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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 little clinical reports based on 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 radioimmunoassay.

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

Yiqiong Ma, Zhaowei Chen, Yu Tao, Jili Zhu, Hongxia Yang, Wei Liang, and Guohua Ding


Previous studies showed that abnormal mitochondrial structure and function were involved in the pathological process of diabetic nephropathy (DN). The dynamic mitochondrial processes, including fusion and fission, maintain the mass and quantity of mitochondria. Podocyte injury is a critical factor in the development and progression of DN. The present study evaluated the mitochondrial fission of podocytes in patients with DN.


We recruited 31 patients with biopsy-confirmed DN. A quantitative analysis of the mitochondrial morphology was conducted with electron microscopy using a computer-assisted morphometric analysis application to calculate the aspect ratio values. Immunofluorescence assays were used to evaluate protein colocalization in the glomeruli of patients.


The urine protein level was significantly increased in DN patients compared to non-DN patients (P < 0.001), and the mitochondria in the podocytes from DN patients were more fragmentated than those from patients without DN. The mitochondrial aspect ratio values were negatively correlated with the proteinuria levels (r = −0.574, P = 0.01), and multiple regression analysis verified that the mitochondrial aspect ratio was significantly and independently associated with the urine protein level (β = −0.519, P = 0.007). In addition, Drp1, a mitochondrial fission factor, preferentially combines with AKAP1, which is located in the mitochondrial membrane.


In the podocytes of DN patients, mitochondrial fragmentation was increased, and mitochondrial aspect ratio values were correlated with the proteinuria levels. The AKAP1-Drp1 pathway may contribute to mitochondrial fission in the pathogenesis of DN.

Open access

Lang Qin, Xiaoming Zhu, Xiaoxia Liu, Meifang Zeng, Ran Tao, Yan Zhuang, Yiting Zhou, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yehong Yang, Yiming Li, Yongfei Wang, and Hongying Ye


The purpose of the study was to describe lipid profile and explore pathogenetic role of LDL-c on hypertension in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD). Hypertension is a common feature in patients with CD. Previous study found low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) uptake in vascular cells might be involved in vascular remodeling in patients with CD. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between lipid profile and the blood pressure in patients with CD.


This retrospective study included 84 patients referred to Huashan Hospital for the evaluation and diagnosis of CD from January 2012 to December 2013. All subjects had detailed clinical evaluation by the same group of endocrinology specialists to avoid subjective influences.


We found that high LDL-c patients had significant higher body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), cholesterol (CHO), triglyceride (TG), and apolipoproteinB (apoB) (P < 0.05). An association was detected between SBP values and lipids profile including CHO, TG, LDL-c, apolipoproteinA (apoA), apoB and lipoprotein(a) (LP(a)). After adjustment for all covariates, the LDL-c remained positively associated with SBP. In patients with or without taking statins, patients with LDL-c ≥3.37 mmol/L had higher SBP than patients with LDL-c <3.37 mmol/L. Then, LDL-c was coded using restricted cubic splines (RCS) function with three knots located at the 5th, 50th and 95th percentiles of the distribution of LDL-c. Compared to individuals with 3.215 mmol/L of LDL-c, individuals with 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 mmol/L of LDL-c had differences of 3.86, 8.53 and 14.11 mmHg in SBP, respectively.


An independent association between LDL-c and SBP was found in patients with CD. We speculate that LDL-c may be a pathogenic factor for hypertension in those patients.

Open access

Boni Xiang, Ran Tao, Xinhua Liu, Xiaoming Zhu, Min He, Zengyi Ma, Yehong Yang, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yiming Li, Zhenwei Yao, Yongfei Wang, and Hongying Ye


The aim of this study was to evaluate thyroid functions in Cushing’s syndrome (CS), the dynamic changes of thyroid hormones and antithyroid antibodies in Cushing’s disease (CD) pre- and postoperatively.

Design and methods

This is a retrospective study enrolling 118 patients with CS (102 CD, 10 adrenal CS and 6 ectopic adrenocorticotropic syndrome (EAS)). Thyroid functions (thyroid-stimulation hormone (TSH), T3, free T3 (FT3), T4 and free T4 (FT4)) were measured in all CS at the time of diagnosis and in all CD 3 months after transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection. Postoperative hormone monitoring within 3 months was conducted in 9 CD patients completing remission. Twenty-eight remitted CD patients experienced hormone and antithyroid antibody evaluation preoperatively and on the 3rd, 6th and 12th month after surgery.


TSH, T3 and FT3 were below the reference range in 31%, 69% and 44% of the 118 CS patients. Remitted CD patients (81/102) had significantly higher TSH (P = 0.000), T3 (P = 0.000) and FT3 (P = 0.000) than those in the non-remission group (21/102). After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 showed a significant increase, with a few cases above the reference range. By 12 months, most CD patients’ thyroid functions returned to normal. Thyroid hormones (including TSH, T3 and FT3) were negatively associated with serum cortisol levels both before and after surgery. No significant changes of antithyroid autoantibodies were observed.


TSH, T3 and FT3 are suppressed in endogenous hypercortisolemia. After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 increased significantly, even above the reference range, but returned to normal 1 year after surgery in most cases. Antithyroid antibodies did not change significantly after remission of CD.

Open access

Xiao Zong, Qin Fan, Hang Zhang, Qian Yang, Hongyang Xie, Qiujing Chen, Ruiyan Zhang, and Rong Tao

To explore the relationship between soluble ST2 (sST2) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) and determine whether sST2 levels can predict the presence and severity of MetS. We evaluated 550 consecutive subjects (58.91 ± 9.69 years, 50% male) with or without MetS from the Department of Vascular & Cardiology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University-Affiliated Ruijin Hospital. Serum sST2 concentrations were measured. The participants were divided into three groups according to the sST2 tertiles. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between serum sST2 concentrations and the presence of MetS. Serum sST2 concentrations were significantly higher in the MetS group than in those in the no MetS group (14.80 ± 7.01 vs 11.58 ± 6.41 ng/mL, P < 0.01). Subjects with more MetS components showed higher levels of sST2. sST2 was associated with the occurrence of MetS after multivariable adjustment as a continuous log-transformed variable (per 1 SD, odds ratio (OR): 1.42, 95% CI: 1.13–1.80, P < 0.01). Subgroup analysis showed that individuals with MetS have significantly higher levels of sST2 than those without MetS regardless of sex and age. High serum sST2 levels were significantly and independently associated with the presence and severity of MetS. Thus, sST2 levels may be a novel biomarker and clinical predictor of MetS.

Open access

Marra Jai Aghajani, Tara Laurine Roberts, Tao Yang, Charles Eugenio McCafferty, Nicole J Caixeiro, Paul DeSouza, and Navin Niles

To date, no research evaluating the predictive capabilities of soluble programmed cell death-ligand 1 (sPD-L1) in thyroid cancer patients has been performed. We aimed to investigate the prognostic significance of sPD-L1 expression in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and to evaluate the association between sPD-L1 levels with tumoural PD-L1 expression and patient outcomes. Pre-treatment levels of serum and plasma sPD-L1 were measured by ELISA in 101 PTC patients. Tissue microarrays were stained with an anti-PD-L1 antibody, clone SP263 (Ventana). The median serum sPD-L1 concentration in PTC patients was significantly higher compared to healthy controls (P = 0.028). An increased incidence of extrathyroidal extension was significantly associated with an elevated serum sPD-L1 level (P = 0.015). Patients with high serum sPD-L1 levels had significantly shorter median disease-free survival (DFS) as compared to those with low sPD-L1 levels (P = 0.011). Following multivariate analysis, serum sPD-L1 was the only statistically significant predictor for DFS. Patients with both positive serum and tumoural PD-L1 expression had a significantly shorter DFS than those in any other subgroup (P = 0.007). Our study is the first to confirm that sPD-L1 concentration is significantly associated with patient outcome in PTC. Soluble PD-L1 may provide clinicians with a non-invasive biomarker that can lessen dependence on tissue biopsies and diagnose aggressive thyroid cancers at a more treatable stage.

Open access

Marra Jai Aghajani, Tao Yang, Ulf Schmitz, Alexander James, Charles Eugenio McCafferty, Paul de Souza, Navin Niles, and Tara L Roberts

Programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) has recently been shown to play a role in the regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT); however, the relationship between PD-L1 expression, EMT and the inflammatory tumour microenvironment has yet to be investigated in thyroid cancer. To address this issue, we examined the expression of CD8, PD-L1 and the EMT markers E-cadherin and vimentin in a cohort of 74 papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients and investigated the association of these with clinicopathologic characteristics and disease-free survival (DFS). The relationship between PD-L1 and EMT was further examined in three thyroid cancer cell lines via Western blot and live cell imaging. In order to expand our in vitro findings, the normalised gene expression profiles of 516 thyroid cancer patients were retrieved and analysed from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). PD-L1 positivity was significantly higher in PTC patients exhibiting a mesenchymal phenotype (P = 0.012). Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed that PD-L1 (P = 0.045), CD8 (P = 0.038) and EMT status (P = 0.038) were all significant predictors for DFS. Sub-analysis confirmed that the poorest DFS was evident in PD-L1 positive patients with EMT features and negative CD8 expression (P < 0.0001). IFN-γ treatment induced upregulation of PD-L1 and significantly promoted an EMT phenotype in two thyroid cancer cell lines. Our findings suggest that PD-L1 signalling may play a role in stimulating EMT in thyroid cancer. EMT, CD8 and PD-L1 expression may serve as valuable predictive biomarkers in patients with PTC.