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Open access

Guido Zavatta and Bart L Clarke

The first adjunctive hormone therapy for chronic hypoparathyroidism, recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1–84) (rhPTH(1–84)) was approved by the FDA in January 2015. Since the approval of rhPTH(1–84), growing interest has developed in other agents to treat this disorder in both the scientific community and among pharmaceutical companies. For several reasons, conventional therapy with calcium and activated vitamin D supplementation, magnesium supplementation as needed, and occasionally thiazide-type diuretic therapy remains the mainstay of treatment, while endocrinologists and patients are constantly challenged by limitations of conventional treatment. Serum calcium fluctuations, increased urinary calcium, hyperphosphatemia, and a constellation of symptoms that limit mental and physical functioning are frequently associated with conventional therapy. Understanding how conventional treatment and hormone therapy work in terms of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is key to effectively managing chronic hypoparathyroidism. Multiple questions remain regarding the effectiveness of PTH adjunctive therapy in preventing or slowing the onset and progression of the classical complications of hypoparathyroidism, such as chronic kidney disease, calcium-containing kidney stones, cataracts, or basal ganglia calcification. Several studies point toward an improvement in the quality of life during replacement therapy. This review will discuss current clinical and research challenges posed by treatment of chronic hypoparathyroidism.

Key points:

  • Conventional therapy with calcium and activated forms of vitamin D are currently the mainstays of treatment for most patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism.

  • Hormone therapy can be administered through FDA-approved once-daily rhPTH(1–84), or off-label multiple-daily injections of teriparatide. The former is the only FDA-approved drug, with safety and efficacy supported by a randomized placebo-controlled trial and open-label long-term extension trial data.

  • Twice-daily teriparatide has been used in children safely for up to 10 years.

  • New pharmacological options that replace the deficient hormone wi ll likely be available within the next few years.

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

Melinda Kertész, Szilárd Kun, Eszter Sélley, Zsuzsanna Nagy, Tamás Kőszegi, and István Wittmann

Background

Type 2 diabetes is characterized, beyond the insulin resistance, by polyhormonal resistance. Thyroid hormonal resistance has not yet been described in this population of patients. Metformin is used to decrease insulin resistance, and at present, it is assumed to influence the effect of triiodothyronine, as well.

Methods

In this open-label, pilot, hypothesis-generating, follow-up study, 21 patients were included; all of them were euthyroid with drug naïve, newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Before and after 4 weeks of metformin therapy, fructosamine, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), thyroid hormones, T3/T4 ratio, and TSH, as well as blood pressure and heart rate using ambulatory blood pressure monitor were measured. We also conducted an in vitro study to investigate the possible mechanisms of T3 resistance, assessing T3-induced Akt phosphorylation among normal (5 mM) and high (25 mM) glucose levels with or without metformin treatment in a human embryonal kidney cell line.

Results

Metformin decreased the level of T3 (P < 0.001), the ratio of T3/T4 (P = 0.038), fructosamine (P = 0.008) and HOMA-IR (P = 0.022). All these changes were accompanied by an unchanged TSH, T4, triglyceride, plasma glucose, bodyweight, blood pressure, and heart rate. In our in vitro study, T3-induced Akt phosphorylation decreased in cells grown in 25 mM glucose medium compared to those in 5 mM. Metformin could not reverse this effect.

Conclusion

Metformin seems to improve T3 sensitivity in the cardiovascular system in euthyroid, type 2 diabetic patients, the mechanism of which may be supracellular.

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

Sarah J Delforce, Eugenie R Lumbers, Celine Corbisier de Meaultsart, Yu Wang, Anthony Proietto, Geoffrey Otton, Jim Scurry, Nicole M Verrills, Rodney J Scott, and Kirsty G Pringle

A dysfunctional endometrial renin–angiotensin system (RAS) could aid the growth and spread of endometrial cancer. To determine if the RAS is altered in endometrial cancer, we measured RAS gene expression and protein levels in 30 human formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) endometrioid carcinomas and their adjacent endometrium. All components of the RAS were expressed in most tumours and in adjacent endometrium; mRNA levels of (pro)renin receptor (ATP6AP2), angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AGTR1), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE1) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mRNA levels were greater in tumour tissue than adjacent non-cancerous endometrium (P = 0.023, 0.008, 0.004 and 0.046, respectively). Prorenin, ATP6AP2, AGTR1, AGTR2 and ACE2 proteins were abundantly expressed in both cancerous and adjacent non-cancerous endometrium. Staining was most intense in cancerous glandular epithelium. One potential target of the endometrial RAS, transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFB1), which is essential for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, was also upregulated in endometrial cancer tissue (P = 0.001). Interestingly, TGFB1 was strongly correlated with RAS expression and was upregulated in tumour tissue. This study is the first to characterise the mRNA and protein expression of all RAS components in cancerous and adjacent non-cancerous endometrium. The greater expression of ATP6AP2, AGTR1 and ACE1, key elements of the pro-angiogenic/proliferative arm of the RAS, suggests that the RAS plays a role in the growth and spread of endometrial cancer. Therefore, existing drugs that inhibit the RAS and which are used to treat hypertension may have potential as treatments for endometrial cancer.

Open access

L Bahler, H J Verberne, E Brakema, R Tepaske, J Booij, J B Hoekstra, and F Holleman

Bromocriptine is a glucose-lowering drug, which was shown to be effective in obese subjects with insulin resistance. It is usually administered in the morning. The exact working mechanism of bromocriptine still has to be elucidated. Therefore, in this open-label randomized prospective cross-over mechanistic study, we assessed whether the timing of bromocriptine administration (morning vs evening) results in different effects and whether these effects differ between lean and obese subjects. We studied the effect of bromocriptine on insulin sensitivity in 8 lean and 8 overweight subjects using an oral glucose tolerance test. The subjects used bromocriptine in randomized cross-over order for 2 weeks in the morning and 2 weeks in the evening. We found that in lean subjects, bromocriptine administration in the evening resulted in a significantly higher post-prandial insulin sensitivity as compared with the pre-exposure visit (glucose area under the curve (AUC) 742 mmol/L * 120 min (695–818) vs 641 (504–750), P = 0.036, AUC for insulin did not change, P = 0.575). In obese subjects, both morning and evening administration of bromocriptine resulted in a significantly higher insulin sensitivity: morning administration in obese: insulin AUC (55,900 mmol/L * 120 min (43,236–96,831) vs 36,448 (25,213–57,711), P = 0.012) and glucose AUC P = 0.069; evening administration in obese: glucose AUC (735 mmol/L * 120 min (614–988) vs 644 (568–829), P = 0.017) and insulin AUC, P = 0.208. In conclusion, bromocriptine increases insulin sensitivity in both lean and obese subjects. In lean subjects, this effect only occurred when bromocriptine was administrated in the evening, whereas in the obese, insulin sensitivity increased independent of the timing of bromocriptine administration.

Open access

Matilde Calanchini, Michael Tadman, Jesper Krogh, Andrea Fabbri, Ashley Grossman, and Brian Shine

Background

The 24-h urinary output of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) is used to monitor disease progression and treatment responses of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs). Several conditions are required for 5-HIAA assay, involving urine collection/preservation and food/drug restrictions.

Aim

To evaluate the correlation between 5-HIAA concentration in a spot urine sample and the output in a 24-h urine collection, and whether spot urine specimens can replace 24-h collection.

Methods

Patients with NENs or symptoms suggestive of NENs were asked to provide a separate spot urine at the end of the 24-h urine collection for 5-HIAA assessment. The upper reference limit for 24-h urinary 5-HIAA was 40 µmol/24 h. 5-HIAA measurements in spot urine samples were corrected for variation in urine flow rate by expressing results as a ratio to creatinine concentration.

Results

We included 136 paired urinary samples for 5-HIAA assessment from 111 patients (100 NENs). The correlation between 5-HIAA values measured in 24-h and spot urines was r = +0.863 (P < 0.001) and r = +0.840 (P < 0.001) including only NEN patients. Using the 24-h urinary 5-HIAA as reference method, the AUC on ROC analysis for spot urinary 5-HIAA was 0.948 (95% CI, 0.914–0.983; P < 0.001), attaining a sensitivity of 83% and specificity of 95% using 5.3 mol/mmol as cut-off for the spot urine. The AUC among NEN patients alone was 0.945 (95% CI, 0.904–0.987; P < 0.001).

Conclusions

The ratio of 5-HIAA to creatinine in a spot urine could replace the measurement of 5-HIAA output in a 24-h urine collection, especially for follow-up of patients with known elevated 5-HIAA levels.

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

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

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.