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Open access

Stinus Hansen, Niklas Rye Jørgensen, Anne Pernille Hermann and Rene Klinkby Støving

Objective

Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery is an effective treatment for morbid obesity. A possible overlooked side effect is negative bone metabolic consequences.

Design

A seven-year prospective study following ten women and seven men after RYGB (baseline mean age 43 ± 8 years, BMI 42 ± 6 kg/m2).

Methods

Lumbar spine and total hip bone mineral density (BMD) using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, distal radius and tibia bone geometry, volumetric BMD, microarchitecture and finite element estimated bone strength using high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT and biochemical markers of bone remodelling were assessed at baseline, 2 and 7 years.

Results

Compared to baseline, body weight was 24 ± 10% lower after 2 years and 21 ± 11% after 7 years. During the 7 years of follow-up, radius and tibia vBMD had declined 13 ± 8% and 8 ± 7% from baseline to 2 years and further 10 ± 7% and 7 ± 8% from 2 to 7 years (all P < 0.001). At both radius and tibia, cortical thickness declined and cortical porosity increased. From baseline to 7 years, there were clear indications of deteriorations of the trabecular network with fewer, more widely spaced and more in-homogeneously distributed trabeculae in both radius and tibia. Overall, declines in estimated bone strength of 16 ± 9% in radius and 16 ± 7% in tibia were observed (both P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Seven years after RYGB, evidence of continuous declines in BMD and ongoing deterioration of bone microarchitecture and reduced estimated bone strength compared to baseline and 2 years post-surgery results were found. These findings emphasize the need for regular assessment of bone health in patients with prior RYGB.

Open access

L Stavber, T Hovnik, P Kotnik, L Lovrečić, J Kovač, T Tesovnik, S Bertok, K Dovč, M Debeljak, T Battelino and M Avbelj Stefanija

Context

Defining the underlying etiology of idiopathic short stature (ISS) improves the overall management of an individual.

Objective

To assess the frequency of pathogenic ACAN variants in selected individuals.

Design

The single-center cohort study was conducted at a tertiary university children’s hospital. From 51 unrelated patients with ISS, the 16 probands aged between 3 and 18 years (12 females) with advanced bone age and/or autosomal dominant inheritance pattern of short stature were selected for the study. Fifteen family members of ACAN-positive probands were included. Exome sequencing was performed in all probands, and additional copy number variation (CNV) detection was applied in selected probands with a distinct ACAN-associated phenotype.

Results

Systematic phenotyping of the study cohort yielded 37.5% (6/16) ACAN-positive probands, with all novel pathogenic variants, including a 6.082 kb large intragenic deletion, detected by array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) and exome data analysis. All variants were co-segregated with short stature phenotype, except in one family member with the intragenic deletion who had an unexpected growth pattern within the normal range (−0.5 SDS). One patient presented with otosclerosis, a sign not previously associated with aggrecanopathy.

Conclusions

ACAN pathogenic variants presented a common cause of familial ISS. The selection criteria used in our study were suggested for a personalized approach to genetic testing of the ACAN gene in clinical practice. Our results expanded the number of pathogenic ACAN variants, including the first intragenic deletion, and suggested CNV evaluation in patients with typical clinical features of aggrecanopathy as reasonable. Intra-familial phenotypic variability in growth patterns should be considered.

Open access

Wafa Kallali, Ewan Gray, Muhammad Zain Mehdi, Robert Lindsay, Louise A Metherell, Federica Buonocore, Jenifer P Suntharalingham, John C Achermann and Malcolm Donaldson

Objective

CYP11A1 mutations cause P450 side-chain cleavage (scc) deficiency, a rare form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia with a wide clinical spectrum. We detail the phenotype and evolution in a male sibship identified by HaloPlex targeted capture array.

Family study

The youngest of three brothers from a non-consanguineous Scottish family presented with hyperpigmentation at 3.7 years. Investigation showed grossly impaired glucocorticoid function with ACTH elevation, moderately impaired mineralocorticoid function, and normal external genitalia. The older brothers were found to be pigmented also, with glucocorticoid impairment but normal electrolytes. Linkage studies in 2002 showed that all three brothers had inherited the same critical regions of the maternal X chromosome suggesting an X-linked disorder, but analysis of NR0B1 (DAX-1, adrenal hypoplasia) and ABCD1 (adrenoleukodystrophy) were negative.

In 2016, next-generation sequencing revealed compound heterozygosity for the rs6161 variant in CYP11A1 (c.940G>A, p.Glu314Lys), together with a severely disruptive frameshift mutation (c.790_802del, K264Lfs*5). The brothers were stable on hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone replacement, testicular volumes (15–20 mL), and serum testosterone levels (24.7, 33.3, and 27.2 nmol/L) were normal, but FSH (41.2 µ/L) was elevated in the proband. The latter had undergone left orchidectomy for suspected malignancy at the age of 25 years and was attending a fertility clinic for oligospermia. Initial histology was reported as showing nodular Leydig cell hyperplasia. However, histological review using CD56 staining confirmed testicular adrenal rest cell tumour (TART).

Conclusion

This kinship with partial P450scc deficiency demonstrates the importance of precise diagnosis in primary adrenal insufficiency to ensure appropriate counselling and management, particularly of TART.

Open access

Blerim Mujaj, Daniel Bos, Maryam Kavousi, Aad van der Lugt, Jan A Staessen, Oscar H Franco and Meike W Vernooij

Background

To investigate the association between fasting serum insulin and glucose levels with atherosclerotic plaque composition in the carotid artery. Impaired insulin and glucose levels are implicated in the etiology of cardiovascular disease; however, their influence on the formation and composition of atherosclerotic plaque remains unclear.

Methods

In 1740 participants (mean age 72.9 years, 46% women, 14.4% diabetes mellitus) from the population-based Rotterdam Study, we performed carotid MRI to evaluate the presence of calcification, lipid core, and intraplaque hemorrhage in carotid atherosclerosis. All participants also underwent blood sampling to obtain information on serum insulin and glucose levels. Using logistic regression models, we assessed the association of serum insulin and glucose levels (per s.d. and in tertiles) with the different plaque components, while adjusting for sex, age, intima-media thickness, and cardiovascular risk factors.

Results

Serum insulin levels were associated with the presence of intraplaque hemorrhage (adjusted odds ratio (OR): 1.42 (95% CI: 1.12–1.7)) We found no association with the presence of calcification or lipid core. Sensitivity analyses restricted to individuals without diabetes mellitus yielded similar results. No associations were found between serum glucose levels and any of the plaque components.

Conclusions

Serum insulin levels are associated with the presence of vulnerable components of carotid plaque, specifically with intraplaque hemorrhage. These findings suggest a complex role for serum insulin in the pathophysiology of carotid atherosclerosis and in plaque vulnerability.

Open access

Andreas Stomby, Julia Otten, Mats Ryberg, Ruth Andrew, Brian R Walker and Tommy Olsson

Context: Altered tissue-specific glucocorticoid metabolism has been described in uncomplicated obesity and type 2 diabetes. We hypothesized that weight loss induced by diet and exercise, which has previously been shown to reverse abnormal cortisol metabolism in uncomplicated obesity, also normalizes cortisol metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Objective: Test the effects of a diet intervention with added exercise on glucocorticoid metabolism.

Design: Two groups followed a Paleolithic diet (PD) for 12 weeks with added 180 minutes of structured aerobic and resistance exercise per week in one randomized group (PDEX).

Setting: Umeå University Hospital.

Participants: Men and women with type 2 diabetes treated with lifestyle modification ± metformin were included. Twenty-eight participants (PD, n = 15; PDEX, n = 13) completed measurements of glucocorticoid metabolism.

Main outcome measures: Changes in glucocorticoid metabolite levels in 24-hour urine samples, expression of 11HSD1 mRNA in subcutaneous adipose tissue and conversion of orally administered cortisone to cortisol measured in plasma. Body composition, insulin sensitivity measured using a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and liver fat measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Results: Both groups lost weight and improved insulin sensitivity. Conversion of orally taken cortisone to plasma cortisol and the ratio of (5-THF+5-THF)/THE in urine increased in both groups.

Conclusions: These interventions caused weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity with concomitant increases in the conversion of cortisone to cortisol, which is an estimate of hepatic 11HSD1 activity. This suggests that dysregulation of liver glucocorticoid metabolism in these patients is a consequence rather than a cause of metabolic dysfunction.

Open access

Angel Elenkov, Yahia Al-jebari, Yvonne Lunberg Giwercman and Aleksander Giwercman

Male hypogonadism is associated with higher risk of co-morbidity and premature mortality. It is therefore of utmost importance to identify young men, who are at highest risk of testosterone deficiency and who may benefit from preventive measures. In this context, infertile men constitute a high-risk group. The extent of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) among infertile men, defined as men who have to undergo assisted reproduction for fatherhood, is currently unknown. Therefore, we evaluated the pattern of prescription of TRT in the years following child conception among men who have fathered children with the help of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

By sourcing data from national population registries, hazard ratio (HR) for subsequent TRT was assessed for IVF and ICSI treated men and compared to those who conceived spontaneously with age Cox regression analysis adjusted for age, educational level and previous intake of medicines for metabolic diseases.

ICSI and IVF fathers had increased incidence of newly prescribed TRT compared to fathers conceiving spontaneously (ICSI: HR=3.81, 95% CI=3.09-4.69, p<0.001; IVF: HR=1.54, 95% CI=1.15-2.05, p=0.003). After adjustment for prescription of medication for one or more components of the MetS prior to TRT the risk estimates attenuated but remained robust both for ICSI treated (HR = 3.17 (95% CI:2.56 – 3.9) and IVF treated men (HR = 1.06 (95%CI: 1.05 – 1.07).

Men who have to utilise powerful techniques, such as ICSI for fathering children, may be at risk for testosterone deficiency. Routine endocrine evaluation of men seeking fertility treatment is hence warranted.

Open access

John Newell-Price, Rosario Pivonello, Antoine Tabarin, Maria Fleseriu, Przemysław Witek, Mônica R Gadelha, Stephan Petersenn, Libuse Tauchmanova, Shoba Ravichandran, Pritam Gupta, André Lacroix and Beverly M K Biller

Objective

Monitoring of patients with Cushing’s disease on cortisol-lowering drugs is usually performed with urinary free cortisol (UFC). Late-night salivary cortisol (LNSC) has an established role in screening for hypercortisolism and can help to detect the loss of cortisol circadian rhythm. Less evidence exists regarding the usefulness of LNSC in monitoring pharmacological response in Cushing’s disease.

Design

Exploratory analysis evaluating LNSC during a Phase III study of long-acting pasireotide in Cushing’s disease (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01374906).

Methods

Mean LNSC (mLNSC) was calculated from two samples, collected on the same days as the first two of three 24-h urine samples (used to calculate mean UFC [mUFC]). Clinical signs of hypercortisolism were evaluated over time.

Results

At baseline, 137 patients had evaluable mLNSC measurements; 91.2% had mLNSC exceeding the upper limit of normal (ULN; 3.2 nmol/L). Of patients with evaluable assessments at month 12 (n = 92), 17.4% had both mLNSC ≤ULN and mUFC ≤ULN; 22.8% had mLNSC ≤ULN, and 45.7% had mUFC ≤ULN. There was high variability in LNSC (intra-patient coefficient of variation (CV): 49.4%) and UFC (intra-patient CV: 39.2%). mLNSC levels decreased over 12 months of treatment and paralleled changes in mUFC. Moderate correlation was seen between mLNSC and mUFC (Spearman’s correlation: ρ = 0.50 [all time points pooled]). Greater improvements in systolic/diastolic blood pressure and weight were seen in patients with both mLNSC ≤ULN and mUFC ≤ULN.

Conclusion

mUFC and mLNSC are complementary measurements for monitoring treatment response in Cushing’s disease, with better clinical outcomes seen for patients in whom both mUFC and mLNSC are controlled.

Open access

Fahim Ebrahimi, Andrea Widmer, Ulrich Wagner, Beat Mueller, Philipp Schuetz, Mirjam Christ-Crain and Alexander Kutz

Objective

Adrenal insufficiency in the outpatient setting is associated with excess morbidity, mortality, and impaired quality of life. Evidence on its health-care burden in medical inpatients is scarce. The aim of this study was to assess the health-care burden of primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) and secondary adrenal insufficiency (SAI) among hospitalized inpatients.

Design and methods

In this nationwide cohort study, adult medical patients with either PAI or SAI hospitalized between 2011 and 2015 were compared with propensity-matched (1:1) medical controls, respectively. The primary outcome was 30-day all-cause in-hospital mortality. Main secondary outcomes included ICU admission rate, length-of-hospital stay, 30-day and 1-year all-cause readmission rates.

Results

In total, 594 hospitalized cases with PAI and 4880 cases with SAI were included. Compared with matched controls, in-hospital mortality was not increased among PAI or SAI patients, respectively. Patients with adrenal insufficiency were more likely to be admitted to ICU (PAI: OR 1.9 (95% CI, 1.27 to 2.72) and SAI: OR 1.5 (95% CI, 1.35 to 1.75)). Length of hospital stay was prolonged by 1.0 days in PAI patients (8.9 vs 7.9 days (95% CI, 0.06 to 1.93)), and by 3.3 days in SAI patients (12.1 vs 8.8 days (95% CI, 2.82 to 3.71)), when compared with matched controls. Patients with SAI were found to have higher 30-day and 1-year readmission rates (14.1 vs 12.1% and 50.0 vs 40.7%; P < 0.001) than matched controls.

Conclusions

While no difference in in-hospital mortality was found, adrenal insufficiency was associated with prolonged length of hospital stay, and substantially higher rates of ICU admission and hospital readmission.

Open access

Francesca Urbano, Antonino Di Pino, Roberto Scicali, Agnese Filippello, Stefania Di Mauro, Alessandra Scamporrino, Simona Marchisello, Agata Maria Rabuazzo, Francesco Purrello and Salvatore Piro

Objective

Statin therapy has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in high-risk populations; however, the pathophysiology of this association remains to be clarified. We investigated glucagon suppression and its relationship with insulin resistance in prediabetic subjects undergoing atorvastatin therapy; in addition, we studied molecular insulin signaling in pancreatic α-cells exposed to atorvastatin in vitro.

Design and methods

Fifty subjects with prediabetes were divided into two groups based on atorvastatin therapy. All subjects underwent an oral glucose tolerance test. Early (0–30 min), late (30–120 min) and overall (0–120 min) glucagon suppression were evaluated. Insulin sensitivity was estimated by the insulin sensitivity index (ISI0–120). Insulin signaling pathway and insulin-mediated glucagon suppression were investigated in pancreatic αTC1-6 cells chronically exposed (24 or 48 h) to atorvastatin (100 ng/mL).

Results

Individuals on statin therapy (n = 26) showed a significantly reduced early (0–30 min) (P = 0.003) and overall (0–120 min) (P = 0.01) glucagon suppression compared with controls (n = 24). In multivariate regression analysis, early glucagon suppression (0–30 min) exhibited a significant correlation with statin therapy. Regression analysis showed a significant association between ISI 0-120 and early0-30 (r = 0.33, P < 0.05) and overall0-120 (r = 0.38, P < 0.05) glucagon suppression. Moreover, in αTC1-6 cells atorvastatin treatment affected insulin-mediated glucagon suppression, insulin receptor phosphorylation and IRS-1-AKT pathway signaling.

Conclusions

Prediabetic patients undergoing statin therapy exhibit impaired glucagon suppression associated with lower insulin sensitivity. Our data revealed a new molecular aspect behind the deregulation of insulin sensitivity secondary to statin exposure.

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.