Diagnosis of phaeochromocytoma is commonly performed by measurements of plasma free normetanephrine and metanephrine. Plasma deconjugated normetanephrine and metanephrine have been proposed as alternative equivalent, but easier to measure biomarkers.
The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic performances of plasma free versus deconjugated normetanephrine and metanephrine in patients tested for phaeochromocytoma.
The study population included a reference group of 262 normotensive and hypertensive volunteers, 198 patients with phaeochromocytoma and 528 patients initially suspected of having the tumour, but with negative investigations after at least 2 years of follow up. Measurements were performed using liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection.
Median plasma concentrations of free normetanephrine were 17-fold higher in patients with phaeochromocytoma than in the reference population, a 72% larger (p<0.001) difference than that for the 10-fold higher levels of plasma deconjugated normetanephrine. In contrast, relative increases of plasma concentrations of free and deconjugated metanephrine were similar. Using upper cut-offs established in the reference population, measurements of plasma free metabolites provided superior diagnostic performance than deconjugated metabolites according to measures of both sensitivity (97% vs 92%, p=0.002) and specificity (93 vs 89%, p=0.012). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the free metabolites was larger than that for the deconjugated metabolites (0.986 vs 0.965, p<0.001).
Measurements of plasma free normetanephrine and metanephrine are superior to the deconjugated metabolites for diagnosis of phaeochromocytoma.
Phaeochromocytoma; diagnostic tests; free metanephrines; deconjugated metanephrines; normetanephrine; metanephrine
Despite their compositional complexity, lipidomes comprise a large number of isobaric species that cannot be distinguished by conventional low resolution mass spectrometry and therefore in-depth MS/MS analysis was required for their accurate quantification. Here we argue that the progress in high resolution mass spectrometry is changing the concept of lipidome characterization. Because exact masses of isobaric species belonging to different lipid classes are not necessarily identical, they can now be distinguished and directly quantified in total lipid extracts. By streamlining and simplifying the molecular characterization of lipidomes, high resolution mass spectrometry has developed into a generic tool for cell biology and molecular medicine.
High-resolution mass spectrometry streamlines the shotgun analysis of total lipid extracts. It can distinguish and quantify isobaric lipid species and has potential to become the “gold standard” lipidomics methodology.
Orthotopic cell transplantation models are important for a complete understanding of cell-cell interactions as well as tumor biology. In published studies of orthotopic transplantation in the mouse adrenal gland, human neuroblastoma cells have been shown to invade and occupy the adrenal, but in these investigations a true orthotopic model was not established. Here we show an orthotopic model in which transplanted cells are retained within the adrenal gland by formation of a fibrin clot. To establish an appropriate technique, we used brightly fluorescent 10 µm polystyrene microspheres injected into the mouse adrenal gland. In the absence of fibrinogen/thrombin for clot formation, much of the injected material was extruded to the outside of the gland. When the microspheres were injected in a fibrinogen/thrombin mixture, fluorescence was confined to the adrenal gland. As a model neoplastic cell originating from the cortex of the gland, we used a tumorigenic bovine adrenocortical cell line. When 3×105 cells were implanted orthotopically, by 16 days the cell mass had expanded and had invaded the cortex, whereas when 1×105 cells were used, tumor masses were much smaller. We therefore subsequently used 3×105 cells. When mice were sacrificed at different time-points, we found that tumor growth resulting was progressive and that by 26 days cells there was extensive invasion into the cortex or almost complete replacement of the cortex with tumor cells. As a model neoplastic cell of neural crest origin, we used SK-N-AS human neuroblastoma cells. Orthotopic transplantation of 3×105 cells resulted in extensive invasion and destruction of the gland by 26 days. In summary, the present orthotopic model for intra-adrenal cell transplantation is valuable for investigation of growth of neoplastic cells of both cortical and medullary origin and should be useful for future studies of cortex-medulla interactions.
Adrenal gland; orthotopic; cortex; medulla; tumor; neuroblastoma
There are currently no reliable biomarkers for malignant pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs). This study examined whether measurements of catecholamines and their metabolites might offer utility for this purpose.
Subjects included 365 patients with PPGLs, including 105 with metastases, and a reference population of 846 without the tumor. Eighteen catecholamine-related analytes were examined in relation to tumor location, size and mutations of succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB).
Receiver-operating characteristic curves indicated that plasma methoxytyramine, the O-methylated metabolite of dopamine, provided the most accurate biomarker for discriminating patients with and without metastases. Plasma methoxytyramine was 4.7-fold higher in patients with than without metastases, a difference independent of tumor burden and the associated 1.6- to 1.8-fold higher concentrations of norepinephrine and normetanephrine. Increased plasma methoxytyramine was associated with SDHB mutations and extra-adrenal disease, but was also present in patients without SDHB mutations and metastases or those with metastases secondary to adrenal tumors. High risk of malignancy associated with SDHB mutations reflected large size and extra-adrenal locations of tumors, both independent predictors of metastatic disease. A plasma methoxytyramine above 0.2 nmol/L or a tumor diameter above 5 cm indicated increased likelihood of metastatic spread, particularly when associated with an extra-adrenal location.
Plasma methoxytyramine is a novel biomarker for metastatic PPGLs that together with SDHB mutation status, tumor size and location provide useful information to assess the likelihood of malignancy and manage affected patients.
pheochromocytoma; paraganglioma; metastases; methoxytyramine; dopamine; metanephrines; catecholamines; succinate dehydrogenase type B
Phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are highly heterogeneous tumours with variable catecholamine biochemical phenotypes and diverse hereditary backgrounds. This analysis of 18 catecholamine-related plasma and urinary biomarkers in 365 patients with and 846 subjects without PPGLs examined how catecholamine metabolomic profiles are impacted by hereditary background and relate to variable hormone secretion. Catecholamine secretion was assessed in a subgroup of 156 patients from whom tumour tissue was available for measurements of catecholamine contents. Among all analytes, the free catecholamine O-methylated metabolites measured in plasma showed the largest tumour-related increases relative to the reference group. Patients with tumours due to multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 and neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) showed similar catecholamine metabolite and secretory profiles to patients with adrenaline-producing tumours and no evident hereditary background. Tumours from these three groups of patients contained higher contents of catecholamines, but secreted the hormones at lower rates compared to tumours that did not produce appreciable adrenaline, the latter including PPGLs due to von Hippel-Lindau and succinate dehydrogenase gene mutations. Large increases of plasma dopamine and its metabolites additionally characterized patients with PPGLs due to the latter mutations, whereas patients with NF1 were characterized by large increases in plasma dihydroxyphenylglycol and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, the deaminated metabolites of noradrenaline and dopamine. This analysis establishes the utility of comprehensive catecholamine metabolite profiling for characterizing the distinct and highly diverse catecholamine metabolomic and secretory signatures among different groups of patients with PPGLs. The data further suggest developmental origins of PPGLs from different populations of chromaffin cell progenitors.
phaeochromocytoma; paraganglioma; noradrenaline; adrenaline; dopamine; normetanephrine; metanephrine; methoxytyramine; von Hippel-Lindau syndrome; neurofibromatosis type 1; multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2; succinate dehydrogenase
We identify two distinct Hh secretion forms with complementary signaling activities produced in both mammals and flies: one sterol-modified and lipoprotein-associated, and another lacking sterol modification.
Hedgehog (Hh) proteins control animal development and tissue homeostasis. They activate gene expression by regulating processing, stability, and activation of Gli/Cubitus interruptus (Ci) transcription factors. Hh proteins are secreted and spread through tissue, despite becoming covalently linked to sterol during processing. Multiple mechanisms have been proposed to release Hh proteins in distinct forms; in Drosophila, lipoproteins facilitate long-range Hh mobilization but also contain lipids that repress the pathway. Here, we show that mammalian lipoproteins have conserved roles in Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) release and pathway repression. We demonstrate that lipoprotein-associated forms of Hh and Shh specifically block lipoprotein-mediated pathway inhibition. We also identify a second conserved release form that is not sterol-modified and can be released independently of lipoproteins (Hh-N*/Shh-N*). Lipoprotein-associated Hh/Shh and Hh-N*/Shh-N* have complementary and synergistic functions. In Drosophila wing imaginal discs, lipoprotein-associated Hh increases the amount of full-length Ci, but is insufficient for target gene activation. However, small amounts of non-sterol-modified Hh synergize with lipoprotein-associated Hh to fully activate the pathway and allow target gene expression. The existence of Hh secretion forms with distinct signaling activities suggests a novel mechanism for generating a diversity of Hh responses.
Hedgehog (Hh) proteins are conserved secreted signaling molecules that regulate embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis. Ectopic Hh signaling promotes tumorigenesis, and secretion of mammalian Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) by many tumors supports their growth and survival. As Hh proteins are covalently modified by sterol and palmitate, specific mechanisms are required to release them from cell membranes. Here, we show that different fly and mammalian cell types, including Shh-dependent cancer cells, release lipid-modified Hh/Shh on lipoproteins—the major lipid carriers in circulation. Perturbed lipoprotein metabolism is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome, which is associated with many tissue pathologies and an elevated cancer risk. We show that Drosophila and mammalian lipoproteins act positively to mobilize lipid-modified Hh proteins, but also contain lipids that repress the pathway when Hh/Shh is absent. Association of Hh/Shh with lipoproteins neutralizes their inhibitory effect in both organisms. We also find that many cells release a second form of Hh/Shh independently of lipoproteins that lacks sterol modification. This form cannot overcome lipoprotein-mediated repression but further activates the pathway in the presence of lipoprotein-associated Hh/Shh. The existence of multiple release forms with different activities suggests novel conserved mechanisms for generating diverse responses to Hh ligands. Our data also suggest that perturbed Hh signaling could contribute to human pathologies associated with lipoprotein dysfunction.
Pheochromocytomas are rare catecholamine–producing tumors derived in at least 30% of cases from mutations in 9 tumor-susceptibility genes identified to date. Testing of multiple genes at considerable expense is often undertaken before a mutation is detected. This study assessed whether measurements of plasma metanephrine, normetanephrine and methoxytyramine, the O-methylated metabolites of catecholamines, might help distinguish different hereditary forms of the tumor.
Plasma concentrations of O-methylated metabolites were measured by liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection in 173 patients with pheochromocytoma, including 38 with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2), 10 with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), 66 with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome and 59 with mutations of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) type B or D genes.
In contrast to patients with VHL and SDH mutations, all patients with MEN 2 and NF1 presented with tumors characterized by increased plasma concentrations of metanephrine (indicating epinephrine production). VHL patients usually showed solitary increases in normetanephrine (indicating norepinephrine production), whereas additional or solitary increases in methoxytyramine (indicating dopamine production) characterized 70% of patients with SDH mutations. Patients with NF1 and MEN 2 could be discriminated from those with VHL and SDH mutations in 99% of cases by the combination of normetanephrine and metanephrine. Measurements of plasma methoxytyramine discriminated patients with SDH mutations from those with VHL mutations in a further 78% of cases.
The distinct patterns of plasma catecholamine O-methylated metabolites in patients with hereditary pheochromocytoma provide an easily utilized tool to guide cost-effective genotyping of underlying disease-causing mutations.
pheochromocytoma; paraganglioma; norepinephrine; epinephrine; dopamine; normetanephrine; metanephrine; methoxytyramine; von Hippel-Lindau syndrome; neurofibromatosis type 1; multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2; succinate dehydrogenase
Pheochromocytomas are rare endocrine tumors that can present insidiously and remain undiagnosed until death or onset of clear manifestations of catecholamine excess. They are often referred to as one of the ‘great mimics’ in medicine. These tumors can no longer be regarded as a uniform disease entity, but rather as a highly heterogeneous group of chromaffin cell neoplasms with different ages of onset, secretory profiles, locations, and potential for malignancy according to underlying genetic mutations. These aspects all have to be considered when the tumor is encountered, thereby enabling optimal management for the patient. Referral to a center of specialized expertise for the disease should be considered wherever possible. This is not only important for surgical management of patients, but also for post-surgical follow up and screening of disease in patients with a hereditary predisposition to the tumor. While preoperative management has changed little over the last 20 years, surgical procedures have evolved so that laparoscopic resection is the standard of care and partial adrenalectomy should be considered in all patients with a hereditary condition. Follow-up testing is essential and should be recommended and ensured on a yearly basis. Managing such patients must now also take into account possible underlying mutations and the appropriate selection of genes for testing according to disease presentation. Patients and family members with identified mutations then require an individualized approach to management. This includes consideration of distinct patterns of biochemical test results during screening and the appropriate choice of imaging studies for tumor localization according to the mutation and associated differences in predisposition to adrenal, extra-adrenal and metastatic disease.
pheochromocytoma; paraganglioma; management; clinical presentation; diagnosis; treatment; follow up; genetic testing
LipidXplorer is the open source software that supports the quantitative characterization of complex lipidomes by interpreting large datasets of shotgun mass spectra. LipidXplorer processes spectra acquired on any type of tandem mass spectrometers; it identifies and quantifies molecular species of any ionizable lipid class by considering any known or assumed molecular fragmentation pathway independently of any resource of reference mass spectra. It also supports any shotgun profiling routine, from high throughput top-down screening for molecular diagnostic and biomarker discovery to the targeted absolute quantification of low abundant lipid species. Full documentation on installation and operation of LipidXplorer, including tutorial, collection of spectra interpretation scripts, FAQ and user forum are available through the wiki site at: https://wiki.mpi-cbg.de/wiki/lipidx/index.php/Main_Page.
Shotgun lipidome profiling relies on direct mass spectrometric analysis of total lipid extracts from cells, tissues or organisms and is a powerful tool to elucidate the molecular composition of lipidomes. We present a novel informatics concept of the molecular fragmentation query language implemented within the LipidXplorer open source software kit that supports accurate quantification of individual species of any ionizable lipid class in shotgun spectra acquired on any mass spectrometry platform.
Adenomas and nodules of the human adrenal cortex are common, whereas adrenocortical carcinomas are rare. Genes such as IGF2 have been suggested to be important in human adrenocortical tumorigenesis but their role has not been directly investigated. We describe here elements of a system in which hypotheses concerning the molecular basis for the formation of benign and malignant adrenocortical lesions can be experimentally tested. Various viral vectors have been employed in the study of adrenocortical cell biology. Because of the low proliferative rate of primary human adrenocortical (pHAC) cells, a lentiviral system is ideal for transducing these cells with genes that may alter their characteristics or cause them to acquire benign or malignant tumorigenicity. Cultures of pHAC cells were highly infectible with lentiviruses and showed a higher proliferative potential when transduced with a lentivirus encoding IGF2. For tumorigenesis studies of genetically modified adrenocortical cells, we use RAG2-/-, γc-/- mice. Using this immunodeficient mouse model, we established an orthotopic intra-adrenal cell transplantation technique for adrenocortical cells that should be be of value for future studies of the experimental conversion of human adrenocortical cells to a benign or malignant tumorigenic state.
adrenal tumorigenesis; viral systems; immunodeficient mice; orthotopic cell transplantation
Dyslipoproteinemia, obesity and insulin resistance are integrative constituents of the metabolic syndrome and are major risk factors for hypertension. The objective of this study was to determine whether hypertension specifically affects the plasma lipidome independently and differently from the effects induced by obesity and insulin resistance.
We screened the plasma lipidome of 19 men with hypertension and 51 normotensive male controls by top-down shotgun profiling on a LTQ Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer. The analysis encompassed 95 lipid species of 10 major lipid classes. Obesity resulted in generally higher lipid load in blood plasma, while the content of tri- and diacylglycerols increased dramatically. Insulin resistance, defined by HOMA-IR >3.5 and controlled for BMI, had little effect on the plasma lipidome. Importantly, we observed that in blood plasma of hypertensive individuals the overall content of ether lipids decreased. Ether phosphatidylcholines and ether phosphatidylethanolamines, that comprise arachidonic (20∶4) and docosapentaenoic (22∶5) fatty acid moieties, were specifically diminished. The content of free cholesterol also decreased, although conventional clinical lipid homeostasis indices remained unaffected.
Top-down shotgun lipidomics demonstrated that hypertension is accompanied by specific reduction of the content of ether lipids and free cholesterol that occurred independently of lipidomic alterations induced by obesity and insulin resistance. These results may form the basis for novel preventive and dietary strategies alleviating the severity of hypertension.
Obesity, the excess accumulation of adipose tissue, is one of the most pressing health problems in both the Western world and in developing countries. Adipose tissue growth results from two processes: the increase in number of adipocytes (hyperplasia) that develop from precursor cells, and the growth of individual fat cells (hypertrophy) due to incorporation of triglycerides. Adipogenesis, the process of fat cell development, has been extensively studied using various cell and animal models. While these studies pointed out a number of key factors involved in adipogenesis, the list of molecular components is far from complete.
The advance of high-throughput technologies has sparked many experimental studies aimed at the identification of novel molecular components regulating adipogenesis. This paper examines the results of recent studies on adipogenesis using high-throughput technologies. Specifically, it provides an overview of studies employing microarrays for gene expression profiling and studies using gel based and non-gel based proteomics as well as a chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by microarray analysis (ChIP-chip) or sequencing (ChIP-seq). Due to the maturity of the technology, the bulk of the available data was generated using microarrays. Therefore these data sets were not only reviewed but also underwent meta analysis.
The review also shows that large-scale omics technologies in conjunction with sophisticated bioinformatics analyses can provide not only a list of novel players, but also a global view on biological processes and molecular networks. Finally, developing technologies and computational challenges associated with the data analyses are highlighted, and an outlook on the questions not previously addressed is provided.
Adipogenesis; obesity; gene-expression profiling; proteomics; genome-wide location analysis; data integration.
Stem cell – based therapies for central nervous system disorders are intensely pursued. Such approaches can be divided into two categories: Transplantation-based, and those that aim to pharmacologically target the endogenous stem cell population in the tissue. Endogenous stem cell – based strategies avoid the problem of immune incompatibility between the host and the grafted cells. They also avoid the placement of a large amount of cells in confined areas, a manipulation which alters the characteristics of the neurovascular microenvironment. We show here that massive pharmacological activation (increase in cell numbers) of the endogenous neural stem cell population in the adult rodent brain maintains the cytoarchitecture of the neurovascular niche. Distances between adjacent stem cells (identified by expression of Hes3) are maintained above a minimum. Hes3+ cells maintain their physical association with blood vessels. These results also suggest a mechanism by which the activation signal from the lateral ventricle can be propagated to areas a long distance away from the lateral ventricles, through autocrine/paracrine actions between adjacent Hes3+ cells, along blood vessels. Finally, powerful effects of angiopoietin 2 on Hes3+ cells help explain the prevalence of proliferating endogenous neural stem cells close to the subventricular zone (an area of high angiopoietin 2 concentration) and the quiescent state of stem cells away from the ventricles and their tight physical association with blood vessels (which express high levels of angiopoietin 1, a cytokine that opposes angiopoietin 2 functions).
Endogenous; neural stem cells; brain; degenerative disease.
Developing a device that protects xenogeneic islets to allow treatment and potentially cure of diabetes in large mammals has been a major challenge in the past decade. Using xenogeneic islets for transplantation is required in light of donor shortage and the large number of diabetic patients that qualify for islet transplantation. Until now, however, host immunoreactivity against the xenogeneic graft has been a major drawback for the use of porcine islets. Our study demonstrates the applicability of a novel immunoprotective membrane that allows successful xenotransplantation of rat islets in diabetic minipigs without immunosuppressive therapy. Rat pancreatic islets were encapsulated in highly purified alginate and integrated into a plastic macrochamber covered by a poly-membrane for subcutaneous transplantation. Diabetic Sinclair pigs were transplanted and followed for up to 90 days. We demonstrated a persistent graft function and restoration of normoglycemia without the need for immunosuppressive therapy. This concept could potentially offer an attractive strategy for a more widespread islet replacement therapy that would restore endogenous insulin secretion in diabetic patients without the need for immunosuppressive drugs and may even open up an avenue for safe utilization of xenogeneic islet donors.
Gene–lifestyle interactions have been suggested to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Glucose levels 2 h after a standard 75-g glucose challenge are used to diagnose diabetes and are associated with both genetic and lifestyle factors. However, whether these factors interact to determine 2-h glucose levels is unknown. We meta-analyzed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) × BMI and SNP × physical activity (PA) interaction regression models for five SNPs previously associated with 2-h glucose levels from up to 22 studies comprising 54,884 individuals without diabetes. PA levels were dichotomized, with individuals below the first quintile classified as inactive (20%) and the remainder as active (80%). BMI was considered a continuous trait. Inactive individuals had higher 2-h glucose levels than active individuals (β = 0.22 mmol/L [95% CI 0.13–0.31], P = 1.63 × 10−6). All SNPs were associated with 2-h glucose (β = 0.06–0.12 mmol/allele, P ≤ 1.53 × 10−7), but no significant interactions were found with PA (P > 0.18) or BMI (P ≥ 0.04). In this large study of gene–lifestyle interaction, we observed no interactions between genetic and lifestyle factors, both of which were associated with 2-h glucose. It is perhaps unlikely that top loci from genome-wide association studies will exhibit strong subgroup-specific effects, and may not, therefore, make the best candidates for the study of interactions.
The adult hippocampus is involved in learning and memory. As a consequence, it is a brain region of remarkable plasticity. This plasticity exhibits itself both as cellular changes and neurogenesis. For neurogenesis to occur, a population of local stem cells and progenitor cells is maintained in the adult brain and these are able to proliferate and differentiate into neurons which contribute to the hippocampal circuitry. There is much interest in understanding the role of immature cells in the hippocampus, in relation to learning and memory. Methods and mechanisms that increase the numbers of these cells will be valuable in this research field. We show here that single injections of soluble factors into the lateral ventricle of adult rats and mice induces the rapid (within one week) increase in the number of putative stem cells/progenitor cells in the hippocampus. The established progenitor marker Sox2 together with the more recently established marker Hes3, were used to quantify the manipulation of the Sox2/Hes3 double-positive cell population. We report that in both adult rodent species, Sox2+/Hes3+ cell numbers can be increased within one week. The most prominent increase was observed in the hilus of the dentate gyrus. This study presents a fast, pharmacological method to manipulate the numbers of endogenous putative stem cells/progenitor cells. This method may be easily modified to alter the degree of activation (e.g. by the use of osmotic pumps for delivery, or by repeat injections through implanted cannulas), in order to be best adapted to different paradigms of research (neurodegenerative disease, neuroprotection, learning, memory, plasticity, etc).
Although many molecular regulators of adipogenesis have been identified a comprehensive catalogue of components is still missing. Recent studies showed that the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) was expressed in the cell cycle and late cellular differentiation phase during adipogenesis. To investigate this dual role of pRb in the early and late stages of adipogenesis we used microarrays to perform a comprehensive systems-level analysis of the common transcriptional program of the classic 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cell line, wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), and retinoblastoma gene-deficient MEFs (Rb-/- MEFs).
Comparative analysis of the expression profiles of 3T3-L1 cells and wild-type MEFs revealed genes involved specifically in early regulation of the adipocyte differentiation as well as secreted factors and signaling molecules regulating the later phase of differentiation. In an attempt to identify transcription factors regulating adipogenesis, bioinformatics analysis of the promoters of coordinately and highly expressed genes was performed. We were able to identify a number of high-confidence target genes for follow-up experimental studies. Additionally, combination of experimental data and computational analyses pinpointed a feedback-loop between Pparg and Foxo1.
To analyze the effects of the retinoblastoma protein at the transcriptional level we chose a perturbated system (Rb-/- MEFs) for comparison to the transcriptional program of wild-type MEFs. Gene ontology analysis of 64 deregulated genes showed that the Rb-/- MEF model exhibits a brown(-like) adipocyte phenotype. Additionally, the analysis results indicate a different or additional role for pRb family member involvement in the lineage commitment.
In this study a number of commonly modulated genes during adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells and MEFs, potential transcriptional regulation mechanisms, and differentially regulated targets during adipocyte differentiation of Rb-/- MEFs could be identified. These data and the analysis provide a starting point for further experimental studies to identify target genes for pharmacological intervention and ultimately remodeling of white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue.
Recent genome-wide association studies have revealed loci associated with glucose and insulin-related traits. We aimed to characterize 19 such loci using detailed measures of insulin processing, secretion, and sensitivity to help elucidate their role in regulation of glucose control, insulin secretion and/or action.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We investigated associations of loci identified by the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related traits Consortium (MAGIC) with circulating proinsulin, measures of insulin secretion and sensitivity from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs), euglycemic clamps, insulin suppression tests, or frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests in nondiabetic humans (n = 29,084).
The glucose-raising allele in MADD was associated with abnormal insulin processing (a dramatic effect on higher proinsulin levels, but no association with insulinogenic index) at extremely persuasive levels of statistical significance (P = 2.1 × 10−71). Defects in insulin processing and insulin secretion were seen in glucose-raising allele carriers at TCF7L2, SCL30A8, GIPR, and C2CD4B. Abnormalities in early insulin secretion were suggested in glucose-raising allele carriers at MTNR1B, GCK, FADS1, DGKB, and PROX1 (lower insulinogenic index; no association with proinsulin or insulin sensitivity). Two loci previously associated with fasting insulin (GCKR and IGF1) were associated with OGTT-derived insulin sensitivity indices in a consistent direction.
Genetic loci identified through their effect on hyperglycemia and/or hyperinsulinemia demonstrate considerable heterogeneity in associations with measures of insulin processing, secretion, and sensitivity. Our findings emphasize the importance of detailed physiological characterization of such loci for improved understanding of pathways associated with alterations in glucose homeostasis and eventually type 2 diabetes.
Systemic inflammation (for example, following surgery) involves Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling and leads to an endocrine stress response. This study aims to investigate a possible influence of TLR2 and TLR4 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on perioperative adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol regulation in serum of cardiac surgical patients. To investigate the link to systemic inflammation in this context, we additionally measured 10 different cytokines in the serum.
A total of 338 patients admitted for elective cardiac surgery were included in this prospective observational clinical cohort study. Genomic DNA of patients was screened for TLR2 and TLR4 SNPs. Serum concentrations of ACTH, cortisol, interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were determined before surgery, immediately post surgery and on the first postoperative day.
Thirteen patients were identified as TLR2 SNP carriers, 51 as TLR4 SNP carriers and 274 patients as non-carriers. Basal levels of ACTH, cortisol and cytokines did not differ among groups. In all three groups a significant, transient perioperative rise of cortisol could be observed. However, only in the non-carrier group this was accompanied by a significant ACTH rise. TLR4 SNP carriers had significant lower ACTH levels compared to non-carriers (mean (95% confidence intervals)) non-carriers: 201.9 (187.7 to 216.1) pg/ml; TLR4 SNP carriers: 149.9 (118.4 to 181.5) pg/ml; TLR2 SNP carriers: 176.4 ((110.5 to 242.3) pg/ml). Compared to non-carriers, TLR4 SNP carriers showed significant lower serum IL-8, IL-10 and GM-CSF peaks (mean (95% confidence intervals)): IL-8: non-carriers: 42.6 (36.7 to 48.5) pg/ml, TLR4 SNP carriers: 23.7 (10.7 to 36.8) pg/ml; IL-10: non-carriers: 83.8 (70.3 to 97.4) pg/ml, TLR4 SNP carriers: 54.2 (24.1 to 84.2) pg/ml; GM-CSF: non-carriers: 33.0 (27.8 to 38.3) pg/ml, TLR4 SNP carriers: 20.2 (8.6 to 31.8) pg/ml). No significant changes over time or between the groups were found for the other cytokines.
Regulation of the immunoendocrine stress response during systemic inflammation is influenced by the presence of a TLR4 SNP. Cardiac surgical patients carrying this genotype showed decreased serum concentrations of ACTH, IL-8, IL-10 and GM-CSF. This finding might have impact on interpreting previous and designing future trials on diagnosing and modulating immunoendocrine dysregulation (for example, adrenal insufficiency) during systemic inflammation and sepsis.
Patients regard health care professionals as role models for leading a healthy lifestyle. Health care professionals' own behaviour and attitudes concerning healthy lifestyle have an influence in counselling patients. The aim of this study was to assess consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and illegal substances among physicians and medical students in two German states: Brandenburg and Saxony.
Socio-demographic data and individual risk behaviour was collected by an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. Physicians were approached via mail and students were recruited during tutorials or lectures.
41.6% of physicians and 60.9% of medical students responded to the questionnaire; more than 50% of the respondents in both groups were females. The majority of respondents consumed alcohol at least once per week; median daily alcohol consumption ranged from 3.88 g/d (female medical students) to 12.6 g/d (male physicians). A significantly higher percentage of men (p < 0.05) reported hazardous or harmful drinking compared to women. A quarter of all participating physicians and one third of all students indicated unhealthy alcohol-drinking behaviour. The majority of physicians (85.7%) and medical students (78.5%) were non-smokers. Both groups contained significantly more female non-smokers (p < 0.05). Use of illegal substances was considerably lower in physicians (5.1%) than medical students (33.0%). Male students indicated a significantly (p < 0.001) higher level of illegal drug-use compared to female students.
More than one third of the medical students and health care professionals showed problematic alcohol-drinking behaviour. Although the proportion of non-smokers in the investigated sample was higher than in the general population, when compared to the general population, medical students between 18-24 reported higher consumption of illegal substances.
These results indicate that methods for educating and promoting healthy lifestyle, particularly with respect to excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use and abuse of illegal drugs should be considered.
Epidemiological studies consistently show that circulating sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels are lower in type 2 diabetes patients than non-diabetic individuals, but the causal nature of this association is controversial. Genetic studies can help dissect causal directions of epidemiological associations because genotypes are much less likely to be confounded, biased or influenced by disease processes. Using this Mendelian randomization principle, we selected a common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) near the SHBG gene, rs1799941, that is strongly associated with SHBG levels. We used data from this SNP, or closely correlated SNPs, in 27 657 type 2 diabetes patients and 58 481 controls from 15 studies. We then used data from additional studies to estimate the difference in SHBG levels between type 2 diabetes patients and controls. The SHBG SNP rs1799941 was associated with type 2 diabetes [odds ratio (OR) 0.94, 95% CI: 0.91, 0.97; P = 2 × 10−5], with the SHBG raising allele associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This effect was very similar to that expected (OR 0.92, 95% CI: 0.88, 0.96), given the SHBG-SNP versus SHBG levels association (SHBG levels are 0.2 standard deviations higher per copy of the A allele) and the SHBG levels versus type 2 diabetes association (SHBG levels are 0.23 standard deviations lower in type 2 diabetic patients compared to controls). Results were very similar in men and women. There was no evidence that this variant is associated with diabetes-related intermediate traits, including several measures of insulin secretion and resistance. Our results, together with those from another recent genetic study, strengthen evidence that SHBG and sex hormones are involved in the aetiology of type 2 diabetes.