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Open access

Xuechao Jiang, Yonghui Wang, Xiaoying Li, Leqi He, Qian Yang, Wei Wang, Jun Liu, and Bingbing Zha

B lymphocytes are the source of autoantibodies against the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) in Graves’ disease (GD). Characterization of autoimmune B-cell expression profiles might enable a better understanding of GD pathogenesis. To reveal this, the expression levels of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and mRNAs (genes) in purified B cells from patients with newly diagnosed GD and healthy individuals were compared using microarrays, which elucidated 604 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DE-lncRNAs) and 410 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). GO and pathway analyses revealed that the DEGs are mainly involved in immune response. A protein–protein interaction network presented experimentally validated interactions among the DEGs. Two independent algorithms were used to identify the DE-lncRNAs that regulate the DEGs. Functional annotation of the deregulated lncRNA–mRNA pairs identified 14 pairs with mRNAs involved in cell proliferation. The lncRNAs TCONS_00022357-XLOC_010919 and n335641 were predicted to regulate TCL1 family AKT coactivator A (TCL1A), and the lncRNA n337845 was predicted to regulate SH2 domain containing 1A (SH2D1A). TCL1A and SH2D1A are highly involved in B-cell proliferation. The differential expression of both genes was validated by qRT-PCR. In conclusion, lncRNA and mRNA expression profiles of B cells from patients with GD indicated that the lncRNA–mRNA pairs n335641–TCL1A, TCONS_00022357-XLOC_010919–TCL1A, and n337845–SH2D1A may participate in GD pathogenesis by modulating B-cell proliferation and survival. Therefore, the identified lncRNA and mRNA may represent novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for GD.

Open access

Tao Mei, Jianhe Zhang, Liangfeng Wei, Xingfeng Qi, Yiming Ma, Xianhua Liu, Shaohua Chen, Songyuan Li, Jianwu Wu, and Shousen Wang

Tumor cells require large amounts of energy to sustain growth. Through the mediated transport of glucose transporters, the uptake and utilization of glucose by tumor cells are significantly enhanced in the hypoxic microenvironment. Pituitary adenomas are benign tumors with high-energy metabolisms. We aimed to investigate the role of expression of glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3) and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) in pituitary adenomas, including effects on size, cystic change and hormone type. Pituitary adenomas from 203 patients were collected from January 2013 to April 2017, and immunohistochemical analysis was used to detect the expression of GLUT3 and GLUT1 in tumor specimens. GLUT3-positive expression in the cystic change group was higher than that in the non-cystic change group (P = 0.018). Proportions of GLUT3-positive staining of microadenomas, macroadenomas, and giant adenomas were 22.7 (5/22), 50.4 (66/131) and 54.0% (27/50), respectively (P = 0.022). In cases of prolactin adenoma, GLUT3-positive staining was predominant in cell membranes (P = 0.000006), while in cases of follicle-stimulating hormone or luteotropic hormone adenoma, we found mainly paranuclear dot-like GLUT3 staining (P = 0.025). In other hormonal adenomas, GLUT3 was only partially expressed, and the intensity of cell membrane or paranuclear punctate staining was weak. In contrast to GLUT3, GLUT1 expression was not associated with pituitary adenomas. Thus, our results indicate that the expression of GLUT3 in pituitary adenomas is closely related to cystic change and hormonal type. This study is the first to report a unique paranuclear dot-like GLUT3 staining pattern in pituitary adenomas.

Open access

Jing Wang, Leishen Wang, Huikun Liu, Shuang Zhang, Junhong Leng, Weiqin Li, Tao Zhang, Nan Li, Wei Li, Andrea A Baccarelli, Lifang Hou, and Gang Hu

Previous studies found conflicting results about the associations between the exposure to hyperglycemia in utero and the later risks of childhood overweight and obesity. The aim of the present study is to compare the children’s BMI growth between offspring exposed to maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and those not exposed and assess the associations between maternal GDM and their offspring’s overweight and obesity risk. We performed a large observational study in 1156 women and their offspring (578 GDM and 578 non-GDM mother–child pairs, matched by their offspring’s gender and age). Maternal GDM was diagnosed according to the World Health Organization criteria. Childhood height, weight, waist circumference, body fat and skinfold were measured using standardized methods. After adjustment for maternal and children’s characteristics, children born to mothers with GDM during pregnancy had higher mean values of Z scores for BMI-for-age, Z scores for weight-for-age, waist circumferences, body fat, subscapular skinfold and suprailiac skinfold, in comparison with their counterparts born to mothers with normal glucose during pregnancy (all P values <0.05). Moreover, maternal GDM was associated with a higher risk of childhood overweight and obesity with multivariate-adjusted odds ratios of 1.42 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02–1.97) and 1.18 (95% CI: 1.11–1.24), respectively, compared with the children of mothers without GDM during pregnancy. This study demonstrates that maternal GDM is an independent risk factor of childhood overweight and obesity and is associated with higher BMI in the offspring.

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


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.


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.


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.


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

Jiayang Lin, Peizhen Zhang, Yan Huang, Xueyun Wei, Dan Guo, Jianfang Liu, Deying Liu, Yajuan Deng, Bingyan Xu, Chensihan Huang, Xiaoyu Yang, Yan Lu, Lijing Jia, and Huijie Zhang


Glycoprotein non-metastatic protein B (Gpnmb) has been identified as a new cytokine secreted by hepatocyte that plays an important role in balancing lipid homeostasis and development of obesity and metabolic disorders. However, information is not available regarding the association between circulating Gpnmb and hyperthyroid in humans.


We measured serum Gpnmb in 180 hyperthyroid patients and 82 healthy subjects that were recruited from the clinic. Of them, 46 hyperthyroid patients received thionamide treatment for 3 months.


Hyperthyroid subjects had higher levels of circulating Gpnmb than healthy controls (47.8 ± 10.1 ng/mL vs 31.0 ± 4.9 ng/mL, P < 0.001). Subjects with higher levels of serum free triiodothyronine (T3) and free thyroxine (T4) had higher levels of circulating Gpnmb. After thionamide treatment, levels of circulating Gpnmb in hyperthyroid subjects remarkably declined with significant improvement of thyroid function (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the change of circulating Gpnmb levels was significantly associated with basal metabolic rate (BMR) and thyroid hormones, including free T3 and free T4, adjusting for age, gender, smoking and BMI before thionamide treatment. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, circulating Gpnmb was significantly associated with risks of hyperthyroidism (OR (95% CI): 1.44 (1.20–1.74), P < 0.001), adjusted for age, gender, BMI, fasting glucose, HOMA-IR, LDL-cholesterol, ALT and AST.


These findings indicate that circulating Gpnmb concentrations are independently associated with hyperthyroid, suggesting that circulating Gpnmb may be a predictor of risk for hyperthyroidism and can be used for therapeutic monitoring.

Open access

Liangming Li, Yuan Wei, Chunlu Fang, Shujing Liu, Fu Zhou, Ge Zhao, Yaping Li, Yuan Luo, Ziyi Guo, Weiqun Lin, and Wenqi Yang

Exercise has been recommended as an important strategy to improve glucose metabolism in obesity. Adipose tissue fibrosis is associated with inflammation and is implicated in glucose metabolism disturbance and insulin resistance in obesity. However, the effect of exercise on the progression of adipose tissue fibrosis is still unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether exercise retarded the progression of adipose tissue fibrosis and ameliorated glucose homeostasis in diet-induced obese mice. To do so, obesity and adipose tissue fibrosis in mice were induced by high-fat diet feeding for 12 weeks and the mice subsequently received high-fat diet and exercise intervention for another 12 weeks. Exercise alleviated high-fat diet-induced glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Continued high-fat diet feeding exacerbated collagen deposition and further increased fibrosis-related gene expression in adipose tissue. Exercise attenuated or reversed these changes. Additionally, PPARγ, which has been shown to inhibit adipose tissue fibrosis, was observed to be increased following exercise. Moreover, exercise decreased the expression of HIF-1α in adipose fibrosis, and adipose tissue inflammation was inhibited. In conclusion, our data indicate that exercise attenuates and even reverses the progression of adipose tissue fibrosis, providing a plausible mechanism for its beneficial effects on glucose metabolism in obesity.

Open access

Qian Wang, Jiacheng Wang, Yunhui Xin, Ziyang He, Xiang Zhou, Xing Liu, Teng Zhao, Lihan He, Hong Shen, Mulan Jin, and Bojun Wei


Parathyroid carcinoma (PC), often misdiagnosed as a parathyroid adenoma (PA), is prone to local relapse due to the initial surgery being restricted to parathyroid lesions instead of en bloc resection of parathyroid lesions with negative incision margins. However, it is very challenging to distinguish PC from PA preoperatively; hence, this study investigated an effective biomarker for increasing accuracy in PC diagnosis.


First, the differentially expressed circular RNAs between three PC tissues and three PA tissues were screened by high-throughput circular RNA sequencing, and the expression of hsa_circ_0005729 was verified by qRT-PCR in 14 patients with PC and 40 patients with PA. Secondly, the receiver operating characteristic curve and the area under the curve (AUC) were used to analyze the diagnostic efficiency of hsa_circ_0005729 in PC by combining with laboratory data. Thirdly, RNF138mRNA, the corresponding linear transcript of hsa_circ_0005729, was measured, and the relationship between hsa_circ_0005729 and RNF138 mRNA was analyzed in patients with PA and patients with PC.


Hsa_circ_0005729 expression was significantly higher in patients with PC than in patients with PA. Serum calcium (P  = 0.045), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (P  = 0.048), and creatinine levels (P  = 0.036) were significantly higher in patients with PC than in patients with PA. The AUC increased to 0.86 when hsa_circ_0005729 combined with serum calcium, creatinine, and ALP. In addition, hsa_circ_0005729 was positively correlated with RNF138 mRNA in patients with PA but not in patients with PC.


The novel circular RNA hsa_circ_0005729 was found to have a higher expression in patients with PC, indicating its usefulness for distinguishing PC from PA.

Open access

Xue-Lian Zhang, Xinyi Zhao, Yong Wu, Wen-qing Huang, Jun-jiang Chen, Peijie Hu, Wei Liu, Yi-Wen Chen, Jin Hao, Rong-Rong Xie, Hsiao Chang Chan, Ye Chun Ruan, Hui Chen, and Jinghui Guo


The beneficial effect of angiotensin(1–7) (Ang(1–7)), via the activation of its receptor, MAS-1, has been noted in diabetes treatment; however, how Ang(1–7) or MAS-1 affects insulin secretion remains elusive and whether the endogenous level of Ang(1–7) or MAS-1 is altered in diabetic individuals remains unexplored. We recently identified an important role of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a cAMP-activated Cl channel, in the regulation of insulin secretion. Here, we tested the possible involvement of CFTR in mediating Ang(1–7)’s effect on insulin secretion and measured the level of Ang(1–7), MAS-1 as well as CFTR in the blood of individuals with or without type 2 diabetes.


Ang(1–7)/MAS-1/CFTR pathway was determined by specific inhibitors, gene manipulation, Western blotting as well as insulin ELISA in a pancreatic β-cell line, RINm5F. Human blood samples were collected from 333 individuals with (n  = 197) and without (n  = 136) type 2 diabetes. Ang(1–7), MAS-1 and CFTR levels in the human blood were determined by ELISA.


In RINm5F cells, Ang(1–7) induced intracellular cAMP increase, cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) activation, enhanced CFTR expression and potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, which were abolished by a selective CFTR inhibitor, RNAi-knockdown of CFTR, or inhibition of MAS-1. In human subjects, the blood levels of MAS-1 and CFTR, but not Ang(1–7), were significantly higher in individuals with type 2 diabetes as compared to those in non-diabetic healthy subjects. In addition, blood levels of MAS-1 and CFTR were in significant positive correlation in type-2 diabetic but not non-diabetic subjects.


These results suggested that MAS-1 and CFTR as key players in mediating Ang(1–7)-promoted insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells; MAS-1 and CFTR are positively correlated and both upregulated in type 2 diabetes.

Open access

Zi-Di Xu, Wei Zhang, Min Liu, Huan-Min Wang, Pei-Pei Hui, Xue-Jun Liang, Jie Yan, Yu-Jun Wu, Yan-Mei Sang, Cheng Zhu, and Gui-Chen Ni

This study aims to summarize and analyze the clinical manifestations, genetic characteristics, treatment modalities and long-term prognosis of congenital hyperinsulinemia (CHI) in Chinese children. Sixty children with CHI, who were treated at Beijing Children’s Hospital from January 2014 to August 2017, and their families, were selected as subjects. The CHI-related causative genes in children were sequenced and analyzed using second-generation sequencing technology. Furthermore, the genetic pathogenesis and clinical characteristics of Chinese children with CHI were explored. Among the 60 CHI children, 27 children (27/60, 45%) carried known CHI-related gene mutations: 16 children (26.7%) carried ABCC8 gene mutations, seven children (11.7%) carried GLUD1 gene mutations, one child carried GCK gene mutations, two children carried HNF4α gene mutations and one child carried HADH gene mutations. In these 60 patients, eight patients underwent 18F-L-DOPA PET scan for the pancreas, and five children were found to be focal type. The treatment of diazoxide was ineffective in these five patients, and hypoglycemia could be controlled after receiving partial pancreatectomy. In conclusion, ABCC8 gene mutation is the most common cause of CHI in Chinese children. The early genetic analysis of children’s families has an important guiding significance for treatment planning and prognosis assessment.