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Open access

M von Wolff, C T Nakas, M Tobler, T M Merz, M P Hilty, J D Veldhuis, A R Huber, and J Pichler Hefti

Humans cannot live at very high altitude for reasons, which are not completely understood. Since these reasons are not restricted to cardiorespiratory changes alone, changes in the endocrine system might also be involved. Therefore, hormonal changes during prolonged hypobaric hypoxia were comprehensively assessed to determine effects of altitude and hypoxia on stress, thyroid and gonadal hypothalamus–pituitary hormone axes. Twenty-one male and 19 female participants were examined repetitively during a high-altitude expedition. Cortisol, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), fT4 and fT3 and in males follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and total testosterone were analysed as well as parameters of hypoxemia, such as SaO2 and paO2 at 550 m (baseline) (n = 40), during ascent at 4844 m (n = 38), 6022 m (n = 31) and 7050 m (n = 13), at 4844 m (n = 29) after acclimatization and after the expedition (n = 38). Correlation analysis of hormone concentrations with oxygen parameters and with altitude revealed statistical association in most cases only with altitude. Adrenal, thyroid and gonadal axes were affected by increasing altitude. Adrenal axis and prolactin were first supressed at 4844 m and then activated with increasing altitude; thyroid and gonadal axes were directly activated or suppressed respectively with increasing altitude. Acclimatisation at 4844 m led to normalization of adrenal and gonadal but not of thyroid axes. In conclusion, acclimatization partly leads to a normalization of the adrenal, thyroid and gonadal axes at around 5000 m. However, at higher altitude, endocrine dysregulation is pronounced and might contribute to the physical degradation found at high altitude.

Open access

Ulla Schmidt, Birte Nygaard, Ebbe Winther Jensen, Jan Kvetny, Anne Jarløv, and Jens Faber

Background

A recent randomized controlled trial suggests that hypothyroid subjects may find levothyroxine (l-T4) and levotriiodothyronine combination therapy to be superior to l-T4 monotherapy in terms of quality of life, suggesting that the brain registered increased T3 availability during the combination therapy.

Hypothesis

Peripheral tissue might also be stimulated during T4/T3 combination therapy compared with T4 monotherapy.

Methods

Serum levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), pro-collagen-1-N-terminal peptide (PINP), and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) (representing hepatocyte, osteoblast, and cardiomyocyte stimulation respectively) were measured in 26 hypothyroid subjects in a double-blind, randomized, crossover trial, which compared the replacement therapy with T4/T3 in combination (50 μg T4 was substituted with 20 μg T3) to T4 alone (once daily regimens). This was performed to obtain unaltered serum TSH levels during the trial and between the two treatment groups. Blood sampling was performed 24 h after the last intake of thyroid hormone medication.

Results

TSH remained unaltered between the groups ((median) 0.83 vs 1.18 mU/l in T4/T3 combination and T4 monotherapy respectively; P=0.534). SHBG increased from (median) 75 nmol/l at baseline to 83 nmol/l in the T4/T3 group (P=0.015) but remained unaltered in the T4 group (67 nmol/l); thus, it was higher in the T4/T3 vs T4 group (P=0.041). PINP levels were higher in the T4/T3 therapy (48 vs 40 μg/l (P<0.001)). NT-proBNP did not differ between the groups.

Conclusions

T4/T3 combination therapy in hypothyroidism seems to have more metabolic effects than the T4 monotherapy.

Open access

Shenglong Le, Leiting Xu, Moritz Schumann, Na Wu, Timo Törmäkangas, Markku Alén, Sulin Cheng, and Petri Wiklund

Background

The directional influences between serum sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), adiposity and insulin resistance during pubertal growth remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate bidirectional associations between SHBG and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and adiposity from childhood to early adulthood.

Methods

Participants were 396 healthy girls measured at baseline (age 11.2 years) and at 1, 2, 4 and 7.5 years. Serum concentrations of estradiol, testosterone and SHBG were determined by ELISA, glucose and insulin by enzymatic photometry, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) by time-resolved fluoroimmunoassays, whole-body fat mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and HOMA-IR were determined by homeostatic model assessment. The associations were examined using cross-lagged path models.

Results

In a cross-lagged path model, SHBG predicted HOMA-IR before menarche β = −0.320 (95% CI: −0.552 to −0.089), P = 0.007, independent of adiposity and IGF-1. After menarche, no directional effect was found between SHBG and insulin resistance or adiposity.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that in early puberty, decline in SHBG predicts development of insulin resistance, independent of adiposity. However, after menarche, no directional influences between SHBG, adiposity and insulin resistance were found, suggesting that observational associations between SHBG, adiposity and insulin resistance in pubertal children may be subject to confounding. Further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms of the associations between SHBG and cardiometabolic risk markers in peripubertal children.

Open access

Alice S Ryan, John C McLenithan, and Gretchen M Zietowski

The purpose of this study is to compare central obesity, insulin sensitivity, and cardiovascular disease risk factors between premenopausal and postmenopausal women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), controls, and women with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Subjects were 73 overweight/obese and sedentary women who had a history of GDM (n=31) and were either premenopausal (n=11, 44±1 years, X±s.e.m.), postmenopausal (n=20, 58±1 years), or without a history of GDM as healthy postmenopausal controls (n=27, 57±1 years) or postmenopausal with T2DM (n=16, 59±1 years). The premenopausal GDM women had higher maximal oxygen uptake and lower visceral fat than the other three groups (P<0.05). BMI, %body fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat, and intramuscular fat did not differ significantly among the four groups. Glucose utilization (M, 3 h 40 mU/m2 per min hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamps) was 27% higher (P=0.05) in pre- than postmenopausal GDM and was not different between premenopausal GDM and postmenopausal controls. M was 28% lower (P=0.06) in postmenopausal GDM than controls and was not significantly different between postmenopausal GDM and T2DM groups. Thus, despite being younger and more physically fit, premenopausal women with prior GDM display similar central obesity, glucose, and metabolic profiles as postmenopausal controls. Postmenopausal women with prior GDM are more insulin resistant than controls of similar age, adiposity, and fitness levels and display comparable glucose utilization rates as similar as women with T2DM suggesting that a prior history of GDM may be an early manifestation of increased risk of later T2DM.

Open access

Xiao Zong, Qin Fan, Hang Zhang, Qian Yang, Hongyang Xie, Qiujing Chen, Ruiyan Zhang, and Rong Tao

To explore the relationship between soluble ST2 (sST2) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) and determine whether sST2 levels can predict the presence and severity of MetS. We evaluated 550 consecutive subjects (58.91 ± 9.69 years, 50% male) with or without MetS from the Department of Vascular & Cardiology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University-Affiliated Ruijin Hospital. Serum sST2 concentrations were measured. The participants were divided into three groups according to the sST2 tertiles. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between serum sST2 concentrations and the presence of MetS. Serum sST2 concentrations were significantly higher in the MetS group than in those in the no MetS group (14.80 ± 7.01 vs 11.58 ± 6.41 ng/mL, P < 0.01). Subjects with more MetS components showed higher levels of sST2. sST2 was associated with the occurrence of MetS after multivariable adjustment as a continuous log-transformed variable (per 1 SD, odds ratio (OR): 1.42, 95% CI: 1.13–1.80, P < 0.01). Subgroup analysis showed that individuals with MetS have significantly higher levels of sST2 than those without MetS regardless of sex and age. High serum sST2 levels were significantly and independently associated with the presence and severity of MetS. Thus, sST2 levels may be a novel biomarker and clinical predictor of MetS.

Open access

Malin Nylander, Signe Frøssing, Caroline Kistorp, Jens Faber, and Sven O Skouby

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in later life. We aimed to study the effect of liraglutide intervention on markers of VTE and CVD risk, in PCOS. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, 72 overweight and/or insulin-resistant women with PCOS were randomized, in a 2:1 ratio, to liraglutide or placebo 1.8 mg/day. Endpoints included between-group difference in change (baseline to follow-up) in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 levels and in thrombin generation test parameters: endogenous thrombin potential, peak thrombin concentration, lag time and time to peak. Mean weight loss was 5.2 kg (95% CI 3.0–7.5 kg, P < 0.001) in the liraglutide group compared with placebo. We detected no effect on endogenous thrombin potential in either group. In the liraglutide group, peak thrombin concentration decreased by 16.71 nmol/L (95% CI 2.32–31.11, P < 0.05) and lag time and time to peak increased by 0.13 min (95% CI 0.01–0.25, P < 0.05) and 0.38 min (95% CI 0.09–0.68, P < 0.05), respectively, but there were no between-group differences. There was a trend toward 12% (95% CI 0–23, P = 0.05) decreased plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in the liraglutide group, and there was a trend toward 16% (95% CI −4 to 32, P = 0.10) reduction, compared with placebo. In overweight women with PCOS, liraglutide intervention caused an approximate 5% weight loss. In addition, liraglutide affected thrombin generation, although not significantly differently from placebo. A concomitant trend toward improved fibrinolysis indicates a possible reduction of the baseline thrombogenic potential. The findings point toward beneficial effects of liraglutide on markers of VTE and CVD risk, which should be further pursued in larger studies.

Open access

Dorte Glintborg, Katrine Hass Rubin, Mads Nybo, Bo Abrahamsen, and Marianne Andersen

Aim

To investigate risk of thyroid disease in Danish women with PCOS.

Design

National register-based study on women with PCOS in Denmark. 18,476 women had a diagnosis of PCOS in the Danish National Patient Register. PCOS Odense University Hospital (PCOS OUH, n = 1146) was an embedded cohort of women with PCOS and clinical and biochemical examination. Three age-matched controls were included for each woman with PCOS (n = 54,757). The main outcome measures were thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, goiter, thyroiditis) according to hospital diagnosis codes and/or inferred from filled medicine prescriptions. Associations between baseline TSH and development of cardio-metabolic disease was examined in PCOS OUH.

Results

The median (quartiles) age at inclusion was 29 (23–35) years and follow-up duration was 11.1 (6.9–16.0) years. The hazard ratio (95% CI) for thyroid disease development was 2.5 (2.3–2.7) (P < 0.001). The event rate of thyroid disease was 6.0 per 1000 patient-years in PCOS Denmark versus 2.4 per 1000 patient-years in controls (P < 0.001). Women in PCOS OUH with TSH ≥2.5 mIU/L (n = 133) had higher BMI (median 29 vs 27 kg/m2), wider waist, higher triglycerides and free testosterone by the time of PCOS diagnosis compared to women in PCOS OUH with TSH <2.5 mIU/L (n = 588). Baseline TSH did not predict later development of cardio-metabolic diseases in PCOS OUH.

Conclusions

The event rate of thyroid disease was significantly and substantially higher in women with PCOS compared to controls.

Open access

Marcus Quinkler, Bertil Ekman, Claudio Marelli, Sharif Uddin, Pierre Zelissen, Robert D Murray, and on behalf of the EU-AIR Investigators

Objective

Prednisolone is used as glucocorticoid replacement therapy for adrenal insufficiency (AI). Recent data indicate that its use in AI is associated with low bone mineral density. Data on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in patients with AI treated with prednisolone are scarce, despite this condition being the predominant cause of excess mortality. We aimed to address this question using real-world data from the European Adrenal Insufficiency Registry (EU-AIR).

Design/methods

EU-AIR, comprising of 19 centres across Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, commenced enrolling patients with AI in August 2012. Patients receiving prednisolone (3–6 mg/day, n = 50) or hydrocortisone (15–30 mg/day, n = 909) were identified and grouped at a ratio of 1:3 (prednisolone:hydrocortisone) by matching for gender, age, duration and type of disease. Data from baseline and follow-up visits were analysed. Data from patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia were excluded.

Results

Significantly higher mean ± s.d. total (6.3 ± 1.6 vs 5.4 ± 1.1 mmol/L; P = 0.003) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (3.9 ± 1.4 vs 3.2 ± 1.0 mmol/L; P = 0.013) were identified in 47 patients on prednisolone vs 141 receiving hydrocortisone at baseline and at follow-up (P = 0.005 and P = 0.006, respectively). HbA1c, high-density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and waist circumference were not significantly different.

Conclusions

This is the first matched analysis of its kind. Significantly higher LDL levels in patients receiving prednisolone relative to hydrocortisone could predict a higher relative risk of cardiovascular disease in the former group.

Open access

Nafiye Helvaci, Erdem Karabulut, Ahmet Ugur Demir, and Bulent Okan Yildiz

Background and Objective

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been reported to be associated with the development of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The objective of this meta-analysis is to assess the relationship between PCOS and OSA.

Methods

A literature search was conducted to identify studies linking PCOS with the risk of OSA. Studies in which the presence of OSA was confirmed with overnight polysomnography were included. Random effects models were used to calculate pooled relative risks.

Results

Eight studies conducted in adults and five studies conducted in adolescents were identified. The pooled OSA prevalence was 0.22 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.08–0.40) in PCOS patients. The pooled prevalence of OSA was higher in adults (0.32, 95% CI: 0.13–0.55) than adolescents (0.08, 95% CI: 0.00–0.30). Risk of OSA was significantly increased in adult patients with PCOS (odds ratio (OR) 9.74, 95% CI: 2.76–34.41). Risk of OSA was not significantly increased in adolescents (OR: 4.54, 95% CI:0.56–36.43).

Conclusions

These findings demonstrate a significant association between PCOS and OSA in adult patients. Considering the increased risk for long-term cardiometabolic disorders associated with both PCOS and OSA, it is important to diagnose and treat OSA in patients with PCOS.

Open access

K Amrein, A Papinutti, E Mathew, G Vila, and D Parekh

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in intensive care units ranges typically between 40 and 70%. There are many reasons for being or becoming deficient in the ICU. Hepatic, parathyroid and renal dysfunction additionally increases the risk for developing vitamin D deficiency. Moreover, therapeutic interventions like fluid resuscitation, dialysis, surgery, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, cardiopulmonary bypass and plasma exchange may significantly reduce vitamin D levels. Many observational studies have consistently shown an association between low vitamin D levels and poor clinical outcomes in critically ill adults and children, including excess mortality and morbidity such as acute kidney injury, acute respiratory failure, duration of mechanical ventilation and sepsis. It is biologically plausible that vitamin D deficiency is an important and modifiable contributor to poor prognosis during and after critical illness. Although vitamin D supplementation is inexpensive, simple and has an excellent safety profile, testing for and treating vitamin D deficiency is currently not routinely performed. Overall, less than 800 patients have been included in RCTs worldwide, but the available data suggest that high-dose vitamin D supplementation could be beneficial. Two large RCTs in Europe and the United States, together aiming to recruit >5000 patients, have started in 2017, and will greatly improve our knowledge in this field. This review aims to summarize current knowledge in this interdisciplinary topic and give an outlook on its highly dynamic future.