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1.  Diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism: Strange bedfellows or mutual companions? 
World Journal of Diabetes  2014;5(6):901-904.
Clinicians should be cognizant of the close relationship that exists between two of the most common endocrine disorders, primary hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus. This applies to patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T1DM and T2DM respectively). However, the association is greater in T1DM, probably because of the shared autoimmune predisposition. In patients with T2DM, the relationship is somewhat weaker and the explanation less clear-cut. Factors such as dietary iodine deficiency, metformin-induced thyroid stimulating hormone suppression and poor glycemic control may all be implicated. Further translational research is required for greater clarification. Biochemical screening for abnormal thyroid function in individuals who have diabetes is warranted, particularly in females with T1DM, and therapy with L-thyroxine appropriately instituted if hypothyroidism is confirmed.
PMCID: PMC4265878  PMID: 25512794
Type 1 diabetes; Type 2 diabetes; Primary hypothyroidism; Autoimmune disorders; Thyroid screening; Thyroid treatment
2.  The Waist Circumference of Risk in Black South African Men Is Lower Than in Men of European Ancestry 
Central obesity measured by waist circumference is a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor; however, the waist circumference of risk in populations of African descent has not been identified. The International Diabetes Federation currently suggests that cutoffs established in men of European descent be applied to sub-Saharan men—a waist circumference ≥94 cm.
Subjects and Methods
Participants were 203 South African black men with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). They were divided into quartiles of waist circumference (>88 cm, 88–94 cm, 95–103 cm, >103 cm). Cardiovascular risk factors, including insulin resistance (IR), measured by modified homeostasis model assessement of IR (HOMA-IR), and the triglycerides-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TG-to-HDL-C) ratio, were compared across quartiles.
Age, duration of diabetes, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), blood pressure, urinary albumin excretion, and smoking were similar across waist circumference quartiles. Overall, for both lipids and measures of IR, there was variation across waist circumference quartiles, but no significant differences between quartiles 2 and 3. Therefore, data from these two quartiles were pooled. Between the first and second+third (88–103 cm) quartiles, there were significant differences in HDL-C (1.30±0.43, 1.10±0.43 mmol/L, P=0.003), TG (medians 1.10, 1.60 mmol/L P<0.001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C; 2.40±0.93, 2.85±1.03 mmol/L, P=0.01), non-HDL-C (3.05±1.18, 3.70±1.16 mmol/L, P=0.002), HOMA-IR (medians 0.90, 2.10, P<0.001), and TG-to-HDL-C ratio (medians 0.89, 1.17, P<0.001). Additional comparisons were made between men with waist circumference <90 cm and 90–93 cm. Values for each lipid and for IR parameters were more favorable in the <90-cm group (all P<0.05).
For black South African diabetic men, CVD risk substantially increased with waist circumference >90 cm. The waist circumference cut point of >94 cm has the potential to misclassify many black South African diabetic men at risk for CVD.
PMCID: PMC3225062  PMID: 21875336
3.  Aminotransferases are associated with insulin resistance and atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis 
Serum aminotransferase concentrations are reportedly strongly associated with insulin resistance, an established cardiovascular risk factor that is not routinely assessed in clinical practice. We therefore explored the possibility that serum aminotransferase concentrations are as closely related to large artery disease as insulin resistance in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Carotid artery plaque (ultrasonography), insulin resistance and liver enzymes (prior to methotrexate (MTX) were determined in 77 consecutive patients with RA (43 with and 34 without MTX).
Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were associated with insulin resistance in univariate analysis (R = 0.54, p < 0.0001 and R = 0.36, p = 0.001, respectively) and after adjustment for age, gender and waist circumference (partial R = 0.43, p = 0.0001 and partial R = 0.37, p = 0.001, respectively). ALT and AST concentrations were higher in patients with plaque as compared to in those without plaque (ALT (u/l): 27 [22-32] versus 20 [18-23], p = 0.02; AST (u/l): 25 [21-28] versus 20 [19-22], p = 0.02). The odds ratios [95% CI] for plaque were 1.92 [1.14–3.24] (p = 0.01), 1.93 [1.17–3.16] (p = 0.009) and 1.82 [1.13–2.93] (p = 0.01) for 1 SD increase in ALT (~10 u/l) and AST (~6 u/l) concentrations and in logarithmically transformed homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (~0.2 uU.mmol/ml.l), respectively. After adjustment for the potentially confounding characteristics of age, sex, hypertension and hypothyroidism in logistic regression models, ALT (p = 0.049) and AST concentrations (p = 0.027) remained associated with plaque whereas the HOMA-IR did not (p = 0.08). AST concentrations (p = 0.049) were associated with plaque independent of insulin resistance whereas the HOMA-IR (p = 0.1) was not associated with plaque independent of AST concentrations.
Within currently recommended reference ranges, serum aminotransferase concentrations may be strongly associated with insulin resistance and atherosclerosis in patients with RA. The measurement of aminotransferase concentrations could be a useful tool in cardiovascular risk stratification in patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC2174946  PMID: 17967187
4.  Biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction, cardiovascular risk factors and atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(3):R634-R643.
Cardiovascular event rates are markedly increased in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and RA atherogenesis remains poorly understood. The relative contributions of traditional and nontraditional risk factors to cardiovascular disease in RA await elucidation. The present study comprises three components. First, we compared biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction (vascular cell adhesion molecule [VCAM]-1, intercellular adhesion molecule [ICAM]-1 and endothelial leucocyte adhesion molecule [ELAM]-1) in 74 RA patients and 80 healthy control individuals before and after controlling for traditional and nontraditional cardiovascular risk factors, including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), IL-1, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α. Second, we investigated the potential role of an extensive range of patient characteristics in endothelial dysfunction in the 74 RA patients. Finally, we assessed associations between biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and ultrasonographically determined common carotid artery intima–media thickness and plaque in RA. The three biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction, as well as hs-CRP, IL-1, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α, were higher in patients than in control individuals (P < 0.0001). Patients were also older, exercised less and had a greater waist circumference, blood pressure and triglyceride levels (P ≤ 0.04). Five patients had diabetes. Differences in endothelial function were no longer significant between patients and controls (P = 0.08) only after both traditional and nontraditional cardiovascular risk factors were controlled for. In the 74 RA patients, IL-6 predicted levels of all three biomarkers (P ≤ 0.03), and rheumatoid factor titres and low glomerular filtration rate (GFR) both predicted levels of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (P ≤ 0.02). VCAM-1 was associated with common carotid artery intima–media thickness (P = 0.02) and plaque (P = 0.04) in RA. Patients had impaired endothelial function, less favourable traditional cardiovascular risk factor profiles, and higher circulating concentrations of hs-CRP and cytokines compared with healthy control individuals. Both traditional and nontraditional cardiovascular risk factors contributed to the differences in endothelial function between RA patients and healthy control individuals. IL-6, rheumatoid factor titres and low GFR were independently predictive of endothelial dysfunction in RA. Disease-modifying agents that effectively suppress both cytokine and rheumatoid factor production, and interventions aimed at preserving renal function may attenuate cardiovascular risk in RA.
PMCID: PMC1174955  PMID: 15899050
5.  Effects of disease modifying agents and dietary intervention on insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in inflammatory arthritis: a pilot study 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(6):R12.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience excess cardiovascular disease (CVD). We investigated the effects of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) and dietary intervention on CVD risk in inflammatory arthritis. Twenty-two patients (17 women; 15 with RA and seven with spondyloarthropathy) who were insulin resistant (n = 20), as determined by the Homeostasis Model Assessment, and/or were dyslipidemic (n = 11) were identified. During the third month after initiation of DMARD therapy, body weight, C-reactive protein (CRP), insulin resistance, and lipids were re-evaluated. Results are expressed as median (interquartile range). DMARD therapy together with dietary intervention was associated with weight loss of 4 kg (0–6.5 kg), a decrease in CRP of 14% (6–36%; P < 0.006), and a reduction in insulin resistance of 36% (26–61%; P < 0.006). Diet compliers (n = 15) experienced decreases of 10% (0–20%) and 3% (0–9%) in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, respectively, as compared with increases of 9% (6–20%; P < 0.05) and 3% (0–9%; P < 0.05) in diet noncompliers. Patients on methotrexate (n = 14) experienced a reduction in CRP of 27 mg/l (6–83 mg/l), as compared with a decrease of 10 mg/l (3.4–13 mg/l; P = 0.04) in patients not on methotrexate. Improved cardiovascular risk with DMARD therapy includes a reduction in insulin resistance. Methotrexate use in RA may improve CVD risk through a marked suppression of the acute phase response. Dietary intervention prevented the increase in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol upon acute phase response suppression.
PMCID: PMC153842  PMID: 12453315
cardiovascular risk; diet; DMARD; inflammatory arthritis
6.  Cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis versus osteoarthritis: acute phase response related decreased insulin sensitivity and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol as well as clustering of metabolic syndrome features in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(5):R5.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients experience a markedly increased frequency of cardiovascular disease. We evaluated cardiovascular risk profiles in 79 RA patients and in 39 age-matched and sex-matched osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Laboratory tests comprised ultrasensitive C-reactive protein (CRP) and fasting lipids. Insulin sensitivity (IS) was determined by the Quantitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) in all OA patients and in 39 of the RA patients. Ten RA patients were on glucocorticoids. RA patients exercised more frequently than OA patients (χ2 = 3.9, P < 0.05). Nine RA patients and one OA patient had diabetes (χ2 = 4.5, P < 0.05). The median CRP, the mean QUICKI and the mean high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were 9 mg/l (range, 0.5–395 mg/l), 0.344 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.332–0.355) and 1.40 mmol/l (95% CI, 1.30–1.49 mmol/l) in RA patients, respectively, as compared with 2.7 mg/l (range, 0.3–15.9 mg/l), 0.369 (95% CI, 0.356–0.383) and 1.68 mmol/l (95% CI, 1.50–1.85 mmol/l) in OA patients. Each of these differences was significant (P < 0.05). After controlling for the CRP, the QUICKI was similar in RA and OA patients (P = 0.07), while the differences in HDL cholesterol were attenuated but still significant (P = 0.03). The CRP correlated with IS, while IS was associated with high HDL cholesterol and low triglycerides in RA patients and not in OA patients. A high CRP (≥ 8 mg/l) was associated with hypertension (χ2 = 7.4, P < 0.05) in RA patients. RA glucocorticoid and nonglucocorticoid users did not differ in IS and lipids (P > 0.05). Excess cardiovascular risk in RA patients as compared with OA patients includes the presence of decreased IS and HDL cholesterol in RA patients. The latter is only partially attributable to the acute phase response. The CRP, IS, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension are inter-related in RA patients, whereas none of these relationships were found in OA patients.
PMCID: PMC125299  PMID: 12223108
cardiovascular risk; osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis
7.  Hyposecretion of the adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and its relation to clinical variables in inflammatory arthritis 
Arthritis Research  2001;3(3):183-188.
Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal underactivity has been reported in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This phenomenon has implications with regard to the pathogenesis and treatment of the disease. The present study was designed to evaluate the secretion of the adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and its relation to clinical variables in RA, spondyloarthropathy (Spa), and undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis (UIA). Eighty-seven patients (38 with RA, 29 with Spa, and 20 with UIA) were studied, of whom 54 were women. Only 12 patients (14%) had taken glucocorticoids previously. Age-matched, healthy women (134) and men (149) served as controls. Fasting blood samples were taken for determination of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), serum DHEAS and insulin, and plasma glucose. Insulin resistance was estimated by the homeostasis-model assessment (HOMAIR). DHEAS concentrations were significantly decreased in both women and men with inflammatory arthritis (IA) (P < 0.001). In 24 patients (28%), DHEAS levels were below the lower extreme ranges found for controls. Multiple intergroup comparisons revealed similarly decreased concentrations in each disease subset in both women and men. After the ESR, previous glucocorticoid usage, current treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, duration of disease and HOMAIR were controlled for, the differences in DHEAS levels between patients and controls were markedly attenuated in women (P = 0.050) and were no longer present in men (P = 0.133). We concluded that low DHEAS concentrations are commonly encountered in IA and, in women, this may not be fully explainable by disease-related parameters. The role of hypoadrenalism in the pathophysiology of IA deserves further elucidation. DHEA replacement may be indicated in many patients with IA, even in those not taking glucocorticoids.
PMCID: PMC30711  PMID: 11299059
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; inflammatory arthritis
9.  The role of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone in the diagnosis of constitutional delayed puberty 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1975;51(599):611-614.
The presumptive diagnosis of constitutional delayed adolescence is difficult to substantiate. Clinical examination and routine biochemical testing are not sufficient to exclude isolated gonadotrophin deficiency. Seven males are reported who presented with delayed puberty. These patients were given 100 μg luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) intravenously, and the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) responses were measured.
Three of four males who were completely prepubertal (Stage 1) had a normal adult male response. These three patients have progressed further into puberty several months after this diagnostic test. The fourth patient in stage 1 puberty had a prepubertal LH response. A year later the response became adult in type, and 3 months thereafter stage 2 puberty was evident.
The LH response to LH-RH thus appears to have some prognostic value in the assessment of males presenting with delayed puberty.
PMCID: PMC2496198  PMID: 1105498

Results 1-9 (9)