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Open access

Ferdinand Roelfsema, Diana van Heemst, Ali Iranmanesh, Paul Takahashi, Rebecca Yang, and Johannes D Veldhuis

Context

Studies on 24-h cortisol secretion are rare. The impact of sex, age and adiposity on cortisol levels, often restricted to one or a few samples, are well recognized, but conflicting.

Objective

To investigate cortisol dynamics in 143 healthy men and women, spanning 7 decades and with a 2-fold body mass index (BMI) range with different analytic tools.

Setting

Clinical Research Unit.

Design

Cortisol concentrations in 10-min samples collected for 24 h. Outcomes were mean levels, deconvolution parameters, approximate entropy (ApEn, regularity statistic) and 24-h rhythms.

Results

Total 24-h cortisol secretion rates estimated by deconvolution analysis were sex, age and BMI independent. Mean 24-h cortisol concentrations were lower in premenopausal women than those in men of comparable age (176 ± 8.2 vs 217 ± 9.4 nmol/L, P = 0.02), but not in subjects older than 50 years. This was due to lower daytime levels in women, albeit similar in the quiescent overnight period. Aging increased mean cortisol by 10 nmol/L per decade during the quiescent secretory phase and advanced the acrophase of the diurnal rhythm by 24 min/decade. However, total 24-h cortisol secretion rates estimated by deconvolution analysis were sex, age and BMI independent. ApEn of 24-h profiles was higher (more random) in premenopausal women than those in men (1.048 ± 0.025 vs 0.933 ± 0.023, P = 0.001), but not in subjects older than 50 years. ApEn peaked during the daytime.

Conclusion

Sex and age jointly determine the 24-h cortisol secretory profile. Sex effects are largely restricted to age <50 years, whereas age effects elevate concentrations in the late evening and early night and advance the timing of the peak diurnal rhythm.

Open access

Shilpa Lingaiah, Laure Morin-Papunen, Terhi Piltonen, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, and Juha S Tapanainen

Objective

Serum levels of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), an adipokine thought to affect systemic insulin sensitivity, were compared between women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and non-PCOS controls to evaluate the association of RBP4 with clinical, hormonal and metabolic parameters of PCOS.

Subjects and methods

Serum RBP4 levels were analysed in 278 women with PCOS (age range 18–57 years) and 191 non-PCOS controls (age 20–53 years) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results

Serum levels of RBP4 were increased in women with PCOS compared with control women in the whole population (45.1 ± 24.0 (s.d.) vs 33.5 ± 18.3 mg/L, P < 0.001). Age-stratified analysis showed that serum RBP4 levels were increased in women with PCOS aged ≤30 years compared with controls (47.7 ± 23.5 vs 27.1 ± 10.4 mg/L, P < 0.001), whereas no significant differences were seen in the other age groups. No significant correlations of RBP4 were seen with either steroids or indices of insulin resistance.

Conclusions

Although serum RBP4 levels were increased in younger women with PCOS compared with age-matched non-PCOS controls, RBP4 does not seem to be a good marker of insulin resistance or other metabolic derangements in women with PCOS.

Open access

Nese Cinar and Alper Gurlek

Adipose tissue secretes a variety of active biological substances, called adipocytokines, that act in an autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine manner. They have roles in appetite control, thermogenesis, and thyroid and reproductive functions. All these molecules may lead to local and generalized inflammation, mediating obesity-associated vascular disorders including hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. Thyroid dysfunction is associated with changes in body weight, thermogenesis, and energy expenditure. The connections between cardiovascular risk factors such as dyslipidemia, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, and thyroid dysfunction have been reported in several studies. The adipocytokines serve as causative or protective factors in the development of these disorders in the states of thyroid dysfunction. Abnormal levels of adipocytokines (adiponectin (ADP), leptin, resistin, vaspin, and visfatin) in hypo- and hyperthyroidism have been reported with controversial results. This review aims to update the implication of novel adipokines ADP, vaspin, and visfatin in thyroid dysfunction.

Open access

Karim Gariani and François R Jornayvaz

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the industrialized world. NAFLD encompasses a whole spectrum ranging from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis. The latter can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, NASH is the most rapidly increasing indication for liver transplantation in western countries and therefore represents a global health issue. The pathophysiology of NASH is complex and includes multiple parallel hits. NASH is notably characterized by steatosis as well as evidence of hepatocyte injury and inflammation, with or without fibrosis. NASH is frequently associated with type 2 diabetes and conditions associated with insulin resistance. Moreover, NASH may also be found in many other endocrine diseases such as polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, male hypogonadism, growth hormone deficiency or glucocorticoid excess, for example. In this review, we will discuss the pathophysiology of NASH associated with different endocrinopathies.

Open access

Ruixin Hu, Yanting Yuan, Chaolong Liu, Ji Zhou, Lixia Ji, and Guohui Jiang

In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the intestinal flora is out of balance and accompanied by leaky gut. The flora is characterized by an increase in mucus-degrading bacteria and a decrease in fiber-degrading bacteria. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), as the major fiber-degrading bacteria fermentation, not only ameliorate the leaky gut, but also activate GPR43 to increase the mass of functional pancreatic β-cells and exert anti-inflammation effect. At present, the gut microbiota is considered as the potential target for anti-diabetes drugs, and how to reverse the imbalance of gut microbiota has become a therapeutic strategy for T2DM. This review briefly summarizes the drugs or compounds that have direct or potential therapeutic effects on T2DM by modulating the gut microbiota, including biguanides, isoquinoline alkaloids, stilbene and C7N-aminocyclic alcohols.

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

Clara Odilia Sailer, Sophia Julia Wiedemann, Konrad Strauss, Ingeborg Schnyder, Wiebke Kristin Fenske, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Osmotic stimulus or stress results in vasopressin release. Animal and human in vitro studies have shown that inflammatory parameters, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), increase in parallel in the central nervous system and bronchial, corneal or intestinal epithelial cell lines in response to osmotic stimulus. Whether osmotic stimulus directly causes a systemic inflammatory response in humans is unknown. We therefore investigated the influence of osmotic stimulus on circulatory markers of systemic inflammation in healthy volunteers. In this prospective cohort study, 44 healthy volunteers underwent a standardized test protocol with an osmotic stimulus leading into the hyperosmotic/hypernatremic range (serum sodium ≥150 mmol/L) by hypertonic saline infusion. Copeptin – a marker indicating vasopressin activity – serum sodium and osmolality, plasma IL-8 and TNF-α were measured at baseline and directly after osmotic stimulus. Median (range) serum sodium increased from 141 mmol/L (136, 147) to 151 mmol/L (145, 154) (P < 0.01), serum osmolality increased from 295 mmol/L (281, 306) to 315 mmol/L (304, 325) (P < 0.01). Median (range) copeptin increased from 4.3 pg/L (1.1, 21.4) to 28.8 pg/L (19.9, 43.4) (P < 0.01). Median (range) IL-8 levels showed a trend to decrease from 0.79 pg/mL (0.37, 1.6) to 0.7 pg/mL (0.4, 1.9) (P < 0.09) and TNF-α levels decreased from 0.53 pg/mL (0.11, 1.1) to 0.45 pg/mL (0.12, 0.97) (P < 0.036). Contrary to data obtained in vitro, circulating proinflammatory cytokines tend to or decrease in human plasma after osmotic stimulus. In this study, osmotic stimulus does not increase circulating markers of systemic inflammation.

Open access

Simon Schimmack, Yongchao Yang, Klaus Felix, Markus Herbst, Yixiong Li, Miriam Schenk, Frank Bergmann, Thilo Hackert, and Oliver Strobel

Objective

Elevated pre-operative C-reactive protein (CRP) serum values have been reported to be associated with poor overall survival for patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (pNEN). The aim of this study was to identify mechanisms linking CRP to poor prognosis in pNEN.

Methods

The malignant properties of pNENs were investigated using the human pNEN cell-lines BON1 and QGP1 exposed to CRP or IL-6. Analyses were performed by ELISA, Western blot, flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry as well as invasion and proliferation assays. To compare cytokine profiles and CRP levels, 76 serum samples of pNEN patients were analyzed using Luminex technology. In parallel, the expression of CRP and growth signaling pathway proteins was assessed on cell lines and paraffin-embedded primary pNEN.

Results

In BON1 and QGP1 cells, inflammation (exposure to IL-6) significantly upregulated CRP expression and secretion as well as migratory properties. CRP stimulation of BON1 cells increased IL-6 secretion and invasion. This was accompanied by activation/phosphorylation of the ERK, AKT and/or STAT3 pathways. Although known CRP receptors – CD16, CD32 and CD64 – were not detected on BON1 cells, CRP uptake of pNEN cells was shown after CRP exposure. In patients, increased pre-operative CRP levels (≥5 mg/L) were associated with significantly higher serum levels of IL-6 and G-CSF, as well as with an increased CRP expression and ERK/AKT/STAT3 phosphorylation in pNEN tissue.

Conclusion

The malignant properties of pNEN cells can be stimulated by CRP and IL-6 promoting ERK/AKT/STAT pathways activation as well as invasion, thus linking systemic inflammation and poor prognosis.

Open access

Wenqi Yang, Ling Liu, Yuan Wei, Chunlu Fang, Fu Zhou, Jinbao Chen, Qinghua Han, Meifang Huang, Xuan Tan, Qiuyue Liu, Qiang Pan, Lu Zhang, Xiaojuan Lei, and Liangming Li

Objective

The protective effects of exercise against glucose dysmetabolism have been generally reported. However, the mechanism by which exercise improves glucose homeostasis remains poorly understood. The FGF21–adiponectin axis participates in the regulation of glucose metabolism. Elevated levels of FGF21 and decreased levels of adiponectin in obesity indicate FGF21–adiponectin axis dysfunction. Hence, we investigated whether exercise could improve the FGF21–adiponectin axis impairment and ameliorate disturbed glucose metabolism in diet-induced obese mice.

Methods

Eight-week-old C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to three groups: low-fat diet control group, high-fat diet group and high-fat diet plus exercise group. Glucose metabolic parameters, the ability of FGF21 to induce adiponectin, FGF21 receptors and co-receptor levels and adipose tissue inflammation were evaluated after 12 weeks of intervention.

Results

Exercise training led to reduced levels of fasting blood glucose and insulin, improved glucose tolerance and better insulin sensitivity in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Although serum FGF21 levels were not significantly changed, both total and high-molecular-weight adiponectin concentrations were markedly enhanced by exercise. Importantly, exercise protected against high-fat diet-induced impaired ability of FGF21 to stimulate adiponectin secretion. FGF21 co-receptor, β-klotho, as well as receptors, FGFR1 and FGFR2, were upregulated by exercise. We also found that exercise inhibited adipose tissue inflammation, which may contribute to the improvement in the FGF21–adiponectin axis impairment.

Conclusions

Our data indicate exercise protects against high-fat diet-induced FGF21–adiponectin axis impairment, and may thereby exert beneficial effects on glucose metabolism.

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.