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K Godang, T Ueland and J Bollerslev

It is well established that chronic excess of glucocorticoids has negative effects on bone and collagen turnover, and that secondary osteoporosis is a known clinical complication of endogenous Cushing's syndrome (CS). The aim of the present study was to evaluate bone dimension and bone mineral content in relation to biochemical markers of bone and collagen turnover, in a consecutive series of 23 patients with endogenous CS (18 with pituitary adenoma and 5 with adrenal tumor; 17 women, 6 men; mean age 39.7+/-2.8 (S.E. M.) and 44.3+/-3.1 years respectively), compared with 23 age-, sex- and body mass index-matched healthy controls. Bone mineral densities were uniformly reduced in the different regions analyzed: lumbar spine (16.1%, P<0.001), femoral neck (15.2%, P<0.001), total body (11.5%, P<0.001), and the subregions of arms (8.4%, P<0.05), legs (10.1%, P<0.05) and trunk (15.8%, P<0.001). Similar results were observed for bone mineral content, although these were less prominent. The calculated area was significantly decreased in trunk (13.8%, P<0.01) and total body (11.6%, P<0.05). Serum levels of osteocalcin were significantly decreased (28%, P<0.03) in patients with CS. No significant differences were observed for the formative markers carboxyterminal propeptide of type I procollagen and aminoterminal propeptide of type I procollagen. Markers of bone resorption, serum Crosslaps and carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen were increased in patients compared with controls, although only significantly for Crosslaps (P<0.02). No correlations between formative and resorptive markers were found in the patients, but in controls, the formative markers were positively correlated with resorptive markers. In conclusion, bone dimension and bone mineral content of the entire skeleton are found to be decreased in endogenous CS. As judged by biochemical markers of bone remodeling, this is caused by decreased bone formation and an increased bone resorption.

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U Schafroth, K Godang, T Ueland and J Bollerslev

There are close interactions between the adipocyte-derived hormone, leptin, and the anterior pituitary, especially the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. We investigated the relationship between the sympathetic adrenergic system and serum leptin levels, dependent on the function of anterior pituitary hormone axes, in 27 patients without a history of a hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma or other underlying endocrine disease. Based on responses in a routine insulin hypoglycemia test (ITT), the patients were classified as hypopituitary (HP; n=15), growth hormone deficient (GHD; n=6) or controls (CTR; 6 patients with normal responses). Nadir plasma glucose was 1.5+/-0.1 mmol/l at the time of maximum hypoglycemia. Each group had a significant increase in plasma epinephrine; however the magnitude of change was significantly higher in GHD (6.066+/-1.633 nmol/l) compared with HP patients (1.781+/-0.492 nmol/l) (P<0.01). The rise in norepinephrine was delayed (60 min) in the HP and CTR groups. However, in GHD patients there was a considerable increase at the time of hypoglycemia which was significantly different from HP (P<0.001) and CTR (P<0.05) patients. The increase in catecholamines was followed by a quick and significant decrease in serum leptin levels 45 min after an i.v. bolus injection of insulin in HP patients (-4.7+/-2.5%, P<0.05), which was significantly sustained after 60 min (-5.6+/-2.5%, P<0.05). In CTR patients there was a significant decrease in serum leptin levels 60 min after i.v. insulin (-14.4+/-6.9%, P<0.05), while no significant response was observed in the GHD group, although 5 of 6 patients had decreased levels at 45 and 60 min. No differences between the groups were found by ANOVA. In conclusion, an acute increase in endogenous circulating catecholamines is associated with a quick decrease in serum leptin levels. Intact anterior pituitary function seems not to be essential for this hitherto poorly understood mechanism.

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E Qvigstad, N Voldner, K Godang, T Henriksen and J Bollerslev

Objective

To monitor β-cell function and insulin sensitivity longitudinally in a large cohort of pregnant women to elucidate mechanisms that influence glycemic control in pregnancy.

Design and methods

Five hundred and fifty-three pregnant Scandinavian women underwent 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at weeks 14–16 and 30–32. Insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index) and β-cell function (ratio of AUCinsulin to AUCglucose, AUCins/glc) were calculated from 520 complete tests, and subsequently β-cell function was adjusted for insulin sensitivity, rendering an oral disposition index (DIo).

Results

Eleven women (2.1%) had gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM1) at weeks 14–16, and 49 (9.4%) at weeks 30–32 (GDM2), which is higher than that previously reported in this region. In the subdivision of OGTT, more overweight (body mass index>25) was found in glucose-intolerant groups (glucose-tolerant women (normal glucose tolerance, NGT) 38 versus GDM2 women 58 and GDM1 women 82%, P<0.005). In early pregnancy, insulin sensitivity was lowest in GDM1, intermediate in GDM2, and highest in NGT. In late pregnancy, insulin sensitivity decreased in all groups, most in gestational diabetes. β-cell function demonstrated minor shifts during pregnancy, but when adjusted for decreasing insulin sensitivity, DIo levels fell by 40% (P<0.001). DIo was significantly attenuated relative to glucose intolerance (GDM1 25% and GDM2 53%) during pregnancy. In overweight women, DIo levels were lower throughout pregnancy (P<0.001 versus normal weight women), this reduction was significant (P<0.01) in both NGT (21–25%) and GDM2 subjects (26–49%).

Conclusion

β-cell function adjusted for insulin sensitivity (DIo) deteriorated during pregnancy in both glucose-tolerant and glucose-intolerant women. The failure to compensate the decrease in insulin sensitivity was accentuated in overweight women.

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T Clausen, T K Burski, N Øyen, K Godang, J Bollerslev and T Henriksen

Objective: The prevalence of maternal overweight and fetal macrosomia is increasing. Fetal macrosomia is associated with increased risk of maternal and neonatal complications. The objective of the present study was to investigate if maternal metabolic parameters associated with maternal overweight were independent determinants of macrosomia (birth weight > 4500 g or above the 95 percentile of the z-score for standardized birth weight).

Design: Prospective population based cohort study of 2050 pregnancies and nested case control study. Methods: Outcome measures were adjusted risks for macrosomia in relation to early second trimester maternal serum lipids, glucose and insulin (cohort study) and leptin and insulin-like growth factor (73 cases and 146 matched controls).

Results: Gestational diabetes was not independently associated with fetal macrosomia. First trimester body mass index (BMI), gestational weight gain and placental weight were associated with macrosomia. High serum insulin and non-high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and low serum HDL-cholesterol were associated with increased risk of macrosomia independent of BMI, weight gain, placental weight and gestational diabetes. Slim women with macrosomic infants had higher insulin compared with those with normal weight infants. This relation was not found among obese women. Leptin was not associated with macrosomia after adjusting for maternal BMI.

Conclusions: Blood parameters known to be associated with the metabolic syndrome were risk factors for macrosomia independent of maternal BMI.

Free access

C Kristo, K Godang, T Ueland, E Lien, P Aukrust, SS Froland and J Bollerslev

OBJECTIVE: It is well known that patients with endogenous Cushing's syndrome (CS) have decreased bone mass and enhanced risk for osteoporotic fractures, secondary to decreased bone formation and increased bone resorption. Immunological mediators, such as cytokines, have recently been shown to influence bone metabolism, and in the present study we examined serum levels of several cytokines, with known or potential effects on bone homeostasis, in 33 consecutive recruited untreated CS patients and 33 age-, sex- and body mass index-matched healthy controls. METHODS: Cytokine levels were measured by enzyme immunoassay and bone mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. RESULTS: Our main findings were (i) interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-18 levels were significantly increased in CS patients compared with controls. (ii) Levels of both IL-8 and IL-18 were positively correlated to serum cortisol. (iii) For serum levels of the 'classical' resorptive cytokines, i.e. IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha, no significant differences were found between CS patients and controls. (iv) Raised IL-18 levels were correlated with decreased osteocalcin levels in CS patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated that CS patients have markedly elevated levels of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-8 and IL-18 in spite of high levels of the immunosuppressive hormone cortisol. These cytokines may be involved in the pathogenesis of disturbed bone homeostasis in CS.

Free access

T Ueland, J Bollerslev, K Godang, F Muller, SS Froland and P Aukrust

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the possible role of osteoprotegerin (OPG) in bone metabolism in humans by measuring serum levels of OPG in five well-characterized patient populations with known or suspected pathology in bone homeostasis, but with differences in the pathogenesis of these disturbances. DESIGN: The study comprised 34 patients with Cushing's syndrome (CS), 24 acromegalic patients, 16 patients with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), 29 HIV-infected patients, 25 patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVI) and 59 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (CTR). METHODS: Serum levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, OPG, C-terminal telopeptides of Type-I collagen (CTX-I) and osteocalcin were determined in all study subjects as well as cortisol (CS and CTR) and IGF-I (acromegaly, GHD and CTR). RESULTS: OPG levels were significantly elevated in both CVI (median increase approximately 32%, P < 0.05) and HIV-infected patients with especially high levels in the latter group ( approximately 52%, P < 0.001), significantly correlated with increased TNFalpha levels (r = 0.47, P < 0.02). Also CS patients had elevated serum OPG ( approximately 24%, P < 0.01), significantly correlated with increased serum cortisol (r = 0.35, P < 0.05). In contrast, OPG levels in acromegalic and GHD patients were not different from healthy controls. No relationships were found between OPG levels and CTX-I or osteocalcin. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that enhanced OPG levels may be a compensatory response to enhanced osteoclast activity or negative bone remodeling balance in some conditions, but may also be a parameter of enhanced activity in the OPG system possibly correlated to enhanced activity of other members of the TNF family.

Free access

T Ueland, T Dalsoren, N Voldner, K Godang, T Henriksen and J Bollerslev

Objective

Recently, experimental and clinical studies suggest that retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4) may provide a link between obesity and insulin resistance. However, no previous studies have investigated the impact of circulating RBP4 on measures of insulin resistance in normal pregnant women, and the objective of this study is to measure serum RBP4 in early and late pregnancy and relate these to measures of insulin resistance and secretion controlling for changes in fat mass.

Design and methods

Samples were obtained during oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) from 44 normal pregnancies at weeks 14–16 and 30–32. Measures of fat mass were body mass index (BMI) and leptin while insulin sensitivity and secretion were predicted from OGTT. Leptin and RPB4 were measured by immunoassay.

Results

Insulin sensitivity decreased during the course of pregnancy. Insulin sensitivity and secretion were best explained by BMI and circulating leptin, but not RBP4, both in early and late pregnancy. However, a marked increase in fasting RBP4 from early to late pregnancy was observed, and this change was associated with a decline in insulin sensitivity. A marked increase in RBP4 was found during OGTT at weeks 14–16 with an opposite temporal course at weeks 30–32.

Conclusion

The increased fat mass and insulin resistance during normal pregnancy was best explained by measures of fat mass. However, the increase in RBP4 from early to late pregnancy, associated with a decline in insulin sensitivity, potentially indicates interactions with glucose metabolism.

Free access

T Ueland, S L Fougner, K Godang, T Schreiner and J Bollerslev

Objective: Acromegaly is characterized by a persistent hypersecretion of GH and provides information on long-term effects of GH on bone metabolism. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of gonadal status and disease activity on bone metabolism in active acromegaly.

Methods: Seventy-three consecutive patients with active acromegaly: 40 women and 33 men (50 ± 13 (mean ± s.d.) and 49 ± 10 years respectively) were evaluated and compared with age-, sex-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched controls by X-ray absorptiometry and biochemical analysis (markers of disease activity and bone turnover).

Results: We found that bone turnover, as evaluated by biochemical bone markers, is coupled and markedly increased in relation to disease activity in active acromegaly. Acromegalic women, but not men, were characterized by an increased bone area and slightly decreased bone mineral content resulting in significantly decreased bone mineral density (BMD) in the ultradistal radius, proximal radius, and total body. No differences in bone turnover or BMD were found between eu-and hypogonadal subjects. Multivariate analysis identified age, BMI, and gender as independent predictors of total BMD in acromegaly.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates a decreased total body BMD in women, not men, with active acromegaly, regardless of gonadal status or disease activity. Bone turnover is markedly increased in relation to disease activity, possibly counteracting the anabolic effects of excess GH/IGF-I in these subjects. We suggest more focus on biomechanical analyses when investigating endocrine disorders affecting bone size and distribution between compartments.

Open access

D Hofsø, T Jenssen, J Bollerslev, T Ueland, K Godang, M Stumvoll, R Sandbu, J Røislien and J Hjelmesæth

Objective

The effects of various weight loss strategies on pancreatic beta cell function remain unclear. We aimed to compare the effect of intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) on beta cell function.

Design

One year controlled clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00273104).

Methods

One hundred and nineteen morbidly obese participants without known diabetes from the MOBIL study (mean (s.d.) age 43.6 (10.8) years, body mass index (BMI) 45.5 (5.6) kg/m2, 84 women) were allocated to RYGB (n=64) or ILI (n=55). The patients underwent repeated oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) and were categorised as having either normal (NGT) or abnormal glucose tolerance (AGT). Twenty-nine normal-weight subjects with NGT (age 42.6 (8.7) years, BMI 22.6 (1.5) kg/m2, 19 women) served as controls. OGTT-based indices of beta cell function were calculated.

Results

One year weight reduction was 30 % (8) after RYGB and 9 % (10) after ILI (P<0.001). Disposition index (DI) increased in all treatment groups (all P<0.05), although more in the surgery groups (both P<0.001). Stimulated proinsulin-to-insulin (PI/I) ratio decreased in both surgery groups (both P<0.001), but to a greater extent in the surgery group with AGT at baseline (P<0.001). Post surgery, patients with NGT at baseline had higher DI and lower stimulated PI/I ratio than controls (both P<0.027).

Conclusions

Gastric bypass surgery improved beta cell function to a significantly greater extent than ILI. Supra-physiological insulin secretion and proinsulin processing may indicate excessive beta cell function after gastric bypass surgery.

Open access

D Hofsø, N Nordstrand, L K Johnson, T I Karlsen, H Hager, T Jenssen, J Bollerslev, K Godang, R Sandbu, J Røislien and J Hjelmesæth

Objective

Weight reduction improves several obesity-related health conditions. We aimed to compare the effect of bariatric surgery and comprehensive lifestyle intervention on type 2 diabetes and obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors.

Design

One-year controlled clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00273104).

Methods

Morbidly obese subjects (19–66 years, mean (s.d.) body mass index 45.1 kg/m2 (5.6), 103 women) were treated with either Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (n=80) or intensive lifestyle intervention at a rehabilitation centre (n=66). The dropout rate within both groups was 5%.

Results

Among the 76 completers in the surgery group and the 63 completers in the lifestyle group, mean (s.d.) 1-year weight loss was 30% (8) and 8% (9) respectively. Beneficial effects on glucose metabolism, blood pressure, lipids and low-grade inflammation were observed in both groups. Remission rates of type 2 diabetes and hypertension were significantly higher in the surgery group than the lifestyle intervention group; 70 vs 33%, P=0.027, and 49 vs 23%, P=0.016. The improvements in glycaemic control and blood pressure were mediated by weight reduction. The surgery group experienced a significantly greater reduction in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, albuminuria and electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy than the lifestyle group. Gastrointestinal symptoms and symptomatic postprandial hypoglycaemia developed more frequently after gastric bypass surgery than after lifestyle intervention. There were no deaths.

Conclusions

Type 2 diabetes and obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors were improved after both treatment strategies. However, the improvements were greatest in those patients treated with gastric bypass surgery.