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Open access

V Guarnotta, C Di Stefano, A Santoro, A Ciresi, A Coppola, and C Giordano

Background

Dual-release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) improves metabolism in patients with adrenal insufficiency. The aims of this study were to compare the cardiovascular and metabolic effects of conventional glucocorticoids (GCs) vs. DR-HC and of high vs. low doses of GCs, after 48 months of observation.

Methods

We selected 27 patients on hydrocortisone (mean dose 17.5 ± 4.2 mg/day) and 20 patients on cortisone acetate (mean dose 37.5 ± 12.1 mg/day) who maintained this treatment (group A) and 53 patients switched to DR-HC (mean dose 22 ± 4.8 mg/day) (group B). At baseline and after 48 months, clinical and metabolic parameters and Framingham Risk Score (FRS) were obtained.

Results

After 48 months, patients in group A had a significant increase from baseline in BMI (P < 0.001), waist circumference (P = 0.001), systolic blood pressure (P = 0.001), LDL cholesterol (P = 0.018), HbA1c (P = 0.020) and FRS (P = 0.002). By contrast, patients in group B had a significant decrease in BMI (P = 0.002), waist circumference (P = 0.015), diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.031), total (P = 0.006) and LDL cholesterol (P = 0.005), HbA1c (P < 0.001) and FRS (P = 0.015) compared to baseline. No significant differences between high and low doses of both conventional GCs and DR-HC were observed.

Conclusions

DR-HC is associated with an improvement of metabolic parameters and cardiovascular risk compared to conventional GCs, which are associated with a worsening of these parameters, regardless of the dose used.

Open access

Charlotte Höybye, Laia Faseh, Christos Himonakos, Tomasz Pielak, and Jesper Eugen-Olsen

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) syndrome is associated with adverse levels of several risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including metabolic inflammation. However, the impact of GHD and GH treatment on low-grade inflammation is unknown. The aim of the study was to establish the level of the low-grade inflammation biomarker soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) in adults with GHD and the response to long-term GH treatment. Measurements of suPAR and CRP were performed in bio-bank serum samples from 72 adults, 34 males and 38 females, with GHD before and during at least 5 years of GH treatment. Mean age was 52.5 ± 15.5 years, BMI 27.3 ± 5 kg/m2. Clinical evaluations and blood sampling were performed at routine visits. Data on demography, anthropometry, lab results and clinical events were retrieved from post-marketing surveillance study databases and medical records. suPAR and high-sensitive (hs) CRP were analysed using ELISA and immunochemistry, respectively. At baseline blood pressure, lipid profile and fasting glucose were within the normal reference range. Baseline geometric mean and 95% CI of suPAR was 2.9 (2.7–3.3) ng/mL and of CRP 2.3 (0.6–4.0) mg/L. Mean follow-up was 8 ± 2 years. The suPAR levels remained stable during follow-up, although individual increases were seen on occurrence or presence of co-morbidities. In contrast, levels of CRP decreased. In conclusion, the decrease in CRP and indirectly the absence of an expected increase in suPAR over time indicates a favourable effect of GH on low-grade inflammation.

Open access

Aldo Bonaventura, Fabrizio Montecucco, and Franco Dallegri

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing all over the world. Targeting good glycemic control is fundamental to avoid the complications of diabetes linked to hyperglycemia. This narrative review is based on material searched for and obtained via PubMed up to April 2015. The search terms we used were: ‘hypoglycemia, diabetes, complications’ in combination with ‘iatrogenic, treatment, symptoms.’ Serious complications might occur from an inappropriate treatment of hyperglycemia. The most frequent complication is iatrogenic hypoglycemia that is often associated with autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptoms. Furthermore, hypoglycemia causes acute cardiovascular effects, which may explain some of the typical symptoms: ischemia, QT prolongation, and arrhythmia. With regards to the latter, the night represents a dangerous period because of the major increase in arrhythmias and the prolonged period of hypoglycemia; indeed, sleep has been shown to blunt the sympatho-adrenal response to hypoglycemia. Two main strategies have been implemented to reduce these effects: monitoring blood glucose values and individualized HbA1c goals. Several drugs for the treatment of T2DM are currently available and different combinations have been recommended to achieve individualized glycemic targets, considering age, comorbidities, disease duration, and life expectancy. In conclusion, according to international guidelines, hypoglycemia-avoiding therapy must reach an individualized glycemic goal, which is the lowest HbA1c not causing severe hypoglycemia and preserving awareness of hypoglycemia.

Open access

M A Webb, H Mani, S J Robertson, H L Waller, D R Webb, C L Edwardson, D H Bodicoat, T Yates, K Khunti, and M J Davies

Aims

Physical activity has been proposed to be an effective non-pharmacological method of reducing systemic inflammation and therefore may prove particularly efficacious for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who have been shown to have high levels of inflammation and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess whether modest changes in daily step count could significantly reduce levels of inflammatory markers in women with PCOS.

Subjects and Methods

Sixty-five women with PCOS were assessed at baseline and again at 6 months. All had been provided with an accelerometer and encouraged to increase activity levels. Multivariate linear regression analyses (adjusted for age, ethnicity, baseline step count, change in BMI and change in accelerometer wear-time) were used to assess changes in daily step count against clinical and research biomarkers of inflammation, CVD and T2DM.

Results

Mean step count/day at baseline was 6337 (±270). An increase in step count (by 1000 steps) was associated with a 13% reduction in IL6 (β: −0.81 ng/L; 95% CI, −1.37, −0.25, P = 0.005) and a 13% reduction in CRP (β: −0.68 mg/L; 95% CI, −1.30, −0.06, P = 0.033). Additionally, there was a modest decrease in BMI (β: 0.20 kg/m2; 95% CI, −0.38, −0.01, P = 0.038). Clinical markers of T2DM and CVD were not affected by increased step count.

Conclusions

Modest increases in step count/day can reduce levels of inflammatory markers in women with PCOS, which may reduce the future risk of T2DM and CVD.

Open access

Daisuke Watanabe, Satoshi Morimoto, Noriko Morishima, and Atsuhiro Ichihara

Objective

Primary aldosteronism (PA) is divided into two major subtypes, aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) and bilateral idiopathic hyperplasia (IHA) and is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events. However, the nature of vascular function in PA patients remains to be determined. The aim of this study was to determine the vascular function and investigate the implications of vascular function assessments in the patients.

Methods

Flow-mediated dilation (FMD), as an index of endothelial function, and cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI), as an index of arterial stiffness, were retrospectively compared between 42 patients with APA, 37 patients with IHA, and 42 patients with essential hypertension (EH). These values were also compared with background factors, KCNJ5 mutation and clinical outcome in terms of blood pressure reduction after adrenalectomy in the APA group.

Results

FMD was significantly lower in the APA group (4.8 ± 2.1%) and IHA group (4.1 ± 1.9%) than in the EH group (5.7 ± 2.1%). CAVI did not differ significantly among groups. Although no significant correlations were seen between FMD and background factors in the IHA group, FMD correlated negatively with BMI and plasma aldosterone concentration in the APA group (rs = −0.313, rs = −0.342, respectively). KCNJ5 mutational status was not associated with FMD value. High FMD was associated with blood pressure normalization after adrenalectomy in the APA group.

Conclusions

Patients with PA displayed impaired endothelial function. Complete clinical success after adrenalectomy was associated with preserved endothelial function. This study provides a better understanding of FMD assessment in patients with PA.

Open access

Julia Kubiak, Per Medbøe Thorsby, Elena Kamycheva, and Rolf Jorde

Objective

Low serum 25(OH)D levels are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and some of its risk factors. However, in interventional studies, the effects of vitamin D supplementation have been uncertain, possibly due to inclusion of vitamin D-sufficient subjects. Our aim was therefore to examine effects of vitamin D supplementation on CVD risk factors in vitamin D-insufficient subjects.

Design

Double-blinded randomized controlled trial.

Methods

A 4-month interventional study with high-dose vitamin D (100,000 IU loading dose, followed by 20,000 IU/week) or placebo with measurements of blood pressure, lipids (total-, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoproteins A1 and B), and glucose metabolism parameters (blood glucose, HbA1c, serum human receptors for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), insulin, C-peptide and HOMA-IR).

Results

A total of 422 subjects with mean serum 25(OH)D level 34 nmol/L were included, with 411 subjects completing the study. Serum 25(OH)D levels increased with 56 nmol/L and decreased with 4 nmol/L in the vitamin D and placebo group, respectively. We found no statistically significant differences between the two groups in any of the measured CVD risk factors, except for a minor increase in sRAGE in the vitamin D group. Stratified analyses of subjects with low baseline serum 25(OH)D levels alone, or combined with blood pressure, lipid and HOMA-IR values above the median for the cohort, did not skew the results in favour of vitamin D supplementation.

Conclusion

Supplementation with vitamin D in subjects with baseline vitamin D insufficiency does not improve CVD risk factor profile.

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

Christine Rode Andreasen, Andreas Andersen, Filip Krag Knop, and Tina Vilsbøll

In recent years, glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) have become central in the treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D). In addition to their glucose-lowering properties with low risk of hypoglycaemia, GLP-1RAs reduce body weight and show promising results in reducing cardiovascular risk and renal complications in high-risk individuals with T2D. These findings have changed guidelines on T2D management over the last years, and GLP-1RAs are now widely used in overweight patients with T2D as well as in patients with T2D and cardiovascular disease regardless of glycaemic control. The currently available GLP-1RAs have different pharmacokinetic profiles and differ in their ability to improve glycaemia, reduce body weight and in their cardio- and renal protective potentials. Understanding how these agents work, including insights into their pleiotropic effects on T2D pathophysiology, may improve their clinical utilisation and be useful for exploring other indications such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, we provide an overview of approved GLP-1RAs, their clinical effects and mode of action, and we offer insights into the potential of GLP-1RAs for other indications than T2D. Finally, we will discuss the emerging data and therapeutic potential of using GLP-1RAs in combinations with other receptor agonists.

Open access

Pinaki Dutta, Bhuvanesh Mahendran, K Shrinivas Reddy, Jasmina Ahluwalia, Kim Vaiphei, Rakesh K Kochhar, Prakamya Gupta, Anand Srinivasan, Mahesh Prakash, Kanchan Kumar Mukherjee, Viral N Shah, Girish Parthan, and Anil Bhansali

The effectiveness and short-term safety of recombinant human GH (r-hGH) in acromegaly patients with GH deficiency (GHD) after treatment are not well established. The study includes ten subjects with acromegaly who had GHD treated with r-hGH for 6 months. Control groups consisted of ten age-, gender-, and BMI-matched healthy subjects and ten active acromegaly patients who were treatment naïve. Body composition, quality of life (QoL), muscle strength, lipid profile, and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed in all subjects at baseline, and the same parameters were reassessed after 6 months of therapy with r-hGH in acromegaly with GHD. Repeat magnetic resonance imaging of the sella was performed in treated subjects. Optical colonoscopy was done and biopsies were taken from multiple sites for proliferation indices (Ki67). The median duration of GHD was 17.8 months and dose of r-hGH administered was 5.7±1.5 μg/kg per day. There was improvement in bone mineral content (P=0.01), bone mineral density (P=0.04), muscle strength (P<0.001), total cholesterol (P=0.003), high-density cholesterol (P<0.001), and QoL – score (P=0.005), and reduction in low-density cholesterol (P=0.003) and triglyceride (P=0.004) after treatment. There was no change in lean body mass, total body fat, hsCRP, lipoprotein (a), and fibrinogen levels. There was a modest increase in plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (P=0.002), but it was lower compared with healthy controls and treatment naïve acromegalics (P=0.007). Six month-r-hGH therapy improves body composition, atherogenic lipid profile, QoL, and muscle strength in GHD patients who had acromegaly. Long-term prospective studies are needed to evaluate the effect of r-hGH therapy in these patients.

Open access

Gunjan Garg, Garima Kachhawa, Rekha Ramot, Rajesh Khadgawat, Nikhil Tandon, V Sreenivas, Alka Kriplani, and N Gupta

To assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation on parameters of insulin sensitivity/resistance (IS/IR) and insulin secretion in subjects with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). A prospective double-blind randomized control trial was conducted to assess the effect of vitamin D on insulin kinetics in women with PCOS. The trial was conducted in a tertiary care research hospital. A total of 36 subjects with PCOS, aged 18–35 years, were included in this study. Vitamin D3 4000 IU/day versus placebo was given once a month for 6 months and both groups received metformin. IS (by whole-body IS index or Matsuda index), IR (by homeostasis model assessment IR (HOMA-IR)), and insulin secretion (by insulinogenic index; II30) were the main outcome measures. Secondary outcome included blood pressure (BP), lipid profile, disposition index (DI), and vascular stiffness. Out of 36 subjects who consented, 32 completed the study. Subjects were randomized into two groups: group A (n=15; metformin and vitamin D 4000 IU/day) or group B (n=17; metformin and placebo). Oral glucose tolerance tests with 75 g glucose were carried out at baseline and 6 months after supplementation. Hypovitaminosis D was observed in 93.8% of all subjects with mean serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D level of 7.30±4.45 ng/ml. After 6 months of vitamin D supplementation, there was no significant difference in any of the parameters of IS/IR (area under curve (AUC)–glucose, AUC–insulin, insulin:glucose ratio, HOMA-IR, Matsuda index, insulinogenic index, and DI), II30, and cardiovascular risk factors between the two groups. Supplementation of vitamin D, at a dose of 4000 IU/day for 6 months, did not have any significant effect on parameters of IS/IR and insulin secretion in subjects with PCOS.