were down-regulated which were found to be mainly involved in metabolic pathways, insulin signaling pathway and MAPK signaling pathway.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the unknown lncRNA RP11 serves as a positive factor on preadipocyte differentiation which could shed light on fetal fat accumulation in GDM.

Open access

Filippo Ceccato, Elisa Selmin, Chiara Sabbadin, Miriam Dalla Costa, Giorgia Antonelli, Mario Plebani, Mattia Barbot, Corrado Betterle, Marco Boscaro, and Carla Scaroni

Introduction and Aim

The purpose of replacement therapy in adrenal insufficiency (AI) is mimicking endogenous cortisol levels as closely as possible: dual release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) has been introduced to replicate the circadian cortisol rhythm. Multiple daily saliva collections could be used to assess the cortisol rhythm during real life: our aim was to study the salivary cortisol profile in AI.

Materials and Methods

We prospectively evaluated, in an observational study, 18 adult outpatients with AI (11 primary and 7 secondary AI), switched from conventional treatment (conv-HC, 25 mg/day) to the same dose of DR-HC. We collected six samples of saliva in a day, measuring cortisol (F) and cortisone (E) with LC-MS/MS. Forty-three matched healthy subjects served as controls.

Results

F levels were similar in the morning (and higher than controls) in patients treated with conv-HC or DR-HC; otherwise F levels and exposure were lower in the afternoon and evening in patients with DR-HC, achieving a cortisol profile closer to healthy controls. Daily cortisol exposure, measured with area under the curve, was lower with DR-HC. Morning F and E presented sensitivity and specificity >90% to diagnose AI (respectively threshold of 3 and 9.45 nmol/L). Total cholesterol and HbA1c levels reduced with DR-HC.

Conclusions

Salivary cortisol daily curve could be used as a new tool to assess the cortisol profiles in patients treated with conv-HC and DR-HC. A lower daily cortisol exposure was achieved with DR-HC (despite the same HC dose), especially in the afternoon-evening.

Open access

Lukas Engler, Christian Adolf, Daniel A Heinrich, Anna-Katharine Brem, Anna Riester, Anna Franke, Felix Beuschlein, Martin Reincke, Axel Steiger, and Heike Künzel

Primary aldosteronism is a natural model for chronic aldosterone excess in humans and associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Cognitive deficits are inherent to the symptomatology of depression and anxiety disorders. Mineralocorticoid receptors and aldosterone appear to play a role in memory. Aldosterone was additionally supposed to be a risk factor for cognitive decline in patients with essential hypertension. The objective of this study was to investigate possible effects of chronically high aldosterone concentrations on cognitive function. A range of cognitive dimensions were assessed in 19 patients (9 males, 10 females); mean age 47.1 (12.5) under standardized treatment and several rating scales for anxiety, depression, quality of life and sleep were administered. Cognitive parameters were compared to standard norms from a large, healthy standardization sample. Patients showed increased levels of anxiety and depression without meeting diagnostic criteria for a disorder. Besides a numerically lower attention score, patients did not show any significant differences in the cognitive dimensions. Anxiety and depression were negatively correlated with quantitative performance in males. In females, a negative correlation between sleep disturbances and abstract reasoning and a positive correlation with quantitative performance were found. Our data showed no specific effect of chronic aldosterone in the tested cognitive parameters overall at least in younger patients, but they indicate sexually dimorphic regulation processes.

Open access

Sirazum Choudhury, Tricia Tan, Katharine Lazarus, and Karim Meeran

The introduction of adrenocortical extract in 1930 improved the life expectancy of hyhpoadrenal patients, with further increases seen after the introduction of cortisone acetate from 1948. Most patients are now treated with synthetic hydrocortisone, and incremental advances have been made with optimisation of daily dosing and the introduction of multidose regimens. There remains a significant mortality gap between individuals with treated hypoadrenalism and the general population. It is unclear whether this gap is a result of glucocorticoid over-replacement, under-replacement or loss of the circadian and ultradian rhythm of cortisol secretion, with the risk of detrimental excess glucocorticoid exposure at later times in the day. The way forwards will involve replacement of the diurnal cortisol rhythm with better glucocorticoid replacement regimens. The steroid profile produced by both prednisolone and dual-release hydrocortisone (Plenadren), provide a smoother glucocorticoid profile of cortisol than standard oral multidose regimens of hydrocortisone and cortisone acetate. The individualisation of prednisolone doses and lower bioavailability of Plenadren offer reductions in total steroid exposure. Although there is emerging evidence of both treatments offering better cardiometabolic outcomes than standard glucocorticoid replacement regimens, there is a paucity of evidence involving very low dose prednisolone (2–4 mg daily) compared to the larger doses (~7.5 mg) historically used. Data from upcoming clinical studies on prednisolone will therefore be of key importance in informing future practice.

Open access

R C S van Adrichem, L J Hofland, R A Feelders, M C De Martino, P M van Koetsveld, C H J van Eijck, R R de Krijger, D M Sprij-Mooij, J A M J L Janssen, and W W de Herder

Chromogranin A (CgA) and the Ki-67 proliferation index are considered as important biochemical and pathological markers for clinical behaviour of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP NETs), respectively. The IGF system has been suggested as an important regulator of GEP NET proliferation and differentiation. A possible relationship between serum CgA (sCgA), Ki-67 proliferation index, and expression of IGF-related genes in patients with GEP NETs has not been demonstrated yet. This study investigates the relationship between sCgA, the Ki-67 proliferation index, and the expression of IGF-related genes in GEP NET tissues and their relation with 5-year survival. Tumor and blood samples from 22 GEP NET patients were studied. Tumoral mRNA expression of IGF-related genes (IGFs: IGF1, IGF2; IGF receptors: IGF1R, IGF2R; insulin receptors: subtype A (IR-A) and B (IR-B); IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs): IGFBP1, IGFBP2, IGFBP3, and IGFBP6) was measured using quantitative RT-PCR. Ki-67 proliferation index was determined using immunohistochemistry. sCgA was measured with ELISA. Five-year survival in patients with nonelevated sCgA (n=11) was 91 vs 46% in patients with elevated sCgA (n=11) (P=0.006). IR-A mRNA expression was significantly higher in tumors obtained from patients with elevated sCgA than in those from patients with nonelevated sCgA (6.42±2.08 vs 2.60±0.40; P=0.04). This data suggests that sCgA correlates well with 5-year survival of GEP NET patients, and that IR-A mRNA expression correlates well with tumor mass in GEP NET patients.

Open access

Magaly Zappa, Olivia Hentic, Marie-Pierre Vullierme, Matthieu Lagadec, Maxime Ronot, Philippe Ruszniewski, and Valérie Vilgrain

Background

Visual semi-quantitative assessment of liver tumour burden for neuroendocrine tumour liver metastases is often used in patient management and outcome. However, published data on the reproducibility of these evaluations are lacking.

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate the interobserver and intraobserver agreement of a visual semi-quantitative assessment of liver tumour burden using CT scan.

Methods

Fifty consecutive patients (24 men and 26 women, mean aged 54 years) were retrospectively reviewed by four readers (two senior radiologists, one junior radiologist and one gastroenterologist) who assessed the liver tumour burden based on a visual semi-quantitative method with four classes (0–10, 11–25, 26–50 and ≥50%). Interobserver and intraobserver agreement were assessed by weighted kappa coefficient and percentage of agreement. The intraclass correlation was calculated.

Results

Agreement among the four observers for the evaluation of liver tumour burden was substantial, ranging from 0.62 to 0.73 (P < 0.0001). The intraclass coefficient was 0.977 (P < 0.0001). Intraobserver agreement was 0.78 and ICC was 0.97.

Conclusion

Reproducibility of the visual semi-quantitative evaluation of liver tumour burden is good and is independent of the level of experience of the readers. We therefore suggest that clinical studies in patients with neuroendocrine liver metastases use this method to categorise liver tumour burden.

Open access

Xingyao Tang, Zhi-Hui Song, Dawei Wang, Jinkui Yang, Marly Augusto Cardoso, Jian-Bo Zhou, and Rafael Simó

Thyroid hormone, as a modifiable risk factor for dementia, promotes neurocognitive function and regulates metabolic processes. Various studies have defined different thyroid-stimulating hormone cutoffs, but the safest thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration was absent. A dose–response meta-analysis describing the overall functional relation and identifying exposure intervals associated with a higher or lower disease risk is thus desirable. Therefore, our current analysis was conducted to understand the influence of thyroid dysfunction on dementia risk. We searched PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science before May 1, 2020 for human studies published in English. Studies were considered for inclusion if they used a cohort study design to measure the risk of dementia in different thyroid function status groups, diagnosed thyroid functional status and all-cause dementia, included participants aged >18 years, and provided quantitative measures of data. The analysis contained 17 articles with 344,248 individuals with a 7.8-year mean follow-up. Ten studies with 329,287 participants indicated that only subclinical hyperthyroidism was associated with an increased risk of dementia. In contrast, subclinical hypothyroidism, clinical hyperthyroidism, and clinical hypothyroidism did not affect dementia. In the dose–response meta-analysis with 46,417 samples from 11 studies, the association of thyroid-stimulating hormone with the risk of dementia exhibited a U-shaped curve. Our study indicated that subclinical hyperthyroidism was associated with the risk of dementia and the thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration at around 1.55–1.60 mU/L as the optimum range for the risk of dementia.

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.