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Raquel Barrio

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a recessive genetic disease caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). CFTR is primarily present in epithelial cells of the airways, intestine and in cells with exocrine and endocrine functions. Mutations in the gene encoding the channel protein complex (CFTR) cause alterations in the ionic composition of secretions from the lung, gastrointestinal tract, liver, and also the pancreas. CF-related diabetes (CFRD), the most common complication of CF, has a major detrimental impact on pulmonary function, nutrition and survival. Glucose derangements in CF seem to start from early infancy and, even when the pathophysiology is multifactorial, insulin insufficiency is clearly a major component. Consistently, recent evidence has confirmed that CFTR is an important regulator of insulin secretion by islet β-cells. In addition, several other mechanisms were also recognized from cellular and animals models also contributing to either β-cell mass reduction or β-cell malfunction. Understanding such mechanisms is crucial for the development of the so-called ‘transformational’ therapies in CF, including the preservation of insulin secretion. Innovative therapeutic approaches aim to modify specific CFTR mutant proteins or positively modulate their function. CFTR modulators have recently shown in vitro capacity to enhance insulin secretion and thereby potential clinical utility in CFDR, including synergistic effects between corrector and potentiator drugs. The introduction of incretins and the optimization of exocrine pancreatic replacement complete the number of therapeutic options of CFRD besides early diagnosis and implementation of insulin therapy. This review focuses on the recently identified pathogenic mechanisms leading to CFRD relevant for the development of novel pharmacological avenues in CFRD therapy.

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Marta López-Capapé, Milagros Alonso, Esmeralda Colino, Carmen Mustieles, José Corbatón and Raquel Barrio

Objective: Obesity is associated with insulin-resistance (IR), type 2 diabetes (T2D) and a constellation of cardiovascular risk factors at the early years of life. These features define the so-called metabolic syndrome (MS).

Aims: To assess the frequency of the MS among obese pediatric Spanish population and analyse the individual contribution and the predictive potential of individual components to the development of the syndrome.

Patients and methods: A total of 429 patients, 220 boys and 209 girls, aged 4–18 years, with a body mass index of > 2 standard deviation scores for Spanish normative charts, were included in the study. Forty-seven percent were prepubertal and ten percent had Hispanic ethnicity. HbA1c, lipids, liver enzymes and uric acid levels were determined from blood and a standard 2-h oral glucose tolerance test was performed. MS was defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III criteria modified by Cook as having at least three features among: obesity, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension (HTA) or impaired glucose metabolism (IGM). We defined IR as homeostatic model assessment of IR index and/or fasting insulin levels> 95th centile of the control population.

Results: Almost 18% of the patients had MS, with significantly higher frequency in Hispanic (32%) than in Caucasian (16%) population. There were no differences by sex or pubertal status. Prevalence of low HDL, HTA, hypertriglyceridemia and IGM were 27, 23, 16 and 7% respectively. No silent T2D was identified. According to International Obesity Task Force charts, 22% of the patients were overweight and not obese, but no differences in the frequency of individual features of MS between these two groups were observed. Among IR patients (35% of our population), the frequency of MS reached 28%. IR predicted the presence of MS independently from age and race.

Conclusion: MS is present in 18% of our obese pediatric population. IR is closely associated with the components of MS and strongly predicts its development.

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Santiago Tofé, José C Moreno, Luis Máiz, Milagros Alonso, Héctor Escobar and Raquel Barrio

Objective: To evaluate insulin-secretion kinetics and insulin sensitivity in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with normal glucose tolerance (CF-NGT), impaired glucose tolerance (CF-IGT) or CF-related diabetes (CFRD), and the potential effects of moderate hyperglycemia on clinical and nutritional status.

Design and methods: Cross-sectional study including 50 outpatients with CF. Patients underwent both oral (OGGT) and intravenous (IVGTT) glucose tolerance tests in order to assess insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity. Homeostasis assessment model and OGGT were used to investigate insulin sensitivity. Forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were measured to evaluate pulmonary function. Body mass index (BMI) was determined to assess nutritional status.

Results: Insulin secretion was significantly decreased (and delayed at OGTT) in the CFRD group (n = 9) versus the CF-IGT group (n = 10) and the CF-IGT versus the CF-NGT group (n = 31). Insulin sensitivity was significantly different in the CF-IGT and CFRD groups versus the CF-NGT group. FEV1, FVC and BMI presented a significant linear correlation with plasma glucose value at 120 min at OGTT and were significantly lower in both CF-IGT and CFRD versus the CF-NGT group, whereas no differences were found between the CF-IGT and CFRD groups.

Conclusions: CF patients with IGT present diminished insulin secretion and increased peripheral insulin resistance, correlating with a worse clinical status, undernutrition and impaired pulmonary function. These findings open the question of whether early treatment of mild alterations of glucose metabolism with insulin secretagogues or short-action insulin may lead to improvement of clinical status in CF patients.