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Open access

Tatsuya Kondo, Nobukazu Miyakawa, Sayaka Kitano, Takuro Watanabe, Rieko Goto, Mary Ann Suico, Miki Sato, Yuki Takaki, Masaji Sakaguchi, Motoyuki Igata, Junji Kawashima, Hiroyuki Motoshima, Takeshi Matsumura, Hirofumi Kai, and Eiichi Araki

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is often accompanied by metabolic disorders such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Heat shock response (HSR) is one of the most important homeostatic abilities but is deteriorated by chronic metabolic insults. Heat shock (HS) with an appropriate mild electrical stimulation (MES) activates HSR and improves metabolic abnormalities including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and inflammation in metabolic disorders. To analyze the effects of HS + MES treatment on NAFLD biomarkers, three cohorts including healthy men (two times/week, n = 10), patients with metabolic syndrome (four times/week, n = 40), and patients with T2DM (n = 100; four times/week (n = 40) and two, four, seven times/week (n = 20 each)) treated with HS + MES were retrospectively analyzed. The healthy subjects showed no significant alterations in NAFLD biomarkers after the treatment. In patients with metabolic syndrome, many of the NAFLD steatosis markers, including fatty liver index, NAFLD-liver fat score, liver/spleen ratio and hepatic steatosis index and NAFLD fibrosis marker, aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase (AST/ALT) ratio, were improved upon the treatment. In patients with T2DM, all investigated NAFLD steatosis markers were improved and NAFLD fibrosis markers such as the AST/ALT ratio, fibrosis-4 index and NAFLD-fibrosis score were improved upon the treatment. Thus, HS + MES, a physical intervention, may become a novel treatment strategy for NAFLD as well as metabolic disorders.

Open access

Elizabeth Yan Zhang and Bao-Ting Zhu

The endogenous estrogens are important modulators of the immune system and its functions. However, their effects are rather complex and many aspects have not been studied. In this study, we used the 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (DNCB)-induced contact dermatitis as a disease model and investigated the effect of estriol (E3), along with two other estrogens, 17β-estradiol and estrone, on the pathogenesis of contact hypersensitivity. A series of parameters, such as ear swelling, skin inflammation, antigen-specific immunoglobulins, and lymphocyte compositions in peripheral lymphoid organs, were evaluated in mice following development of contact dermatitis. We found that administration of all three estrogens elicited strong inhibition of DNCB-induced dermatitis, while E3 exerted the strongest suppressive effect. Administration of E3 alleviated dermatitis, and this effect was accompanied by decreases in serum DNCB-specific immunoglobulins, such as IgA, IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b. Besides, treatment with E3 reduced B cell population, especially IgG-producing cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs following the induction of dermatitis. These observations consistently suggest that the antibody (Ab)-mediated humoral immune reactions play a critical role in the pathogenesis of DNCB-induced contact dermatitis. The results from this study demonstrate, for the first time, that estrogen administration has a strong suppressive effect on the pathogenesis of contact dermatitis. These findings offer important insights concerning the pathogenic role of antigen-specific Abs in contact dermatitis and the treatment of chemical-induced, Ab-mediated skin hypersensitivity reactions in humans.

Open access

Renea A Taylor, Jennifer Lo, Natasha Ascui, and Matthew J Watt

The global epidemic of obesity is closely linked to the development of serious co-morbidities, including many forms of cancer. Epidemiological evidence consistently shows that obesity is associated with a similar or mildly increased incidence of prostate cancer but, more prominently, an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer and prostate cancer-specific mortality. Studies in mice demonstrate that obesity induced by high-fat feeding increases prostate cancer progression; however, the mechanisms underpinning this relationship remain incompletely understood. Adipose tissue expansion in obesity leads to local tissue dysfunction and is associated with low-grade inflammation, alterations in endocrine function and changes in lipolysis that result in increased delivery of fatty acids to tissues of the body. The human prostate gland is covered anteriorly by the prominent peri-prostatic adipose tissue and laterally by smaller adipose tissue depots that lie directly adjacent to the prostatic surface. We discuss how the close association between dysfunctional adipose tissue and prostate epithelial cells might result in bi-directional communication to cause increased prostate cancer aggressiveness and progression. However, the literature indicates that several ‘mainstream’ hypotheses regarding obesity-related drivers of prostate cancer progression are not yet supported by a solid evidence base and, in particular, are not supported by experiments using human tissue. Understanding the links between obesity and prostate cancer will have major implications for the health policy for men with prostate cancer and the development of new therapeutic or preventative strategies.

Open access

Angelo Maria Patti, Kalliopi Pafili, Nikolaos Papanas, and Manfredi Rizzo

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can trigger gestational diabetes (GDM), which is constantly increasing. Its main characteristic is pronounced insulin resistance, but it appears to be a multifactorial process involving several metabolic factors; taken together, the latter leads to silent or clinically evident cardiovascular (CV) events. Insulin resistance and central adiposity are of crucial importance in the development of metabolic syndrome, and they appear to correlate with CV risk factors, including hypertension and atherogenic dyslipidaemia. Hypertensive disease of pregnancy (HDP) is more likely to be an accompanying co-morbidity in pregnancies complicated with GDM. There is still inconsistent evidence as to whether or not co-existent GDM and HDP have a synergistic effects on postpartum risk of cardiometabolic disease; however, this synergism is becoming more accepted since both these conditions may promote endothelial inflammation and early atherosclerosis. Regardless of the presence or absence of the synergism between GDM and HDP, these conditions need to be dealt early enough, in order to reduce CV morbidity and to improve health outcomes for both women and their offspring.

Open access

Ling Zhou, Ruixue Zhang, Shuangyan Yang, Yaguang Zhang, and Dandan Shi

Background:

Our previous study revealed that astragaloside IV (AS-IV) effectively improved gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by reducing hepatic gluconeogenesis. Due to the importance of placental oxidative stress, we further explored the protective role of AS-IV on placental oxidative stress in GDM.

Methods:

First, non-pregnant mice were orally administrated with AS-IV to evaluate its safety and effect. Then GDM mice were orally administered with AS-IV for 20 days and its effect on the symptoms of GDM, placental oxidative stress, secretions of inflammatory cytokines, as well as toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/NF-κB signaling pathway, were evaluated.

Results:

AS-IV had no adverse effect on non-pregnant mice. On the other hand, AS-IV significantly attenuated the GDM-induced hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, placental oxidative stress, productions of inflammatory cytokines and the activation of TLR4/NF-κB pathway.

Conclusion:

AS-IV effectively protected against GDM by alleviating placental oxidative stress and inflammation, in which TLR4/NF-κB might be involved.

Open access

Nancy J Olsen, Ann L Benko, and William J Kovacs

Clinical and experimental evidence support a role for gonadal steroids in modulating the expression and course of autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Whether or not inherited variation in sensitivity to circulating androgenic hormones could influence the manifestations of such disease is, however, unknown. We sought to determine whether differences in androgen sensitivity conferred by variation in the exon 1 CAG repeat region of the androgen receptor (AR) gene were associated with differences in the clinical or humoral immune manifestations of lupus in a cohort of female subjects. We found that shorter AR CAG repeat lengths in lupus subjects correlated with a higher Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index score, higher ANA levels, and expression of a broader array of IgG autoantibodies. Our findings of more severe clinical manifestations and more exuberant humoral autoimmunity in women with a shorter AR exon 1 CAG repeat length suggest a role for genetically determined sensitivity to androgens as a modulator of autoimmune processes.

Open access

Weiwei He, Bin Wang, Kaida Mu, Jing Zhang, Yanping Yang, Wei Yao, Sheli Li, and Jin-an Zhang

Background

Accumulating data have shown that interleukin-27 (IL27) polymorphisms are linked to the susceptibility of some autoimmune diseases. We assessed whether there was an association between three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of IL27 gene and autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs).

Methods

Three SNPs (rs153109, rs17855750 and rs181206) of IL27 gene were genotyped by Hi-SNP high-throughput genotyping in 843 patients with AITDs (516 Graves’ disease (GD) and 327 Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT)) and 677 healthy controls in Chinese Han population.

Results

Compared with controls, rs153109 displayed significant associations with GD in allele and genotype frequencies (P = 0.002 and P = 0.008, respectively) and rs17855750 displayed significant associations with HT in allele frequencies (P = 0.02), whereas no differences in genotype or allele frequencies were found between AITD patients and controls at rs181206.

Conclusion

Our study, for the first time, showed the significant association of the IL27 gene SNPs with AITD.

Open access

Stavroula A Paschou, Nektaria Papadopoulou-Marketou, George P Chrousos, and Christina Kanaka-Gantenbein

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) results from the autoimmune destruction of β cells of the endocrine pancreas. Pathogenesis of T1DM is different from that of type 2 diabetes mellitus, where both insulin resistance and reduced secretion of insulin by the β cells play a synergistic role. We will present genetic, environmental and immunologic factors that destroy β cells of the endocrine pancreas and lead to insulin deficiency. The process of autoimmune destruction takes place in genetically susceptible individuals under the triggering effect of one or more environmental factors and usually progresses over a period of many months to years, during which period patients are asymptomatic and euglycemic, but positive for relevant autoantibodies. Symptomatic hyperglycemia and frank diabetes occur after a long latency period, which reflects the large percentage of β cells that need to be destroyed before overt diabetes become evident.

Open access

Aaron Lerner, Patricia Jeremias, and Torsten Matthias

Autoimmune thyroiditis has an increased prevalence in patients with celiac disease and vice versa. The objective of the current review is to highlight the epidemiological, clinical, serological, pathological, pathophysiological, hormonal, genetic and immunological factors shared between the two entities. They might represent the two ends of the gut-thyroid axis where the cross-talks’ pathways are still unravelled. New observations are reviewed, highlighting some gut-thyroid interrelated pathways that potentially might lead to new therapeutic strategies.

Open access

T P McVeigh, R J Mulligan, U M McVeigh, P W Owens, N Miller, M Bell, F Sebag, C Guerin, D S Quill, J B Weidhaas, M J Kerin, and A J Lowery

Introduction

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that exert post-transcriptional effects on gene expression by binding with cis-regulatory regions in target messenger RNA (mRNA). Polymorphisms in genes encoding miRNAs or in miRNA–mRNA binding sites confer deleterious epigenetic effects on cancer risk. miR-146a has a role in inflammation and may have a role as a tumour suppressor. The polymorphism rs2910164 in the MIR146A gene encoding pre-miR-146a has been implicated in several inflammatory pathologies, including cancers of the breast and thyroid, although evidence for the associations has been conflicting in different populations. We aimed to further investigate the association of this variant with these two cancers in an Irish cohort.

Methods

The study group comprised patients with breast cancer (BC), patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and unaffected controls. Germline DNA was extracted from blood or from saliva collected using the DNA Genotek Oragene 575 collection kit, using crystallisation precipitation, and genotyped using TaqMan-based PCR. Data were analysed using SPSS, v22.

Results

The total study group included 1516 participants. This comprised 1386 Irish participants; 724 unaffected individuals (controls), 523 patients with breast cancer (BC), 136 patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and three patients with dual primary breast and thyroid cancer. An additional cohort of 130 patients with DTC from the South of France was also genotyped for the variant. The variant was detected with a minor allele frequency (MAF) of 0.19 in controls, 0.22 in BC and 0.27 and 0.26 in DTC cases from Ireland and France, respectively. The variant was not significantly associated with BC (per allele odds ratio = 1.20 (0.98–1.46), P = 0.07), but was associated with DTC in Irish patients (per allele OR = 1.59 (1.18–2.14), P = 0.002).

Conclusion

The rs2910164 variant in MIR146A is significantly associated with DTC, but is not significantly associated with BC in this cohort.