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Open access

Andrew A Crawford, Stefan Soderberg, Clemens Kirschbaum, Lee Murphy, Mats Eliasson, Shah Ebrahim, George Davey Smith, Tommy Olsson, Naveed Sattar, Debbie A Lawlor, Nicolas J Timpson, Rebecca M Reynolds and Brian R Walker

Objective

The identification of new causal risk factors has the potential to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction and the development of new treatments to reduce CVD deaths. In the general population, we sought to determine whether cortisol is a causal risk factor for CVD and coronary heart disease (CHD).

Design and methods

Three approaches were adopted to investigate the association between cortisol and CVD/CHD. First, we used multivariable regression in two prospective nested case-control studies (total 798 participants, 313 incident CVD/CHD with complete data). Second, a random-effects meta-analysis of these data and previously published prospective associations was performed (total 6680 controls, 696 incident CVD/CHD). Finally, one- and two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses were performed (122,737 CHD cases, 547,261 controls for two-sample analyses).

Results

In the two prospective nested case–control studies, logistic regression adjusting for sex, age, BMI, smoking and time of sampling, demonstrated a positive association between morning plasma cortisol and incident CVD (OR: 1.28 per 1 SD higher cortisol, 95% CI: 1.06–1.54). In the meta-analysis of prospective studies, the equivalent result was OR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.06–1.31. Results from the two-sample Mendelian randomization were consistent with these positive associations: OR: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.98–1.15.

Conclusions

All three approaches demonstrated a positive association between morning plasma cortisol and incident CVD. Together, these findings suggest that elevated morning cortisol is a causal risk factor for CVD. The current data suggest strategies targeted at lowering cortisol action should be evaluated for their effects on CVD.

Open access

Jeroen M K de Filette, Joeri J Pen, Lore Decoster, Thomas Vissers, Bert Bravenboer, Bart J Van der Auwera, Frans K Gorus, Bart O Roep, Sandrine Aspeslagh, Bart Neyns, Brigitte Velkeniers and Aan V Kharagjitsingh

Objective

To better define the rare adverse event (AE) of diabetes mellitus associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

Design and methods

We report the case of a lung cancer patient with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and autoimmune thyroiditis during pembrolizumab treatment. We provide a systematic review of all published cases (PubMed/Web of Science/Cochrane, through November 2018) of autoimmune diabetes mellitus related to blockade of the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4)-, programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) receptor or its ligand (PD-L1) or combination (ICI) therapy.

Results

Our literature search identified 90 patient cases (our case excluded). Most patients were treated with anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 as monotherapy (79%) or in combination with CTLA-4 blockade (15%). On average, diabetes mellitus was diagnosed after 4.5 cycles; earlier for combination ICI at 2.7 cycles. Early-onset diabetes mellitus (after one or two cycles) was observed during all treatment regimens. Diabetic ketoacidosis was present in 71%, while elevated lipase levels were detected in 52% (13/25). Islet autoantibodies were positive in 53% of patients with a predominance of glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies. Susceptible HLA genotypes were present in 65% (mostly DR4). Thyroid dysfunction was the most frequent other endocrine AE at 24% incidence in this patient population.

Conclusion

ICI-related diabetes mellitus is a rare but often life-threatening metabolic urgency of which health-care professionals and patients should be aware. Close monitoring of blood glucose and prompt endocrine investigation in case of hyperglycemia is advisable. Predisposing factors such as HLA genotype might explain why some individuals are at risk.

Open access

Jens Bollerslev, Camilla Schalin-Jäntti, Lars Rejnmark, Heide Siggelkow, Hans Morreau, Rajesh Thakker, Antonio Sitges-Serra, Filomena Cetani, Claudio Marcocci and the PARAT Workshop Group

PARAT, a new European Society of Endocrinology program, aims to identify unmet scientific and educational needs of parathyroid disorders, such as primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), including parathyroid cancer (PC), and hypoparathyroidism (HypoPT). The discussions and consensus statements from the first PARAT workshop (September 2018) are reviewed. PHPT has a high prevalence in Western communities, yet evidence is sparse concerning the natural history and whether morbidity and long-term outcomes are related to hypercalcemia or plasma PTH concentrations or both. Cardiovascular mortality and prevalence of low energy fractures are increased, whereas quality of life is decreased, although their reversibility by treatment of PHPT has not been convincingly demonstrated. PC is a rare cause of PHPT, with increasing incidence, and international collaborative studies are required to advance knowledge of the genetic mechanisms, biomarkers for disease activity and optimal treatments. For example, ~20% of PCs demonstrate high mutational burden, and identifying targetable DNA variations, gene amplifications and gene fusions may facilitate personalized care, such as different forms of immunotherapy or targeted therapy. HypoPT, a designated orphan disease, is associated with a high risk of symptoms and complications. Most cases are secondary to neck surgery. However, there is a need to better understand the relation between disease biomarkers and intellectual function and to establish the role of PTH in target tissues, as these may facilitate the appropriate use of PTH substitution therapy. Management of parathyroid disorders is challenging, and PARAT has highlighted the need for international transdisciplinary scientific and educational studies in advancing in this field.

Open access

Mirjam Christ-Crain

Diabetes insipidus (DI), be it from central or nephrogenic origin, must be differentiated from secondary forms of hypotonic polyuria such as primary polydipsia. Differentiation is crucial since wrong treatment can have deleterious consequences. Since decades, the gold standard for differentiation has been the water deprivation test, which has limitations leading to an overall unsatisfying diagnostic accuracy. Furthermore, it is cumbersome for patients with a long test duration. Clinical signs and symptoms and MRI characteristics overlap between patients with DI and primary polydipsia. The direct test including vasopressin (AVP) measurement upon osmotic stimulation was meant to overcome these limitations, but failed to enter clinical practice mainly due to technical constraints of the AVP assay. Copeptin is secreted in equimolar amount to AVP but can easily be measured with a sandwich immunoassay. A high correlation between copeptin and AVP has been shown. Accordingly, copeptin mirrors the amount of AVP in the circulation and has led to a ‘revival’ of the direct test in the differential diagnosis of DI. We have shown that a baseline copeptin, without prior thirsting, unequivocally identifies patients with nephrogenic DI. In contrast, for the differentiation between central DI and primary polydipsia, a stimulated copeptin level of 4.9 pmol/L upon hypertonic saline infusion differentiates these two entities with a high diagnostic accuracy and is superior to the water deprivation test. Close sodium monitoring during the test is a prerequisite. Further new test methods are currently evaluated and might provide an even simpler way of differential diagnosis in the future.

Open access

Julia Otten, Mats Ryberg, Caroline Mellberg, Tomas Andersson, Elin Chorell, Bernt Lindahl, Christel Larsson, Jens Juul Holst and Tommy Olsson

Objective

To investigate how weight loss by different diets impacts postprandial levels of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon.

Methods

In this single-centre, parallel group 2-year trial, 70 healthy postmenopausal obese women were randomised to the Paleolithic diet or a healthy control diet based on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. Both diets were without calorie restriction. The primary outcome was the change in fat mass. Here, secondary analyses on GLP-1, GIP and glucagon measured during an OGTT are described.

Results

In the Paleolithic diet group, mean weight loss compared to baseline was 11% at 6 months and 10% at 24 months. In the control diet group, mean weight loss was 6% after 6 and 24 months (P = 0.0001 and P = 0.049 for the comparison between groups at 6 and 24 months respectively). Compared to baseline, the mean incremental area under the curve (iAUC) for GLP-1 increased by 34 and 45% after 6 and 24 months in the Paleolithic diet group and increased by 59% after 24 months in the control diet group. The mean iAUC for GIP increased only in the Paleolithic diet group. The area under the curve (AUC) for glucagon increased during the first 6 months in both groups. The fasting glucagon increase correlated with the β-hydroxybutyrate increase.

Conclusions

Weight loss caused an increase in postprandial GLP-1 levels and a further rise occurred during weight maintenance. Postprandial GIP levels increased only after the Paleolithic diet. Reduced postprandial glucagon suppression may be caused by a catabolic state.

Open access

Irina Bancos, Jon Hazeldine, Vasileios Chortis, Peter Hampson, Angela E Taylor, Janet M Lord and Wiebke Arlt

Open access

Balachandran Kumarendran, Dana Sumilo, Michael W O’Reilly, Konstantinos A Toulis, Krishna M Gokhale, Chandrika N Wijeyaratne, Arri Coomarasamy, Wiebke Arlt, Abd A Tahrani and Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar

Objective

Obesity is very common in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Longitudinal studies assessing OSA risk in PCOS and examining the role of obesity are lacking. Our objective was to assess the risk of OSA in women with vs without PCOS and to examine the role of obesity in the observed findings.

Design

Population-based retrospective cohort study utilizing The Health Improvement Network (THIN), UK.

Methods

76 978 women with PCOS and 143 077 age-, BMI- and location-matched women without PCOS between January 2000 and May 2017 were identified. Hazard ratio (HR) for OSA among women with and without PCOS were calculated after controlling for confounding variables using multivariate Cox models.

Results

Median patient age was 30 (IQR: 25–35) years; median follow-up was 3.5 (IQR: 1.4–7.1) years. We found 298 OSA cases in PCOS women vs 222 in controls, with incidence rates for OSA of 8.1 and 3.3 per 10 000 person years, respectively. Women with PCOS were at increased risk of developing OSA (adjusted HR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.89–2.69, P < 0.001), with similar HRs for normal weight, overweight and obese PCOS women.

Conclusions

Women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing OSA compared to control women irrespective of obesity. Considering the significant metabolic morbidity associated with OSA, clinicians should have a low threshold to test for OSA in women with PCOS. Whether OSA treatment has an impact on PCOS symptoms and outcomes needs to be examined.

Open access

Guodong Xu, Dingyun You, Liping Wong, Donghui Duan, Fanqian Kong, Xiaohong Zhang, Jinshun Zhao, Wenhua Xing, Liyuan Han and Li Li

Objective

Previous studies have shown sex-specific differences in all-cause and CHD mortality in type 2 diabetes. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to provide a global picture of the estimated influence of type 2 diabetes on the risk of all-cause and CHD mortality in women vs men.

Methods

We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science for studies published from their starting dates to Aug 7, 2018. The sex-specific hazard ratios (HRs) and their pooled ratio (women vs men) of all-cause and CHD mortality associated with type 2 diabetes were obtained through an inverse variance-weighted random-effects meta-analysis. Subgroup analyses were used to explore the potential sources of heterogeneity.

Results

The 35 analyzed prospective cohort studies included 2 314 292 individuals, among whom 254 038 all-cause deaths occurred. The pooled women vs men ratio of the HRs for all-cause and CHD mortality were 1.17 (95% CI: 1.12–1.23, I 2 = 81.6%) and 1.97 (95% CI: 1.49–2.61, I 2 = 86.4%), respectively. The pooled estimate of the HR for all-cause mortality was approximately 1.30 in articles in which the duration of follow-up was longer than 10 years and 1.10 in articles in which the duration of follow-up was less than 10 years. The pooled HRs for all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes was 2.33 (95% CI: 2.02–2.69) in women and 1.91 (95% CI: 1.72–2.12) in men, compared with their healthy counterparts.

Conclusions

The effect of diabetes on all-cause and CHD mortality is approximately 17 and 97% greater, respectively, for women than for men.

Open access

Jan Idkowiak, Yasir S Elhassan, Pascoe Mannion, Karen Smith, Rachel Webster, Vrinda Saraff, Timothy G Barrett, Nicholas J Shaw, Nils Krone, Renuka P Dias, Melanie Kershaw, Jeremy M Kirk, Wolfgang Högler, Ruth E Krone, Michael W O’Reilly and Wiebke Arlt

Objective

Androgen excess in childhood is a common presentation and may signify sinister underlying pathology. Data describing its patterns and severity are scarce, limiting the information available for clinical decision processes. Here, we examined the differential diagnostic value of serum DHEAS, androstenedione (A4) and testosterone in childhood androgen excess.

Design

Retrospective review of all children undergoing serum androgen measurement at a single center over 5 years.

Methods

Serum A4 and testosterone were measured by tandem mass spectrometry and DHEAS by immunoassay. Patients with at least one increased androgen underwent phenotyping by clinical notes review.

Results

In 487 children with simultaneous DHEAS, A4 and testosterone measurements, we identified 199 with androgen excess (140 pre- and 59 post-pubertal). Premature adrenarche (PA) was the most common pre-pubertal diagnosis (61%), characterized by DHEAS excess in 85%, while A4 and testosterone were only increased in 26 and 9% respectively. PCOS was diagnosed in 40% of post-pubertal subjects, presenting equally frequent with isolated excess of DHEAS (29%) or testosterone (25%) or increases in both A4 and testosterone (25%). CAH patients (6%) predominantly had A4 excess (86%); testosterone and DHEAS were increased in 50 and 33% respectively. Concentrations increased above the two-fold upper limit of normal were mostly observed in PA for serum DHEAS (>20-fold in the single case of adrenocortical carcinoma) and in CAH for serum androstenedione.

Conclusions

Patterns and severity of childhood androgen excess provide pointers to the underlying diagnosis and can be used to guide further investigations.

Open access

Ingibjörg H Jonsdottir and Anna Sjörs Dahlman

Burnout has several different definitions, and attempts have been made to discriminate between burnout as a psychological construct and burnout as a clinical entity. A large body of research has focused on elucidating the biological link between stress exposure and burnout and/or finding a clinically usable biomarker for burnout. The objective of this narrative review is to summarize the main endocrine and immune findings in relation to burnout. The literature has primarily focused on dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. However, albeit the large body of studies, it cannot be concluded that clear effects are seen on HPA axis function in people with burnout. The HPA axis and anabolic acute reactivity to stress might be affected in clinical burnout. Plausible, effects of chronic stress might rather be seen when measuring responses to acute stress rather than resting state hormonal levels. Studies on other hormones, including thyroid hormones, prolactin and growth hormone in burnout subjects are inconclusive. It is important to note that this field is faced with many methodological challenges, one being the diurnal and pulsatile nature of many of the hormones of interest, including cortisol, which is not always considered. Another challenge is the heterogeneity regarding definitions and measurements of stress and burnout. Existing studies on burnout and immune function are heterogeneous regarding the results and no firm conclusion can be made if clinically relevant immune changes are present in burnout subjects. An overall conclusion is that existing research cannot confirm any homogenous reliable endocrinological or immunological changes related to burnout.