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Open access

Riying Liang, Meijun Wang, Chang Fu, Hua Liang, Hongrong Deng, Ying Tan, Fen Xu, and Mengyin Cai

Background:

Obesity is associated with the development and progression of chronic kidney disease. Emerging evidence suggests that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist could reduce renal damage and albuminuria. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) was considered as a crucial regulator in metabolism-related kidney disease. Herein, the role of SIRT1 in liraglutide-ameliorated high-fat diet (HFD)-induced kidney injury was illustrated.

Methods:

Male C57BL/6 mice were fed HFD for 20 weeks to induce kidney injury that was then treated with liraglutide for 8 weeks to estimate its protective effect on the kidney. Also, the mechanism of the drug in SV40 MES 13 (SV40) mouse mesangial cells was elucidated.

Results:

Liraglutide treatment ameliorated HFD-induced metabolic disorders, including hyperglycemia, increasing body weight, and insulin resistance. In addition, kidney weight, urine albumin-to-creatinine, and kidney morphological changes such as vacuolated tubules, glomerulomegaly, thickened glomerular basement membrane, and tubulointerstitial fibrosis were also significantly ameliorated. Furthermore, apoptotic cells and apoptosis markers were downregulated in the kidney of liraglutide-treated mice. In addition, the expression of SIRT1 protein was upregulated, whereas thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), which serves as a mediator of oxidative stress and apoptosis in metabolism disease, was downregulated by liraglutide. In SV40 cells, the effect of liraglutide on reversing the upregulation of cleaved caspase-3 induced by high glucose (30 mM) was hampered when SIRT1 was knocked down; also, the downregulation of TXNIP by liraglutide was blocked.

Conclusions:

Liraglutide might have a beneficial effect on metabolism-related kidney damage by inhibiting apoptosis via activation of SIRT1 and suppression of TXNIP pathway.

Open access

Lili Liu, Zhuo Shao, Ying Xia, Jiabi Qin, Yang Xiao, Zhiguang Zhou, and Zubing Mei

Objective

Combined treatment with an incretin-based drug, such as a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) or a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, and basal insulin is a new strategy for improving glucose control in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). We performed a meta-analysis to assess the effect of this combined treatment on glycaemic control, insulin dose, severe hypoglycaemia, weight gain and gastrointestinal side effects in T1DM patients.

Methods

We searched PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library for relevant studies published before July 16, 2018. The primary outcome was glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Secondary outcomes included total daily insulin dose, body weight, severe hypoglycaemia and gastrointestinal side effects.

Results

Nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 2389 patients were ultimately included in the meta-analysis. The pooled data suggested that incretin-based therapy was associated with a reduction in HbA1c levels (weighted mean difference (WMD) −0.17%, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.24 to −0.11, P < 0.001), total daily insulin dose (WMD −5.53 IU/day, 95% CI −8.89 to −2.17, P = 0.001) and body weight (WMD −3.24 kg, 95% CI −4.43 to −2.04, P < 0.001). Incretins did not increase the risk of severe hypoglycaemia (odds ratio (OR) 0.83, 95% CI 0.60–1.16, P = 0.287) but increased the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects (OR 3.46, 95% CI 2.20–5.45, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

In T1DM patients, GLP-1 RAs, but not DPP-4 inhibitors, combined with insulin appear to be an effective therapy but may increase the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects.

Open access

Monia Cito, Silvia Pellegrini, Lorenzo Piemonti, and Valeria Sordi

The experience in the field of islet transplantation shows that it is possible to replace β cells in a patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but this cell therapy is limited by the scarcity of organ donors and by the danger associated to the immunosuppressive drugs. Stem cell therapy is becoming a concrete opportunity to treat various diseases. In particular, for a disease like T1D, caused by the loss of a single specific cell type that does not need to be transplanted back in its originating site to perform its function, a stem cell-based cell replacement therapy seems to be the ideal cure. New and infinite sources of β cells are strongly required. In this review, we make an overview of the most promising and advanced β cell production strategies. Particular hope is placed in pluripotent stem cells (PSC), both embryonic (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). The first phase 1/2 clinical trials with ESC-derived pancreatic progenitor cells are ongoing in the United States and Canada, but a successful strategy for the use of PSC in patients with diabetes has still to overcome several important hurdles. Another promising strategy of generation of new β cells is the transdifferentiation of adult cells, both intra-pancreatic, such as alpha, exocrine and ductal cells or extra-pancreatic, in particular liver cells. Finally, new advances in gene editing technologies have given impetus to research on the production of human organs in chimeric animals and on in situ reprogramming of adult cells through in vivo target gene activation.

Open access

Anastasia P Athanasoulia-Kaspar, Matthias K Auer, Günter K Stalla, and Mira Jakovcevski

Objective

Patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas exhibit high morbidity and mortality rates. Growth hormone deficiency and high doses of glucocorticoid substitution therapy have been identified as corresponding risk factors. Interestingly, high levels of endogenous cortisol in, e.g., patients with post-traumatic stress disorder or patients with Cushing’s disease have been linked to shorter telomere length. Telomeres are noncoding DNA regions located at the end of chromosomes consisting of repetitive DNA sequences which shorten with aging and hereby determine cell survival. Therefore, telomere length can serve as a predictor for the onset of disease and mortality in some endocrine disorders (e.g., Cushing’s disease).

Design/methods

Here, we examine telomere length from blood in patients (n = 115) with non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) in a cross-sectional case–control (n = 106, age-, gender-matched) study using qPCR. Linear regression models were used to identify independent predictors of telomere length.

Results

We show that patients with NFPA exhibited shorter telomeres than controls. No significant association of indices of growth hormone deficiency (IGF-1-level-SDS, years of unsubstituted growth hormone deficiency etc.) with telomere length was detected. Interestingly, linear regression analysis showed that hydrocortisone replacement dosage in patients with adrenal insufficiency (n = 52) was a significant predictor for shorter telomere length (β = 0.377; P = 0.018) independent of potential confounders (gender, age, BMI, arterial hypertension, systolic blood pressure, number of antihypertensive drugs, total leukocyte count, waist-to-hip ratio, waist circumference, diabetes mellitus type 2, HbA1c, current statin use). Median split analysis revealed that higher hydrocortisone intake (>20 mg) was associated with significantly shorter telomeres.

Conclusion

These observations strengthen the importance of adjusted glucocorticoid treatment in NFPA patients with respect to morbidity and mortality rates.

Open access

Charlotte Höybye, Andreas F H Pfeiffer, Diego Ferone, Jens Sandahl Christiansen, David Gilfoyle, Eva Dam Christoffersen, Eva Mortensen, Jonathan A Leff, and Michael Beckert

TransCon growth hormone is a sustained-release human growth hormone prodrug under development in which unmodified growth hormone is transiently linked to a carrier molecule. It is intended as an alternative to daily growth hormone in the treatment of growth hormone deficiency. This was a multi-center, randomized, open-label, active-controlled trial designed to compare the safety (including tolerability and immunogenicity), pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of three doses of weekly TransCon GH to daily growth hormone (Omnitrope). Thirty-seven adult males and females diagnosed with adult growth hormone deficiency and stable on growth hormone replacement therapy for at least 3 months were, following a wash-out period, randomized (regardless of their pre-study dose) to one of three TransCon GH doses (0.02, 0.04 and 0.08 mg GH/kg/week) or Omnitrope 0.04 mg GH/kg/week (divided into 7 equal daily doses) for 4 weeks. Main outcomes evaluated were adverse events, immunogenicity and growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels. TransCon GH was well tolerated; fatigue and headache were the most frequent drug-related adverse events and reported in all groups. No lipoatrophy or nodule formation was reported. No anti-growth hormone-binding antibodies were detected. TransCon GH demonstrated a linear, dose-dependent increase in growth hormone exposure without accumulation. Growth hormone maximum serum concentration and insulin-like growth factor 1 exposure were similar after TransCon GH or Omnitrope administered at comparable doses. The results suggest that long-acting TransCon GH has a profile similar to daily growth hormone but with a more convenient dosing regimen. These findings support further TransCon GH development.

Open access

Jan Calissendorff and Henrik Falhammar

Background

Graves’ disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism. Three therapies have been used for decades: pharmacologic therapy, surgery and radioiodine. In case of adverse events, especially agranulocytosis or hepatotoxicity, pre-treatment with Lugol’s solution containing iodine/potassium iodide to induce euthyroidism before surgery could be advocated, but this has rarely been reported.

Methods

All patients hospitalised due to uncontrolled hyperthyroidism at the Karolinska University Hospital 2005–2015 and treated with Lugol’s solution were included. All electronic files were carefully reviewed manually, with focus on the cause of treatment and admission, demographic data, and effects of iodine on thyroid hormone levels and pulse frequency.

Results

Twenty-seven patients were included. Lugol’s solution had been chosen due to agranulocytosis in 9 (33%), hepatotoxicity in 2 (7%), other side effects in 11 (41%) and poor adherence to medication in 5 (19%). Levels of free T4, free T3 and heart rate decreased significantly after 5–9 days of iodine therapy (free T4 53–20 pmol/L, P = 0.0002; free T3 20–6.5 pmol/L, P = 0.04; heart rate 87–76 beats/min P = 0.0007), whereas TSH remained unchanged. Side effects were noted in 4 (15%) (rash n = 2, rash and vomiting n = 1, swelling of fingers n = 1). Thyroidectomy was performed in 26 patients (96%) and one was treated with radioiodine; all treatments were without serious complications.

Conclusion

Treatment of uncontrolled hyperthyroidism with Lugol’s solution before definitive treatment is safe and it decreases thyroid hormone levels and heart rate. Side effects were limited. Lugol’s solution could be recommended pre-operatively in Graves’ disease with failed medical treatment, especially if side effects to anti-thyroid drugs have occurred.

Open access

Jia Liu, Min Liu, Zhe Chen, Yumei Jia, and Guang Wang

Objective

Autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) is the most common autoimmune thyroid disease. Longitudinal relaxation time mapping (T1-mapping) measured by MRI is a new technique for assessing interstitial fibrosis of some organs, such as heart and liver. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between T1-mapping value and thyroid function and determine the usefulness of T1-mapping in identifying thyroid destruction in AIT patients.

Methods

This case–control study recruited 57 drug-naïve AIT patients and 17 healthy controls. All participants were given thyroid MRI, and T1-mapping values were measured using a modified look-locker inversion-recovery sequence.

Results

AIT patients had significantly higher thyroid T1-mapping values than the healthy controls (1.077 ± 177 vs 778 ± 82.9 ms; P < 0.01). A significant increase in thyroid T1-mapping values was presented along with the increased severity of thyroid dysfunction (P < 0.01). Correlation analyses showed that increased thyroid T1-mapping values were associated with higher TSH and lower FT3 and FT4 levels (TSH: r = 0.75; FT3: r = −0.47; FT4: r = −0.72; all P < 0.01). Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis revealed a high diagnostic value of T1-mapping values for the degree of thyroid destruction (area under the curve was 0.95, 95% CI: 0.90–0.99, P < 0.01).

Conclusions

AIT patients have higher thyroid T1-mapping values than the healthy controls, and the T1-mapping values increased with the progression of thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid T1-mapping value might be a new index to quantitatively evaluate the degree of thyroid destruction in AIT patients.

Open access

M L Gild, M Bullock, C K Pon, B G Robinson, and R J Clifton-Bligh

Metastatic differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC) are resistant to traditional chemotherapy. Kinase inhibitors have shown promise in patients with progressive DTC, but dose-limiting toxicity is commonplace. HSP90 regulates protein degradation of several growth-mediating kinases such as RET, and we hypothesized that HSP90 inhibitor (AUY922) could inhibit RET-mediated medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) as well as papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) cell growth and also radioactive iodine uptake by PTC cells. Studies utilized MTC cell lines TT (C634W) and MZ-CRC-1 (M918T) and the PTC cell line TPC-1 (RET/PTC1). Cell viability was assessed with MTS assays and apoptosis by flow cytometry. Signaling target expression was determined by western blot and radioiodine uptake measured with a gamma counter. Prolonged treatment of both MTC cell lines with AUY922 simultaneously inhibited both MAPK and mTOR pathways and significantly induced apoptosis (58.7 and 78.7% reduction in MZ-CRC-1 and TT live cells respectively, following 1 μM AUY922; P<0.02). Similarly in the PTC cell line, growth and signaling targets were inhibited, and also a 2.84-fold increase in radioiodine uptake was observed following AUY922 administration (P=0.015). AUY922 demonstrates in vitro activity against MTC and PTC cell lines. We observed a potent dose-dependent increase in apoptosis in MTC cell lines following drug administration confirming its anti-tumorigenic effects. Western blots confirm inhibition of pro-survival proteins including AKT suggesting this as the mechanism of cell death. In a functional study, we observed an increase in radioiodine uptake in the PTC cell line following AUY922 treatment. We believe HSP90 inhibition could be a viable alternative for treatment of RET-driven chemo-resistant thyroid cancers.

Open access

Eric M Ndombi, Valentine Budambula, Mark K Webale, Francis O Musumba, Jesca O Wesongah, Erick Mibei, Aabid A Ahmed, Raphael Lihana, and Tom Were

Adiponectin is an important marker of anthropometric profiles of adipose tissue. However, association of adiponectin and adiposity in HIV mono- and co-infected and hepatitis (HCV) injection drug users (IDUs) has not been elucidated. Therefore, the relationship of total adiponectin levels with anthropometric indices of adiposity was examined in HIV mono-infected (anti-retroviral treatment, ART-naive, n=16 and -experienced, n=34); HCV mono-infected, n=36; HIV and HCV co-infected (ART-naive, n=5 and -experienced, n=13); uninfected, n=19 IDUs; and healthy controls, n=16 from coastal Kenya. Anthropometric indices of adiposity were recorded and total circulating adiponectin levels were measured in serum samples using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Adiponectin levels differed significantly amongst the study groups (P<0.0001). Post-hoc analyses revealed decreased levels in HIV mono-infected ART-naive IDUs in comparison to uninfected IDUs (P<0.05) and healthy controls (P<0.05). However, adiponectin levels were elevated in HCV mono-infected IDUs relative to HIV mono-infected ART-naive (P<0.001) and -experienced (P<0.001) as well as HIV and HCV co-infected ART-naive (P<0.05) IDUs. Furthermore, adiponectin correlated with weight (ρ=0.687; P=0.003) and BMI (ρ=0.598; P=0.014) in HIV mono-infected ART-naive IDUs; waist circumference (ρ=−0.626; P<0.0001), hip (ρ=−0.561; P=0.001) circumference, and bust-to-waist ratio (ρ=0.561; P=0.001) in HIV mono-infected ART-experienced IDUs; waist girth (ρ=0.375; P=0.024) in HCV mono-infected IDUs; and waist-to-hip ratio (ρ=−0.872; P=0.048) in HIV and HCV co-infected ART-naive IDUs. Altogether, these results suggest suppression of adiponectin production in treatment-naive HIV mono-infected IDUs and that circulating adiponectin is a useful surrogate marker of altered adiposity in treatment-naive and -experienced HIV and HCV mono- and co-infected IDUs.

Open access

Lisa Arnetz, Neda Rajamand Ekberg, Kerstin Brismar, and Michael Alvarsson

Objective

Dysfunction of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis has been implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D). The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of T2D and gender on the HPA axis.

Methods

Synthetic ACTH (1 μg) was administered to 21 subjects with T2D (age 62 (54–70) years, 11 men/ten women, HbA1c 49±2 mmol/mol, treated with diet or oral antidiabetic drugs) and 38 controls (age 58 (41–67) years, 20 men/18 women). Fasting basal B-glucose, serum cortisol, insulin, IGF1 and IGFBP1 concentrations were measured, and sampling for all but IGF1 was repeated 30, 60, and 90 min after ACTH injection. Patients took 0.25 mg dexamethasone at 2200–2300 h and returned the next morning for the measurement of serum cortisol concentration.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Results

Patients with T2D had similar fasting serum cortisol, IGF1 and IGFBP1 concentrations; however, serum cortisol concentration after administration of dexamethasone did not differ between the groups. Healthy women exhibited higher peak cortisol levels compared with healthy men (675±26 vs 582±21 nmol/l, P=0.014), while the peak levels were equally high in men and women with T2D, resulting in a higher peak level in men with T2D compared with healthy men (691±42 vs 582±21 nmol/l, P=0.024). Serum cortisol concentration after administration of dexamethasone did not differ between the groups, nor did IGF1 and IGFBP1.

Novelty of the findings

Some studies have previously indicated disturbed regulation of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D); however, much remains unknown in this area. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that the gender difference in the adrenal response to ACTH (with greater reactivity in women) is abolished in T2D. While the clinical implications cannot be determined by this paper, it is known that gender differences exist in the pathogenesis and complications of T2D. Thus, our findings suggest that further research into gender differences in the HPA axis is warranted.

Conclusions

Gender differences in adrenal response to ACTH were abolished in T2D. Men with T2D had a higher peak cortisol compared with controls. Further studies are needed to elucidate the clinical implications.