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Open access

Fei Wu, Chaoming Mao, Xiao Mou, Chengcheng Xu, Tingting Zheng, Ling Bu, Xuan Luo, Qingyan Lu, and Xuefeng Wang

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is a very common organ-specific autoimmune disease characterized by lymphocyte infiltration and the destruction of thyroid follicular cells (TFCs), in which IFN-γ and chemokines play pivotal roles. Moreover, β-catenin has been implicated in the regulation of T cell infiltration. However, whether β-catenin is involved in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is unknown. Here, we examined β-catenin expression in thyroid tissues and investigated its role in the pathogenesis of HT. The results showed that β-catenin expression was markedly reduced in the thyroid tissues of HT patients; more importantly, IFN-γ treatment markedly reduced the expression of β-catenin and was accompanied by the secretion of chemokines such as CCL5, CXCL16, GRO-β, and GRO-γ in TFCs in vitro, which was attributed to GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling pathway activation. Collectively, the decreased expression of β-catenin might contribute to IFNγ-induced chemokine secretion and lymphocyte infiltration in the development of HT.

Open access

Jane Fletcher, Emma L Bishop, Stephanie R Harrison, Amelia Swift, Sheldon C Cooper, Sarah K Dimeloe, Karim Raza, and Martin Hewison

Vitamin D has well-documented effects on calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism but recent studies suggest a much broader role for this secosteroid in human health. Key components of the vitamin D system, notably the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and the vitamin D-activating enzyme (1α-hydroxylase), are present in a wide array of tissues, notably macrophages, dendritic cells and T lymphocytes (T cells) from the immune system. Thus, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25D) can be converted to hormonal 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25D) within immune cells, and then interact with VDR and promote transcriptional and epigenomic responses in the same or neighbouring cells. These intracrine and paracrine effects of 1,25D have been shown to drive antibacterial or antiviral innate responses, as well as to attenuate inflammatory T cell adaptive immunity. Beyond these mechanistic observations, association studies have reported the correlation between low serum 25D levels and the risk and severity of human immune disorders including autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The proposed explanation for this is that decreased availability of 25D compromises immune cell synthesis of 1,25D leading to impaired innate immunity and over-exuberant inflammatory adaptive immunity. The aim of the current review is to explore the mechanistic basis for immunomodulatory effects of 25D and 1,25D in greater detail with specific emphasis on how vitamin D-deficiency (low serum levels of 25D) may lead to dysregulation of macrophage, dendritic cell and T cell function and increase the risk of inflammatory autoimmune disease.

Open access

Yun Cai, Jieni Yan, Yong Gu, Heng Chen, Yang Chen, Xinyu Xu, Mei Zhang, Liping Yu, Xuqin Zheng, and Tao Yang

Objective

The most common coexisting organ-specific autoimmune disease in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). However, there have been few clinical reports based on a large population about the prevalence of zinc transporter 8 autoantibody (ZnT8A) and other islet autoantibodies in AITD patients. We aimed to explore the presence of islet autoantibodies, ZnT8A, glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GADA) and insulinoma-associated antigen 2 autoantibodies (IA-2A) compared with thyroid autoantibodies, thyroid peroxidase autoantibodies (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin autoantibodies (TGAb) and thyrotropin receptor autoantibodies (TRAb) in patients with Graves’ disease (GD), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) and T1DM patients with AITD.

Methods

Totally, 389 patients with GD, 334 patients with HT, 108 T1DM patients with AITD and 115 healthy controls (HC) were recruited in the study. Islet autoantibodies (ZnT8A, GADA and IA-2A) were detected by radioligand binding assay. Thyroid autoantibodies, TPOAb and TGAb were detected by chemiluminescence assay, and TRAb was detected by RIA.

Results

The prevalence of ZnT8A, GADA and IA-2A was higher in GD and HT patients than that of HC (ZnT8A: GD 8.48%, HT 10.8% vs HC 1.74%; GADA: GD 7.46%, HT 7.74% vs HC 0.870%; IA-2A: GD 4.88%, HT 3.59% vs HC 0%; All P < 0.05) but lower than that of T1DM subjects with AITD (ZnT8A: 42.6%; IA-2A: 44.4%; GADA: 74.1%; all P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

An increased prevalence of ZnT8A as well as GADA and IA-2A was found in both GD and HT patients, indicating that there is a potential link between thyroid autoimmunity and islet autoimmunity.

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

Qinglei Yin, Zhou Jin, Yulin Zhou, Dalong Song, Chenyang Fu, FengJiao Huang, and Shu Wang

Graves’ disease (GD) is a common autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. As a new class of modulators of gene expression, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to play a vital role in immune functions and in the development of autoimmunity and autoimmune disease. The aim of this study is to identify lncRNAs in CD4+ T cells as potential biomarkers of GD. lncRNA and mRNA microarrays were performed to identify differentially expressed lncRNAs and mRNAs in GD CD4+ T cells compared with healthy control CD4+ T cells. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to validate the results, and correlation analysis was used to analyze the relationship between these aberrantly expressed lncRNAs and clinical parameters. The microarray identified 164 lncRNAs and 93 mRNAs in GD CD4+ T cells differentially expressed compared to healthy control CD4+ T cells (fold change >2.0 and a P < 0.05). Further analysis consistently showed that the expression of HMlincRNA1474 (P < 0.01) and TCONS_00012608 (P < 0.01) was suppressed, while the expression of AK021954 (P < 0.01) and AB075506 (P < 0.01) was upregulated from initial GD patients. In addition, their expression levels were recovered in euthyroid GD patients and GD patients in remission. Moreover, these four aberrantly expressed lncRNAs were correlated with GD clinical parameters. Moreover, the areas under the ROC curve were 0.8046, 0.7579, 0.8115 for AK021954, AB075506, HMlincRNA1474, respectively. The present work revealed that differentially expressed lncRNAs were associated with GD, which might serve as novel biomarkers of GD and potential targets for GD treatment.

Open access

T Grimmichova, M Haluzik, K Vondra, P Matucha, and M Hill

Objective

Patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) generally experience a higher incidence of cancer. However, the association between T2DM and thyroid cancer is inconclusive.

Methods

Case-control prospective study, where 722 patients were screened for T2DM and prediabetes (PDM) and underwent thyroid ultrasound and biochemical tests. The patients were assigned to groups of PDM (n = 55), T2DM (n = 79) or a non-diabetes group (NDM) (n = 588). Fine-needle aspiration biopsy was carried out in 263 patients. Histological examinations were done for 109 patients after surgery, with findings of 52 benign (BS) and 57 malignant tumors (MS).

Results

Thirty-three percent of patients with T2DM and especially PDM were newly diagnosed by our screening: 6.5% with T2DM and 72% with PDM, respectively. The percentage of thyroid cancers did not significantly differ between the groups (χ2 test = 0.461; P = 0.794). Relevant positive thyroid predictors for T2DM (t-statistic = 25.87; P < 0.01) and PDM (21.69; P < 0.01) contrary to NDM (−26.9; P < 0.01) were thyroid volume (4.79; P < 0.01), thyroid nodule volume (3.25; P < 0.01) and multinodular thyroid gland (4.83; P < 0.01), while negative relevant predictors included the occurrence of autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) (−2.01; P < 0.05).

Conclusion

In general, we did not observe an increased risk for thyroid cancer in the diabetic and prediabetic groups in comparison to controls, in spite of well-established increased risk for other malignancies. Structural and benign changes such as larger and multinodular thyroid glands, in comparison to autoimmune thyroid disease, are present more often in diabetics.

Open access

Sheila Leone, Lucia Recinella, Annalisa Chiavaroli, Claudio Ferrante, Giustino Orlando, Michele Vacca, Roberto Salvatori, and Luigi Brunetti

Background

Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) plays an important role in brain functions. The aim of this study was to examine cognitive functions and emotional behaviour in a mouse model of isolated GH deficiency due to bi-allelic ablation of the GHRH gene (GHRH knockout, GHRHKO).

Methods

Learning, memory and emotional behaviour were evaluated using a series of validated tests (Morris water maze, eight-arm radial maze, open field, elevated plus maze test, forced swim tests) in 2-, 5- and 12-month-old male mice either homozygous (−/−) or heterozygous (+/−) for the GHRHKO allele.

Results

Compared with age-matched +/− mice, −/− mice showed decreased cognitive performance in Morris water maze and eight-arm radial maze tests. By comparing the effects of aging in each genotype, we observed an age-related impairment in test results in +/− mice, while in −/− mice a significant decline in cognitive function was found only in 12 months compared with 2-month-old mice, but no difference was found between 5 months old vs 2 months old. −/− mice showed increased exploration activity compared to age-matched +/− controls, while both strains of mice had an age-related decrease in exploration activity. When evaluated through open field, elevated plus maze and forced swim tests, −/− mice demonstrated a decrease in anxiety and depression-related behaviour compared to age-matched +/− controls.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that homozygous ablation of GHRH gene is associated with decreased performance in learning and memory tests, possibly linked to increased spontaneous locomotor activity. In addition, we observed an age-related decline in cognitive functions in both genotypes.

Open access

Isabelle Flechtner, Magali Viaud, Dulanjalee Kariyawasam, Marie Perrissin-Fabert, Maud Bidet, Anne Bachelot, Philippe Touraine, Philippe Labrune, Pascale de Lonlay, and Michel Polak

Classic galactosemia is a rare inborn error of galactose metabolism with a birth prevalence of about 1/30,000–60,000. Long-term complications occurring despite dietary treatment consist of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) and neurodevelopmental impairments. We performed with the French Reference Centers for Rare Diseases a multisite collaborative questionnaire survey for classic galactosemic patients. Its primary objective was to assess their puberty, pregnancy, gonadotropic axis, and pelvic morphology by ultrasound. The secondary objective was to determine predictive factors for pregnancy without oocyte donation. Completed questionnaires from 103 patients, 56 females (median age, 19 years (3–52 years)) and 47 males (median age, 19 years (3–45 years)), were analyzed. Among the 43 females older than 13 years old, mean age for breast development first stage was 13.8 years; spontaneous menarche occurred in 21/31 females at a mean age of 14.6 years. In these 21 women, 62% had spaniomenorrhea and 7/17 older than 30 years had amenorrhea. All age-groups confounded, FSH was above reference range for 65.7% of the patients, anti-Müllerian hormone and inhibin B were undetectable, and the ovaries were small with few or no follicles detected. Among the 5 females who sought to conceive, 4 had pregnancies. Among the 47 males, 1 had cryptorchidism, all have normal testicular function and none had a desire to conceive children. Thus, spontaneous puberty and POI are both common in this population. Spontaneous menarche seems to be the best predictive factor for successful spontaneous pregnancy.

Open access

Zeming Liu, Di Hu, Yihui Huang, Sichao Chen, Wen Zeng, Ling Zhou, Wei Zhou, Min Wang, Haifeng Feng, Wei Wei, Chao Zhang, Danyang Chen, and Liang Guo

Objectives

Controversies regarding factors associated with distant metastasis in pediatric thyroid cancer remain among the scientific community. The aim of this study was to investigate factors influencing distant metastasis in pediatric thyroid cancer.

Methods

We reviewed 1376 patients (aged 2 to 18 years) with thyroid cancer treated between 2003 and 2014. Data collected and analyzed included sex, race, age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, pathological type, number of tumor foci, tumor extension, T-stage, N-stage, surgical procedure and radiation. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to evaluate factors influencing distant metastasis of pediatric thyroid cancer.

Results

In the univariate analysis, factors influencing distant metastasis of thyroid cancer were age at diagnosis (P < 0.001), N-stage (P < 0.001), number of tumor foci (P = 0.003), tumor extension (P < 0.001) and T-stage (T1 vs T2 (P = 0.803), T3 (P < 0.001) and T4 (P < 0.001)). In multivariate analysis, factors influencing distant metastasis of thyroid cancer were age at diagnosis (P = 0.001), N-stage (P < 0.001) and T-stage (T1 vs T3 (P = 0.036) and T4 (P < 0.001)). Sex, race, year of diagnosis, pathological type, number of tumor foci, tumor extension, surgical procedure and radiation had no significant influence on distant metastasis (all P > 0.05). Furthermore, according to chi-squared test, younger pediatric thyroid cancer patients with higher T- and N-stages are more likely to have distant metastasis.

Conclusion

Age at diagnosis, T-stage and N-stage influence distant metastasis of thyroid cancer patients aged 2 to 18 years; accordingly, more radical treatments may need to be used for patients with those risk elements.

Open access

Thomas Reinehr, Martin Carlsson, Dionisios Chrysis, and Cecilia Camacho-Hübner

Background

The precision of adult height prediction by bone age determination in children with idiopathic growth hormone deficiency (IGHD) is unknown.

Methods

The near adult height (NAH) of patients with IGHD in the KIGS database was compared retrospectively to adult height prediction calculated by the Bayley–Pinneau (BP) prediction based on bone age by Greulich–Pyle (GP) in 315 children and based on the Tanner-Whitehouse 2 (TW2) method in 121 children. Multiple linear regression analyses adjusted for age at GH start, age at puberty, mean dose and years of of GH treatment, and maximum GH peak in stimulation test were calculated.

Results

The mean underestimation of adult height based on the BP method was at baseline 4.1 ± 0.7 cm in girls and 6.1 ± 0.6 cm in boys, at 1 year of GH treatment 2.5 ± 0.5 cm in girls and 0.9 ± 0.4 cm in boys, while at last bone age determination adult height was overestimated in mean by 0.4 ± 0.6 cm in girls and 3.8 ± 0.5 cm in boys. The mean underestimation of adult height based on the TW2 method was at baseline 5.3 ± 2.0 cm in girls and 7.9 ± 0.8 cm in boys, at 1 year of GH treatment adult height was overestimated in girls 0.1 ± 0.6 cm in girls and underestimated 4.1 ± 0.4 cm in boys, while at last bone age determination adult height was overestimated in mean by 3.1 ± 1.5 cm in girls and 3.6 ± 0.8 cm in boys.

Conclusions

Height prediction by BP and TW2 at onset of GH treatment underestimates adult height in prepubertal IGHD children, while in mean 6 years after onset of GH treatment these prediction methods overestimated adult height.