Brain tumours make up nearly one-third of paediatric malignancies. Over time, advancements in oncological treatments like radiotherapy have helped reduce normal-tissue toxicity when treating cancers in the brain. However, clinicians are still facing a trade-off between treatment efficacy and potential side effects. The aim of this review is to address the late effects of cranial irradiation on the neuroendocrine system and to identify factors that make patients more vulnerable to radiation-induced endocrine sequelae. Radiation damage to the hypothalamic–pituitary axis, which orchestrates hormone release, can lead to endocrinopathy; up to 48.8% of children who have undergone cranial irradiation develop a hormone deficiency. This may lead to further health complications that can appear up to decades after the last treatment, lowering the patients’ quality of life and increasing long-term costs as lifelong hormone replacement therapy may be required. Growth hormone deficiency is the most common sequelae, followed by either thyroid or gonadotropic hormone deficiency. Adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency tends to be the least common. Identified factors that increase the risk of late endocrine deficiency include total radiation dose, age at treatment, and time since last treatment. However, as there are various other factors that may potentiate the damage, a universal solution proven to be most effective in sparing the endocrine tissues is yet to be identified. Until then, accounting for the identified risk factors during treatment planning may in some cases help reduce the development of endocrine sequelae in childhood cancer survivors.
Izabelle Lövgren, Azadeh Abravan, Abigail Bryce-Atkinson, and Marcel van Herk
J Gebauer, R Skinner, R Haupt, L Kremer, H van der Pal, G Michel, G T Armstrong, M M Hudson, L Hjorth, H Lehnert, and T Langer
Many long-term childhood cancer survivors suffer from treatment-related late effects, which may occur in any organ and include a wide spectrum of conditions. Long-term follow-up (LTFU) is recommended to facilitate early diagnosis and to ensure better health outcomes. Due to the heterogeneity of these sequelae, different specialists work together in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. Experts from both pediatric and internal medicine are involved in age-appropriate care by providing a transition process. Hence, LTFU of childhood cancer survivors is a prototypic example of multidisciplinary care for patients with complex needs treated in a specialized setting. International collaborations of healthcare professionals and scientists involved in LTFU of childhood cancer survivors, such as the International Guideline Harmonization Group, compile surveillance recommendations that can be clinically adopted all over the world. These global networks of clinicians and researchers make a joint effort to address gaps in knowledge, increase visibility and awareness of cancer survivorship and provide an excellent example of how progress in clinical care and scientific research may be achieved by international and multidisciplinary collaboration.
Frederique Van de Velde, Marlies Bekaert, Anja Geerts, Anne Hoorens, Arsène-Hélène Batens, Samyah Shadid, Margriet Ouwens, Yves Van Nieuwenhove, and Bruno Lapauw
Obese subjects with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are more prone to develop additional metabolic disturbances such as systemic insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes. NAFLD is defined by hepatic steatosis, lobular inflammation, ballooning and stage of fibrosis, but it is unclear if and which components could contribute to IR.
To assess which histological components of NAFLD associate with IR in subjects with obesity, and if so, to what extent.
This cross-sectional study included 78 obese subjects (mean age 46 ± 11 years; BMI 42.2 ± 4.7 kg/m2). Glucose levels were analysed by hexokinase method and insulin levels with electrochemiluminescence. Homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated. Liver biopsies were evaluated for histological components of NAFLD.
A positive association between overall NAFLD Activity Score and HOMA-IR was found (r s = 0.259, P = 0.022). As per individual components, lobular inflammation and fibrosis stage were positively associated with HOMA-IR, glucose and insulin levels (P < 0.05), and HOMA-IR was higher in patients with more inflammatory foci or higher stage of fibrosis. These findings were independent of age, BMI, triglyceride levels, diabetes status and sex (all P < 0.043). In a combined model, lobular inflammation, but not fibrosis, remained associated with HOMA-IR.
In this group of obese subjects, a major contributing histological component of NAFLD to the relation between NAFLD severity and IR seems to be the grade of hepatic lobular inflammation. Although no causal relationship was assessed, preventing or mitigating this inflammatory response in obesity might be of importance in controlling obesity-related metabolic disturbances.
Charlotte Höybye, Laia Faseh, Christos Himonakos, Tomasz Pielak, and Jesper Eugen-Olsen
Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) syndrome is associated with adverse levels of several risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including metabolic inflammation. However, the impact of GHD and GH treatment on low-grade inflammation is unknown. The aim of the study was to establish the level of the low-grade inflammation biomarker soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) in adults with GHD and the response to long-term GH treatment. Measurements of suPAR and CRP were performed in bio-bank serum samples from 72 adults, 34 males and 38 females, with GHD before and during at least 5 years of GH treatment. Mean age was 52.5 ± 15.5 years, BMI 27.3 ± 5 kg/m2. Clinical evaluations and blood sampling were performed at routine visits. Data on demography, anthropometry, lab results and clinical events were retrieved from post-marketing surveillance study databases and medical records. suPAR and high-sensitive (hs) CRP were analysed using ELISA and immunochemistry, respectively. At baseline blood pressure, lipid profile and fasting glucose were within the normal reference range. Baseline geometric mean and 95% CI of suPAR was 2.9 (2.7–3.3) ng/mL and of CRP 2.3 (0.6–4.0) mg/L. Mean follow-up was 8 ± 2 years. The suPAR levels remained stable during follow-up, although individual increases were seen on occurrence or presence of co-morbidities. In contrast, levels of CRP decreased. In conclusion, the decrease in CRP and indirectly the absence of an expected increase in suPAR over time indicates a favourable effect of GH on low-grade inflammation.
M A Webb, H Mani, S J Robertson, H L Waller, D R Webb, C L Edwardson, D H Bodicoat, T Yates, K Khunti, and M J Davies
Physical activity has been proposed to be an effective non-pharmacological method of reducing systemic inflammation and therefore may prove particularly efficacious for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who have been shown to have high levels of inflammation and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess whether modest changes in daily step count could significantly reduce levels of inflammatory markers in women with PCOS.
Subjects and Methods
Sixty-five women with PCOS were assessed at baseline and again at 6 months. All had been provided with an accelerometer and encouraged to increase activity levels. Multivariate linear regression analyses (adjusted for age, ethnicity, baseline step count, change in BMI and change in accelerometer wear-time) were used to assess changes in daily step count against clinical and research biomarkers of inflammation, CVD and T2DM.
Mean step count/day at baseline was 6337 (±270). An increase in step count (by 1000 steps) was associated with a 13% reduction in IL6 (β: −0.81 ng/L; 95% CI, −1.37, −0.25, P = 0.005) and a 13% reduction in CRP (β: −0.68 mg/L; 95% CI, −1.30, −0.06, P = 0.033). Additionally, there was a modest decrease in BMI (β: 0.20 kg/m2; 95% CI, −0.38, −0.01, P = 0.038). Clinical markers of T2DM and CVD were not affected by increased step count.
Modest increases in step count/day can reduce levels of inflammatory markers in women with PCOS, which may reduce the future risk of T2DM and CVD.
Aditya Dutta, Ganesh Jevalikar, Rutuja Sharma, Khalid J Farooqui, Shama Mahendru, Arun Dewan, Sandeep Bhudiraja, and Ambrish Mithal
To study the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and its association with disease severity in hospitalized patients of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).
In this retrospective cohort study, thyroid function tests (TFT) of 236 hospitalized patients of COVID-19 along with demographic, comorbid, clinical, biochemical and disease severity records were analysed. Patients were divided into previous euthyroid or hypothyroid status to observe the effect of prior hypothyroidism on the severity of COVID-19.
TFT abnormalities were common. Low free T3 (FT3), high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and low TSH were seen in 56 (23.7%), 15 (6.4%) and 9 (3.8%) patients, respectively. The median levels of TSH (2.06 vs 1.26 mIU/mL, P = 0.001) and FT3 (2.94 vs 2.47 pg/mL, P < 0.001) were significantly lower in severe disease. Previous hypothyroid status (n = 43) was associated with older age, higher frequency of comorbidities, higher FT4 and lower FT3. TFT did not correlate with markers of inflammation (except lactate dehydrogenase); however, FT3 and TSH negatively correlated with outcome severity score and duration of hospital stay. Cox regression analysis showed that low FT3 was associated with severe COVID-19 (P = 0.032, HR 0.302; CI 0.101–0.904), irrespective of prior hypothyroidism.
Functional thyroid abnormalities (low FT3 and low TSH) are frequently seen in hospitalized patients of COVID-19. Although these abnormalities did not correlate with markers of inflammation, this study shows that low FT3 at admission independently predicts the severity of COVID-19.
Lars Peter Sørensen, Tina Parkner, Esben Søndergaard, Bo Martin Bibby, Holger Jon Møller, and Søren Nielsen
Monocyte/macrophage-specific soluble CD163 (sCD163) concentration is associated with insulin resistance and increases with deteriorating glycemic control independently of BMI. This led to the proposal of the hypothesis that obesity-associated white adipose tissue inflammation varies between individuals. The objective was to examine the effect of male overweight/obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) on associations between adiposity parameters and sCD163. A total of 23 overweight/obese non-diabetic men, 16 overweight/obese men with T2DM, and a control group of 20 normal-weight healthy men were included. Body composition and regional body fat distribution were determined by whole-body dual X-ray absorptiometry scan and abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan. Serum sCD163 concentrations were determined by ELISA. Associations between adiposity parameters and sCD163 were investigated using multiple linear regression analysis. In the normal-weight healthy men, there was no significant association between adiposity parameters and sCD163, whereas in the overweight/obese non-diabetic men, measures of general and regional adiposity were positively associated with sCD163. In the overweight/obese men with T2DM, only visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and the ratio of VAT to abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), a measure of relative body fat distribution between VAT and SAT depots, were positively associated with sCD163. In a multivariate analysis, including VAT, upper-body SAT, and lower-body fat, adjusted for BMI and age, VAT remained a significant predictor of sCD163 in the overweight/obese T2DM men, but not in the overweight/obese non-diabetic men. Our results indicate that VAT inflammation is exaggerated in men with T2DM, and that propensity to store excess body fat viscerally is particularly detrimental in men with T2DM.
Henrik H Thomsen, Holger J Møller, Christian Trolle, Kristian A Groth, Anne Skakkebæk, Anders Bojesen, Christian Høst, and Claus H Gravholt
Soluble CD163 (sCD163) is a novel marker linked to states of low-grade inflammation such as diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and atherosclerosis, all prevalent in subjects with Turner syndrome (TS) and Klinefelter syndrome (KS). We aimed to assess the levels of sCD163 and the regulation of sCD163 in regards to treatment with sex hormone therapy in males with and without KS and females with and without TS. Males with KS (n=70) and age-matched controls (n=71) participating in a cross-sectional study and 12 healthy males from an experimental hypogonadism study. Females with TS (n=8) and healthy age-matched controls (n=8) participating in a randomized crossover trial. The intervention comprised of treatment with sex steroids. Males with KS had higher levels of sCD163 compared with controls (1.75 (0.47–6.90) and 1.36 (0.77–3.11) respectively, P<0.001) and the levels correlated to plasma testosterone (r=−0.31, P<0.01), BMI (r=0.42, P<0.001), and homeostasis model of assessment insulin resistance (r=0.46, P<0.001). Treatment with testosterone did not significantly lower sCD163. Females with TS not receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) had higher levels of sCD163 than those of their age-matched healthy controls (1.38±0.44 vs 0.91±0.40, P=0.04). HRT and oral contraceptive therapy decreased sCD163 in TS by 22% (1.07±0.30) and in controls by 39% (0.55±0.36), with significance in both groups (P=0.01 and P=0.04). We conclude that levels of sCD163 correlate with endogenous testosterone in KS and are higher in KS subjects compared with controls, but treatment did not significantly lower levels. Both endogenous and exogenous estradiol in TS was associated with lower levels of sCD163.
Mengxue Yang, Bowen Sun, Jianhui Li, Bo Yang, Jie Xu, Xue Zhou, Jie Yu, Xuan Zhang, Qun Zhang, Shan Zhou, and Xiaohua Sun
The pathogenesis of Graves’ disease (GD) remains unclear. In terms of environmental factors, GD development may be associated with chronic inflammation caused by alteration of the intestinal flora. This study explored the association of intestinal flora alteration with the development of GD among the Han population in southwest China.
Design and methods
Fifteen GD patients at the Affiliated Hospital of Zunyi Medical College between March 2016 and March 2017 were randomly enrolled. Additionally, 15 sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers were selected as the control group during the same period. Fresh stool samples were collected, and bacterial 16S RNA was extracted and amplified for gene sequencing with the Illumina MiSeq platform. The sequencing results were subjected to operational taxonomic unit-based classification, classification verification, alpha diversity analysis, taxonomic composition analysis and partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA).
The diversity indices for the GD group were lower than those for the control group. The GD group showed significantly higher abundances of Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacillus and a higher Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio than the control group. PLS-DA suggested the satisfactory classification of the flora between the GD group and the control group. The abundances of the genera Oribacterium, Mogibacterium, Lactobacillus, Aggregatibacter and Mogibacterium were significantly higher in the GD group than in the control group (P < 0.05).
The intestinal flora of GD patients was significantly different from that of the healthy population. Thus, alteration of intestinal flora may be associated with the development of GD.
Angela Köninger, Philippos Edimiris, Laura Koch, Antje Enekwe, Claudia Lamina, Sabine Kasimir-Bauer, Rainer Kimmig, and Hans Dieplinger
Oxidative stress seems to be present in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between characteristics of PCOS and serum concentrations of afamin, a novel binding protein for the antioxidant vitamin E. A total of 85 patients with PCOS and 76 control subjects were investigated in a pilot cross-sectional study design between 2009 and 2013 in the University Hospital of Essen, Germany. Patients with PCOS were diagnosed according to the Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group. Afamin and diagnostic parameters of PCOS were determined at early follicular phase. Afamin concentrations were significantly higher in patients with PCOS than in controls (odds ratio (OR) for a 10 mg/ml increase in afamin=1.3, 95% CI=1.08–1.58). This difference vanished in a model adjusting for age, BMI, free testosterone index (FTI), and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) (OR=1.05, 95% CI=0.80–1.38). In patients with PCOS, afamin correlated significantly with homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), fasting glucose, BMI, FTI, and SHBG (P<0.001), but in a multivariate linear model, only HOMA-IR remained significantly associated with afamin (P=0.001). No correlation was observed between afamin and androgens, LH, FSH, LH/FSH ratio, antral follicle count, ovarian volume, or anti-Müllerian hormone. In conclusion, elevated afamin values may indicate a state of oxidative stress and inflammation, strongly associated with IR and offering an indicator of impaired glucose tolerance in patients with PCOS irrespective of obesity.