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1.  The clinical significance of aldosterone synthase deficiency: report of a novel mutation in the CYP11B2 gene 
Background
Aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder, usually presenting with severe salt-wasting in infancy or stress-induced hyperkalaemia and postural hypotension in adulthood. Neonatal screening for congenital adrenal hyperplasia, another cause of salt wasting, using 17-hydroxyprogesterone measurement would fail to detect aldosterone synthase deficiency, a diagnosis which may be missed until the patient presents with salt-wasting crisis. Due to this potential life-threatening risk, comprehensive hormonal investigation followed by genetic confirmation for suspected patients would facilitate clinical management of the patient and assessment of the genetic implication in their offspring.
Case presentation
We describe a 33-year old Chinese man who presented in infancy with life-threatening hyponatraemia and failure to thrive, but remained asymptomatic on fludrocortisone since. Chromosomal analysis confirmed a normal male karyotype of 46, XY. Plasma steroid profile showed high plasma renin activity, low aldosterone level, and elevated 18-hydroxycorticosterone, compatible with type 2 aldosterone synthase deficiency. The patient was heterozygous for a novel CYP11B2 mutation: c.977C > A (p.Thr326Lys) in exon 3. He also carried a heterozygous mutation c.523_525delAAG (p.Lys175del) in exon 6, a known pathogenic mutation causing aldosterone synthase deficiency. Sequencing of CYP11B2 in his parents demonstrated that the mother was heterozygous for c.977C > A, and the father was heterozygous for c.523_525delAAG.
Conclusion
Although a rare cause of hyperreninaemic hypoaldosteronism, aldosterone synthase deficiency should be suspected and the diagnosis sought in patients who present with life-threatening salt-wasting in infancy, as it has a good long-term prognosis when adequate fludrocortisone replacement is instituted. To our knowledge, this is the first Chinese patient in which the molecular basis of aldosterone synthase deficiency has been identified.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-29
PMCID: PMC3976226  PMID: 24694176
Aldosterone synthase deficiency; Salt-wasting; Hypoaldosteronism
2.  Reviewer Acknowledgement 2013 
Contributing reviewers
The editors of BMC Endocrine Disorders would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 13 (2013).
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-15
PMCID: PMC3973827  PMID: 24606593
3.  Association of blood manganese level with diabetes and renal dysfunction: a cross-sectional study of the Korean general population 
Background
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between blood manganese levels and the prevalence of chronic diseases in the Korean population.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional study based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNAHNES). The study included 3996 participants 20 years of age or older whose blood manganese levels had been measured. The participants were also evaluated for the presence of five chronic diseases: diabetes, renal dysfunction, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and stroke.
Results
Blood manganese levels were significantly lower in the diabetes group compared with the non-diabetes group (1.26 ± 0.02 vs. 1.35 ± 0.01 μg/dL; p = 0.001) and the renal dysfunction group compared with those with normal renal function (1.28 ± 0.03 vs. 1.35 ± 0.01 μg/dL; p = 0.04). There was no significant association between blood manganese levels and the presence of ischemic heart disease or stroke. A multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index was performed; the odds ratio was 0.652 (95% CI: 0.46–0.92) for diabetes and 0.589 (95% CI: 0.39–0.88) for renal dysfunction when comparing the higher quartiles (Q2-4) with the lowest quartile (Q1) of blood manganese level. The prevalence of diabetes was 7.6% in Q1 and 5.3% in Q2-4 (p = 0.02). Similarly, the prevalence of renal dysfunction was 6.8% in Q1, compared with 4.6% in Q2-4 (p = 0.02).
Conclusion
The prevalence of diabetes and renal dysfunction increased in participants with low blood manganese levels, suggesting that blood manganese may play a role in glucose homeostasis and renal function.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-24
PMCID: PMC3973834  PMID: 24606630
Manganese; Diabetes; Renal dysfunction
4.  Management of type 2 diabetes and its prescription drug cost before and during the economic crisis in Greece: an observational study 
Background
The aim of the present study is to examine the clinical indices related to cardiovascular risk management of Greek patients with type 2 diabetes, before and after the major economic crisis that emerged in the country.
Methods
In this retrospective database study, the medical records of patients with type 2 diabetes treated at three diabetes outpatient centers of the national health system during 2006 and 2012 were examined. Only patients with at least six months of follow-up prior to the recorded examination were included. The prescription cost was calculated in Euros per patient-year (€PY).
Results
A total of 1953 medical records (938 from 2006 and 1015 from 2012) were included. There were no significant differences in adjusted HbA1c, systolic blood pressure and HDL-C, while significant reductions were observed in LDL-C and triglycerides. In 2012, a higher proportion of patients were prescribed glucose-lowering, lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medications. Almost 4 out of 10 patients were prescribed the new incretin-based medications, while the use of older drugs, except for metformin, decreased. A significant increase in the adjusted glucose-lowering prescription cost (612.4 [586.5-638.2] €PY vs 390.7 [363.5-418.0]; p < 0.001) and total prescription cost (1306.7 [1264.6-1348.7] €PY vs 1122.3[1078.1-1166.5]; p < 0.001) was observed. The cost of antihypertensive prescriptions declined, while no difference was observed for lipid-lowering and antiplatelet agents.
Conclusions
During the economic crisis, the cardiovascular risk indices of Greek patients with type 2 diabetes being followed in public outpatient diabetes clinics did not deteriorate and in the case of lipid profile improved. However, the total prescription cost increased, mainly due to the higher cost of glucose-lowering prescriptions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-23
PMCID: PMC3946132  PMID: 24593679
Type 2 diabetes; Prescription cost; Economic crisis; Cardiovascular risk
5.  Retinopathy among young adults with Diabetes Mellitus from a tertiary care setting in Sri Lanka 
Background
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading causes for complete loss of vision among working-aged adults around the world. The present study aims to evaluate the rate of DR and its risk factors among the adults with young-onset diabetes from a tertiary care setting in Sri Lanka.
Methods
A consecutive sample of 1,007 individuals referred from multiple centers, were invited for the study. Ophthalmological evaluation was done, with dilated indirect ophthalmoscopy by an Ophthalmologist. Retinopathy was classified according to the International Clinical DR Disease Severity Scale. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic and anthropometric details. Seated blood pressure, Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG), HbA1c and urine microalbumin were also measured. Data were analysed using SPSSv14. A binary logistic regression analysis was performed in all patients, with ‘presence of DR’ as the dichotomous dependent variable and other independent covariates.
Results
Sample size was 684 (response rate–67.9%), mean age was 37.1 ± 5.9 years and 36.0% were males. Mean duration of diabetes was 5.2 ± 4.0 years. Previous retinal screening had been done in 51.0% by a non-specialist doctor and in 41.5% by a consultant ophthalmologist. Rate of any degree of DR in the study population was 18.1% (Males 16.4%, Females 20.0%; P = NS). In patients with DR, majority had mild Non-Proliferative DR (NPDR) (57.2%), while 32.2% had moderate NPDR, 0.8% had severe NPDR and 9.7% had maculopathy. Mean age, duration of diabetes, systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), FBG, HbA1c and urine microalbumin levels were significantly higher amongst the patients with DR. The results of the binary logistic regression indicate that the duration of diabetes (OR:1.24), HbA1c (OR:1.19), age (OR:1.11), urine Microalbumin (OR:1.11) and DBP (OR:1.04) all were significantly associated with DR.
Conclusions
In this large multi center study, nearly one in five adults with young-onset diabetes was found to have retinopathy. Age, duration of diabetes, HbA1C and urine Microalbumin levels were significantly associated with the presence of retinopathy, while HbA1c was also a significant factor determining severity. Nearly 50% of the study population has never undergone retinal screening by an ophthalmologist, highlighting the need for well organized screening programs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-20
PMCID: PMC3943575  PMID: 24588941
Diabetic retinopathy; Diabetes mellitus; Rate; Young-onset diabetes; Sri Lanka
6.  Peer support to decrease diabetes-related distress in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: design of a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Many type 2 diabetes mellitus patients face difficulties self-managing their illness, which can lead to high levels of diabetes-related distress. Diabetes distress may be decreased by peer support, as peers understand and have dealt with similar problems, and can help motivate each other. A recent systematic review concluded that evidence of benefits of peer support in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus is too inconsistent due to weak theoretical foundation of the interventions. This study describes the design of a trial evaluating the effectiveness of a group-based, peer support programme with a strong theoretical foundation on diabetes-related distress in type 2 diabetes patients.
Methods
This is a parallel group randomised controlled trial of a six session group-based peer support intervention, delivered by peer leaders and group psychotherapists, compared with one educational meeting on diabetes. At least 152 patients with a type 2 diabetes duration of three years or more and between 50 and 70 years of age, recruited via their general practitioner, will be randomised to receive the peer support intervention or one educational meeting. The intervention is developed in line with three key stages of research development of the Medical Research Council framework. The primary outcome measure for this study is diabetes-related distress. Secondary outcomes include self-management behaviour, well-being and health-related quality of life. Perceived social support is a process measure. Outcomes will be measured one month before, and 6, and 12 months after the intervention by means of self-reported questionnaires. Analysis will be on an intention-to-treat basis.
Discussion
This article contains a description of the design of a study that will investigate the effect of a group-based, peer support intervention on diabetes-related distress in type 2 diabetes patients. The intervention was developed in recognition of the limited evidence, and the importance of a theoretical foundation and its implementation. Findings will contribute to knowledge in the field of peer support and patient-important outcomes in type 2 diabetes patients.
Trial registration
Dutch Trial Registry: NTR3474
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-21
PMCID: PMC3975844  PMID: 24593296
Peer support; Diabetes mellitus type 2; Distress; Randomised controlled trial
7.  Serum homocysteine levels are decreased in levothyroxine-treated women with autoimmune thyroiditis 
Background
Hyperhomocysteinemia is a well-known cardiovascular risk factor and its elevation is established in overt hypothyroidism. Since some authors suggest that chronic autoimmune thyroiditis per se may be considered as a novel risk factor of atherosclerosis independent of thyroid function, the analysis of classical cardiovascular risk factors might be helpful in evaluation the causative relationship. Data concerning the impact of thyroid autoimmunity in euthyroid state on homocysteine (Hcy) level is lacking. The aim of this study was to evaluate Hcy level in context of anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) in euthyroidism.
Methods
It is a case–control study. 31 euthyroid women treated with levothyroxine (L-T4) due to Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) and 26 females in euthyroidism without L-T4 replacement therapy were enrolled in the study. All women with HT had positive TPOAbs. Forty healthy females negative for TPOAbs comparable for age and body mass index (BMI) participated in the study as controls. Exclusion criteria were a history of any acute or chronic disease, use of any medications (including oral contraceptives and vitamin supplements), smoking, alcoholism.
Results
TPOAbs titers were higher in both groups of HT patients versus the healthy controls. Hcy levels were found to be significantly lower in treated HT patients (Me 11 μmol; IQR 4.2 μmol) as compared with healthy controls (Me 13.35 μmol; IQR 6.34 μmol; p = 0.0179). In contrast, no significant difference was found between non treated HT and control group in Hcy level. The study groups and the controls did not differ in age and BMI. Furthermore, levels of TSH, FT4, TC, LDL, HDL and TAG did not differ between the study group and the control group.
Conclusion
The main finding of the study is a decrease in Hcy level in treated HT as compared with healthy controls. Based on our observations one can also assume that correct L-T4 replacement was associated here with a decrease of Hcy. Furthermore, it seems that non treated HT in euthyroidism is not associated with Hcy increase, in contrast to overt hypothyroidism. This may be just another argument against the concepts about the role of “euthyroid HT” in the development of atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-18
PMCID: PMC3946149  PMID: 24581448
Homocysteine; Thyroid; Autoimmunity; Hashimoto disease
8.  A randomized controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of twice-daily saxagliptin plus metformin combination therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes and inadequate glycemic control on metformin monotherapy 
Background
To compare the safety and efficacy of saxagliptin 2.5 mg twice daily (BID) versus placebo add-on therapy to metformin immediate release (IR) in patients with type 2 diabetes and inadequate glycemic control with metformin alone.
Methods
This multicenter, 12-week, double-blind, parallel-group trial enrolled adult outpatients with type 2 diabetes (glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c] 7.0%–10.0%) on stable metformin IR monotherapy (≥1500 mg, BID for ≥8 weeks). Patients were randomized to double-blind saxagliptin 2.5 mg BID or placebo added on to metformin IR following a 2-week, single-blind, placebo add-on therapy lead-in period. The primary end point was the change from baseline to week 12 in HbA1c. Key secondary end points included change from baseline to week 12 in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and the proportion of patients achieving HbA1c <7.0% or HbA1c ≤ 6.5% at week 12. Efficacy was analyzed in all patients who received randomized study drug with ≥1 postbaseline assessment. Safety was assessed in all treated patients.
Results
In total, 74 patients were randomized to double-blind saxagliptin add-on therapy and 86 to placebo add-on therapy. At week 12, least-squares mean changes (95% CI) from baseline HbA1c (adjusted for baseline HbA1c) were significantly greater (P = 0.006) in the saxagliptin + metformin group -0.56% (-0.74% to -0.38%) versus the placebo + metformin group -0.22% (-0.39% to -0.06%). Adjusted mean changes from baseline in FPG were numerically greater with saxagliptin versus placebo; the difference (95% CI) -9.5 mg/dL (-21.7 to 2.7) was not statistically significant (P = 0.12). A numerically greater proportion of patients in the saxagliptin group than the placebo group achieved HbA1c < 7.0% (37.5% vs 24.2%) or HbA1c ≤6.5% (24.6% vs 10.7%). There were no unexpected safety findings. Hypoglycemia occurred in 4 patients (5.4%) in the saxagliptin group and 1 patient (1.2%) in the placebo group; confirmed hypoglycemia (symptoms plus fingerstick glucose ≤50 mg/dL) occurred in 1 patient in the placebo group.
Conclusions
Addition of saxagliptin 2.5 mg BID to metformin therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes and inadequate glycemic control on metformin monotherapy reduced HbA1c compared with placebo added to metformin, with an adverse events profile similar to placebo and no unexpected safety findings.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00885378
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-17
PMCID: PMC3946011  PMID: 24565221
Incretin; Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor; Saxagliptin; Metformin; Combination therapy; Diabetes; Glycemic control; Hypoglycemia; Twice-daily
9.  A case of Aromatase deficiency due to a novel CYP19A1 mutation 
Background
Aromatase deficiency is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder of which there are approximately twenty four case reports. The aromatase enzyme is crucial in the biosynthesis of oestrogens from androgens. The phenotype of aromatase deficiency therefore is the result of androgen excess and oestrogen deficiency in the absence of normal aromatase activity. We report the first case of aromatase deficiency diagnosed in a female adult, at the age of 32 years, due to a novel duplication in the aromatase gene.
Case presentation
A 32 year old Indian woman presented with a history of gender assignment difficulties at birth, lack of pubertal development, osteopaenia with fracture and tall stature. She had central obesity, impaired fasting glucose and borderline hypertension. Past examinations had revealed partial fusion of urethra and vagina, hypoplastic uterus and streak ovaries. The ovaries had been excised due to malignant risk after an initial clinical diagnosis of Turner’s syndrome with Y mosaicism. Oestrogen replacement commenced shortly after her fracture, in adulthood. After reassessment, aromatase deficiency was diagnosed. Sequencing of the coding exons of the aromatase (CYP19A1; OMIM 109710) gene revealed a novel 27-base duplication in exon 8 (p.Ala306_Ser314dup). This duplication, occurring within the aromatase α-helix, would be likely to disrupt substrate (androgen) and cofactor (protoporphyrin IX) binding, resulting in a lack of oestrogen synthesis.
Conclusions
We report a female with a phenotype compatible with aromatase deficiency which was unrecognised until adulthood and found she had a novel duplication in CYP19A1. Previous case reports have described polycystic ovarian morphology, especially in childhood and adolescence, but never streak ovaries. This may reflect the few adult cases reported, that aromatase deficiency in females is generally diagnosed at birth and oestrogen treatment commences decades earlier than occurred in our patient. Streak ovaries are consistent with the phenotype of the aromatase knockout mouse followed through adulthood. The observed clinical features of obesity, dysglycaemia and hypertension, are compatible with the observation that lack of a counterbalancing effect of oestrogen on tissue androgens until adulthood may lead to a metabolic syndrome phenotype. This report broadens the spectra of phenotype and genetic mutations underlying this rare disorder.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-16
PMCID: PMC3936939  PMID: 24552606
Aromatase deficiency; Pubertal development; Streak ovaries; Androgens
10.  Association of calcaneal quantitative ultrasound parameters with metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and elderly Chinese: a large population-based cross-sectional study 
Background
The possible association between metabolic syndrome (MS) and bone mineral density (BMD) has been highlighted recently. However, the exact effects of MS on calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of MS states, different componets of MS, as well as the number of MS componets on QUS.
Methods
A total of 7489 Chinese adults aged 40 years or older in Nanjing were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. MS was defined according to recommendations generated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2005. QUS was measured for each participant.
Results
The prevalence of MS was 34.6% in men and 42.8% in women (over 40 years old). In postmenopausal women with MS, 25-hydroxyvitamin D[25(OH)D], age adjusted quantitative ultrasound index (QUI) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) were all lower than those without (p < 0.001, p = 0.023, p = 0.021, respectively), the difference of QUI and BUA disappeared after adjustment for body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC). In stepwise analysis, BMI, WC, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) were related to QUS (p < 0.05). The number of MS components had no influence on QUS. Fragile fracture incidence was higher in women with MS (6.8% VS. 5.3%, P = 0.034).
Conclusion
Chinese postmenopausal women with MS have worse BMD measured by QUS and more chances to develop osteoporotic fractures than the controls, which partially due to central obesity as well as vitamin D deficiency. People having less central obesity, higher FPG or HDL-C are less likely to have bone mineral loss.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-14
PMCID: PMC3925415  PMID: 24529197
Metabolic syndrome; Osteoporosis; Calcaneal quantitative ultrasound; Fragile fractures
11.  Association between metabolic syndrome and bone fractures: a meta-analysis of observational studies 
Background
Emerging epidemiological evidence suggest an association between metabolic syndrome and fractures. However, whether metabolic syndrome is an independent risk or protective factor of fractures remains controversial. Our goal is to provide a quantitative assessment of the association between metabolic syndrome and bone fractures by conducting a meta-analysis of observational studies.
Methods
The PubMed and Embase database were searched through to March 2013 to identify studies that met pre-established inclusion criteria. Reference lists of retrieved articles were also reviewed. Summary effect estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were derived using a fixed or random effects model, depending on the heterogeneity of the included studies.
Results
Eight epidemiologic studies involving 39,938 participants were included in the meta-analysis. In overall analysis, metabolic syndrome was not associated with prevalent fractures [pooled odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% CI 0.84 - 1.03] in cross-sectional studies or incident fractures [pooled relative risk (RR) 0.88, 95% CI 0.37 - 2.12] in prospective cohort studies. No evidence of heterogeneity was found in cross-sectional studies (p = 0.786, I 2  = 0.0%). A substantial heterogeneity was detected in cohort studies (p = 0.001, I 2  = 85.7%). No indication of significant publication bias was found either from Begg’s test or Egger’s test. Estimates of total effects were substantially consistent in the sensitivity and stratification analyses.
Conclusions
The present meta-analysis of observational studies suggests that the metabolic syndrome has no explicit effect on bone fractures.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-13
PMCID: PMC3922194  PMID: 24506931
Metabolic syndrome; Fractures; Cohort study; Cross-sectional study; Meta-analysis
12.  Symptomatic Cushing syndrome and hyperandrogenemia revealing steroid cell ovarian neoplasm with late intra-abdominal metastasis 
Background
Steroid cell tumors of ovary account for less than 0.1% of all ovarian tumors and these tumours may present at any age in association with interesting presentations related to hormonal activities. The subtype, not otherwise specified (NOS), is associated with androgenic changes in 56-77% and Cushing syndrome in 6-10%. Due to the rarity of available data regarding these tumors, little is known about their malignant potential and metastatic behaviour. We hereby report an unusual metastasis of steroid cell ovarian neoplasm presented with both Cushing syndrome and hyperandrogenemia.
Case presentation
A 31-year-old woman, who had a past medical history of ovarian tumor resection (left ovarian thecoma was initially diagnosed at that time), presented with hirsutism, hypertension and menstrual disorder. Also, laboratory work-up revealed hypercortisolism and androgen excess. Computerized tomography (CT) of the abdomen showed abdominal paraaortic masses, multiple intrahepatic nodules and retroperitoneal lymph nodes enlargement. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scan demonstrated metastatic lesions. Her ovarian tumor sections were re-examined and pathology result was corrected to steroid cell tumor (NOS) associated with active cell growth and necrosis. Subsequent excision of metastatic lesions yielded clinical improvement promptly and metastasis of steroid cell tumor was confirmed by postoperative pathological studies. However, one year after the surgical management of metastasis, recurrence happened while radiotherapy was ineffective. The patient finally died of tumor metastatic recurrence.
Conclusion
This case reports a rare coexistence of Cushing syndrome and hyperandrogenemia which occurs based on metastasis of steroid cell ovarian neoplasm. It presents a real diagnostic challenge to both clinicians and pathologists. Therefore, it is very important to establish a final diagnosis by pathological studies along with clinical manifestations and imaging findings. Besides, it is necessary to improve follow-up of patients with this kind of tumors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-12
PMCID: PMC3930759  PMID: 24506845
Steroid cell ovarian neoplasm; Not otherwise specified; Intra-abdominal metastasis; Cushing syndrome; Hyperandrogenemia
13.  Partial deficiency of HIF-1α stimulates pathological cardiac changes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice 
Background
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is associated with a number of functional and structural pathological changes such as left ventricular dysfunction, cardiac remodeling, and apoptosis. The primary cause of diabetic cardiomyopathy is hyperglycemia, the metabolic hallmark of diabetes. Recent studies have shown that a diabetic environment suppresses hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α protein stability and function. The aim of this study was to analyze the functional role of HIF-1α in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. We have hypothesized that the partial deficiency of HIF-1α may compromise cardiac responses under diabetic conditions and increase susceptibility to diabetic cardiomyopathy.
Methods
Diabetes was induced by streptozotocin in wild type (Wt) and heterozygous Hif1a knock-out (Hif1a +/- ) mice. Echocardiographic evaluations of left ventricular functional parameters, expression analyses by qPCR and Western blot, and cardiac histopathology assessments were performed in age-matched groups, diabetic, and non-diabetic Wt and Hif1a +/- mice.
Results
Five weeks after diabetes was established, a significant decrease in left ventricle fractional shortening was detected in diabetic Hif1a +/- but not in diabetic Wt mice. The combination effects of the partial deficiency of Hif1a and diabetes affected the gene expression profile of the heart, including reduced vascular endothelial growth factor A (Vegfa) expression. Adverse cardiac remodeling in the diabetic Hif1a +/- heart was shown by molecular changes in the expression of structural molecules and components of the extracellular matrix.
Conclusions
We have shown a correlation between heterozygosity for Hif1α and adverse functional, molecular, and cellular changes associated with diabetic cardiomyopathy. Our results provide evidence that HIF-1α regulates early cardiac responses to diabetes, and that HIF-1α deregulation may influence the increased risk for diabetic cardiomyopathy.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-11
PMCID: PMC3922431  PMID: 24502509
Echocardiographic parameters; Hypoxia inducible factor 1α; Diabetic cardiomyopathy; Vascular endothelial growth factor A; Heterozygous Hif1a knock-out
14.  Takotsubo cardiomyopathy and transient thyrotoxicosis during combination therapy with interferon-alpha and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C 
Background
Thyroid dysfunction is a common complication of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and its therapy. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TCM) is a multifactorial, stress related cardiomyopathy, rarely reported in association with thyrotoxicosis. Simultaneous occurrence of TCM and thyrotoxicosis due to hepatitis C and its treatment has never been reported.
Case presentation
A 47-year-old woman was admitted for acute chest pain, dyspnea, palpitations and diaphoresis. She had been diagnosed with CHC and had undergone 7 months of IFNα and Ribavirin therapy. At admission electrocardiogram (ECG) showed ST segment elevation, negative T waves and troponin was elevated suggesting ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Echocardiography demonstrated left ventricular apical akinesia and ballooning, with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 35%. Contrast angiography showed normal epicardial coronaries, yet a ventriculogram revealed left ventricular apical ballooning, consistent with TCM. Cardiac MRI showed left ventricle apical ballooning and no late enhancement suggesting the absence of any edema, scar or fibrosis in the left myocardium. She was diagnosed with non-autoimmune destructive thyroiditis: TSH=0.001 mU/L, free T4=2.41 ng/dl, total T3=199 ng/dl and negative thyroid antibodies. The thyroid ultrasonography showed a diffuse small goiter, no nodules and normal vascularization of the parenchyma. Following supportive treatment she experienced a complete recovery after a few weeks and she successfully completed her antiviral treatment, with no thyroid or cardiovascular dysfunction ever since. In patients treated with IFNα for CHC, the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction varies between 2.5–45.3% of cases. TCM is a stress related cardiomyopathy characterized by elevated cardiac enzymes, normal coronary angiography and an acute, transient, left ventricular apical dysfunction that mimics myocardial infarction. Most of the patients survive the initial acute event, typically recover normal ventricular function within one to four weeks and have a favorable outcome, as was the case with our patient. Thyrotoxicosis induced stress cardiomyopathy is rare and has been mostly reported in association with Graves’ disease, thyroid storm, thyrotoxicosis factitia or following radioiodine therapy for toxic multinodular goiter.
Conclusion
Routine thyroid screening should be done in patients receiving IFN-alpha and Ribavirin for CHC and thyrotoxicosis should be considered as a possible and treatable underlying cause of TCM.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-10
PMCID: PMC3913789  PMID: 24491229
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy; Thyrotoxicosis; Chronic hepatitis C; Interferon-alpha; Ribavirin
15.  The prevalence of metabolic syndrome and metabolically healthy obesity in Europe: a collaborative analysis of ten large cohort studies 
Background
Not all obese subjects have an adverse metabolic profile predisposing them to developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The BioSHaRE-EU Healthy Obese Project aims to gain insights into the consequences of (healthy) obesity using data on risk factors and phenotypes across several large-scale cohort studies. Aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome (MetS) and metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) in ten participating studies.
Methods
Ten different cohorts in seven countries were combined, using data transformed into a harmonized format. All participants were of European origin, with age 18–80 years. They had participated in a clinical examination for anthropometric and blood pressure measurements. Blood samples had been drawn for analysis of lipids and glucose. Presence of MetS was assessed in those with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) based on the 2001 NCEP ATP III criteria, as well as an adapted set of less strict criteria. MHO was defined as obesity, having none of the MetS components, and no previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
Results
Data for 163,517 individuals were available; 17% were obese (11,465 men and 16,612 women). The prevalence of obesity varied from 11.6% in the Italian CHRIS cohort to 26.3% in the German KORA cohort. The age-standardized percentage of obese subjects with MetS ranged in women from 24% in CHRIS to 65% in the Finnish Health2000 cohort, and in men from 43% in CHRIS to 78% in the Finnish DILGOM cohort, with elevated blood pressure the most frequently occurring factor contributing to the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. The age-standardized prevalence of MHO varied in women from 7% in Health2000 to 28% in NCDS, and in men from 2% in DILGOM to 19% in CHRIS. MHO was more prevalent in women than in men, and decreased with age in both sexes.
Conclusions
Through a rigorous harmonization process, the BioSHaRE-EU consortium was able to compare key characteristics defining the metabolically healthy obese phenotype across ten cohort studies. There is considerable variability in the prevalence of healthy obesity across the different European populations studied, even when unified criteria were used to classify this phenotype.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-9
PMCID: PMC3923238  PMID: 24484869
Harmonization; Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular disease; Metabolically healthy
16.  Adiponectin, chemerin, cytokines, and dipeptidyl peptidase 4 are released from human adipose tissue in a depot-dependent manner: an in vitro system including human serum albumin 
Background
Adipose tissue (AT) contributes to metabolic dysfunction through imbalanced production of adipokines, including cytokines. Visceral AT in particular is associated with metabolic disorders, indicating a specific secretory status. The relative significance of different human AT depots in adipokine release is not fully known. Further, previous in vitro systems usually included medium containing bovine serum albumin (BSA), which may induce cytokine release. Our aim was to compare release of a number of adipokines/cytokines – all implicated in insulin resistance – from human subcutaneous and visceral AT in a short-term incubation system minimizing cytokine induction and including repeated measurements during 24 h. A prerequisite was to evaluate a potential alternative to BSA in the incubation medium.
Methods
Subcutaneous and/or visceral AT from 17 patients (age 20–68 years; BMI 22.6–56.7 kg/m2) undergoing elective surgery was incubated for 2, 4, 6, 8, and 24 h in medium with or without 1% BSA or human serum albumin (HSA). Medium concentrations of adiponectin, chemerin, nine cytokines, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), and omentin were analyzed by multiplex immunoassay or ELISA. Adipocyte size, AT macrophage density, and medium concentrations of endotoxin were determined.
Results
Cytokine release was induced by BSA but not by HSA. In evaluation of the final incubation protocol including 1% HSA, and as expected, adiponectin release was higher from subcutaneous biopsies of nonobese than of obese subjects and inversely associated with adipocyte size; omentin was released almost exclusively from visceral AT. Exploratory incubations revealed more abundant release of chemerin, cytokines (except IL-6), and DPP4 from the visceral depot, while adiponectin release was higher from subcutaneous than visceral AT. Release was linear for a maximum of 2–6 h. Macrophage density was higher in visceral than subcutaneous AT. Levels of endotoxin in the medium were negligible.
Conclusions
Adiponectin, chemerin, many cytokines, and DPP4 are released from human AT in a depot-dependent manner. These results highlight functional differences between visceral and subcutaneous AT, and a mechanistic link between regional fat accumulation and metabolic disorders. Supplementation of human AT incubation medium with HSA rather than BSA is recommended to minimize induction of cytokine release.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-7
PMCID: PMC3909312  PMID: 24447654
Adipokines; Cytokines; Subcutaneous adipose tissue; Visceral adipose tissue; Metabolic disease; Insulin resistance; Inflammation; Bovine serum albumin; Human serum albumin
17.  Age-related bone turnover markers and osteoporotic risk in native Chinese women 
Background
The rate of bone turnover is closely related to osteoporosis risk. We investigated the correlation between bone turnover markers and BMD at various skeletal sites in healthy native Chinese women, and to study the effect of changes in the levels of bone turnover markers on the risk of osteoporosis.
Methods
A cross-section study of 891 healthy Chinese women aged 20–80 years was conducted. The levels of serum osteocalcin (OC), bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), serum cross-linked N-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (sNTX), cross-linked C-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (sCTX), urinary NTX (uNTX), urinary CTX (uCTX) and total urinary deoxypyridinoline (uDPD) were determined. BMD at the posteroanterior spine and the hip was measured using DXA.
Results
Pearson’s correlation coefficient found significant negative correlation between bone turnover marker and BMD T-score at different skeletal sites (r = −0.08 to −0.52, all P = 0.038–0.000). After adjustments for age and body mass index, the partial correlation coefficients between the OC, BAP, sNTX, sCTX and uCTX, and the T-scores at various skeletal sites were still significant. After adjustment of height and weight, the correlation coefficients between most BTMs and PA lumbar spine BMD were also significant. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that bone turnover markers were negative determinants of T-scores. BAP and OC accounted for 33.1% and 7.8% of the variations in the T-scores of the PA spine, respectively. Serum OC, BAP, uDPD, and sNTX accounted for 0.4–21.9% of the variations in the femoral neck and total hip T-scores. The bone turnover marker levels were grouped as per quartile intervals, and the T-scores, osteoporosis prevalence and risk were found to markedly and increase with increase in bone turnover marker levels.
Conclusions
This study clarified the relationship between bone turnover markers and osteoporosis risk in native Chinese women. Bone turnover marker levels were found to be important determinants of BMD T-scores. Furthermore, osteoporotic risk significantly increased with increase in the levels of bone turnover markers.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-8
PMCID: PMC3974151  PMID: 24447701
Bone turnover markers; BMD T-scores; Osteoporosis; Osteoporotic risk; Native Chinese women
18.  A case of thyroid metastasis from pancreatic cancer: case report and literature review 
Background
Thyroid metastases are clinically rare, and usually occur in patients with a history of prior malignancy and when there are metastases elsewhere. Metastases of pancreatic carcinoma to the thyroid are extremely rare, with only three cases reported in the literature.
Case presentation
We report a patient who had a pancreatic carcinoma with metastasis to the thyroid as initial clinical presentation of the disease. A 63-year-old man with a history of weight loss and fatigue presented with cervical lymphadenopathies and a large nodule in the right lobe of the thyroid. A fine needle aspiration of the nodule gave inconclusive cytological results for the origin of the neoplastic cells. An ultrasound-guided core biopsy revealed the presence of a poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma infiltrating the thyroid with atrophic thyroid follicles. Immunohistochemical staining of the lesion was strongly positive for Cytokeratin 19 suggesting a pancreatic origin of the metastasis. A contrast CT scan demonstrated an enlargement of the pancreatic body, dilatation of the pancreatic duct, diffuse retroperitoneal, paraaortic and cervical lymphadenopathy and secondary lesions in the liver.
Conclusion
Metastases to the thyroid from pancreatic carcinoma are extremely rare. A core biopsy of the lesion excluded a thyroid carcinoma and permitted the diagnosis of the primary neoplasm.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-6
PMCID: PMC3905161  PMID: 24428866
Contrast enhanced ultrasonography; Core-biopsy; Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Thyroid metastasis
19.  Alterations in lung gene expression in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats 
Background
Diabetes profoundly affects gene expression in organs such as heart, skeletal muscle, kidney and liver, with areas of perturbation including carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and protein ubiquitination. Type 1 diabetes impairs lung function, but whether gene expression alterations in the lung parallel those of other tissue types is largely unexplored.
Methods
Lung from a rat model of diabetes mellitus induced by streptozotocin was subjected to gene expression microarray analysis.
Results
Glucose levels were 67 and 260 mg/dl (p < 0.001) in control and diabetic rats, respectively. There were 46 genes with at least ± 1.5-fold significantly altered expression (19 increases, 27 decreases). Gene ontology groups with significant over-representation among genes with altered expression included apoptosis, response to stress (p = 0.03), regulation of protein kinase activity (p = 0.04), ion transporter activity (p = 0.01) and collagen (p = 0.01). All genes assigned to the apoptosis and response to stress groups had increased expression whereas all genes assigned to the collagen group had decreased expression. In contrast, the protein kinase activity and ion transporter activity groups had genes with both increased and decreased expression.
Conclusions
Gene expression in the lung is affected by type 1 diabetes in several specific areas, including apoptosis. However, the lung is resistant to changes in gene expression related to lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and oxidative stress that occur in other tissue types such as heart, skeletal muscle and kidney.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-5
PMCID: PMC3945062  PMID: 24423257
Type 1 diabetes; Lung; Gene expression
20.  Long-term auxological and endocrinological evaluation of patients with 9p trisomy: a focus on the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-I axis 
Background
Trisomy 9p is an uncommon anomaly characterised by mental retardation, head and facial abnormalities, congenital heart defects, kidney abnormalities, and skeletal malformations. Affected children may also show growth and puberty retardation with delayed bone age. Auxological and endocrinological data are lacking for this syndrome.
Methods
We describe three girls and one boy with 9p trisomy showing substantial growth failure, and we evaluate the main causes of their short stature.
Results
The target height was normal in all families, ranging from 0.1 and -1.2 standard deviation scores (SDS). The patients had a low birth-weight (from -1.2 to -2.4 SDS), birth length (from -1.1 to -3.2 SDS), and head circumference (from -0.5 to -1.6 SDS). All patients presented with substantial growth (height) retardation at the time of 9p trisomy diagnosis (from -3.0 to -3.8 SDS).
The growth hormone stimulation test revealed a classic growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD) in patients 1, 3, and 4. In contrast, patient 2 was determined to have a GH neurosecretory dysfunction (GHNSD). The plasma concentrations of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were low in all patients for their ages and sexes (from -2.0 to -3.4 SDS, and from -1.9 to -2.8 SDS, respectively).
The auxological follow-up showed that those patients who underwent rhGH treatment exhibited a very good response to the GH therapy, whereas patients 3 and 4, whose families chose not to use rhGH treatment, did not experience any significant catch-up growth.
Conclusions
GH deficiency appears to be a possible feature of patients with 9p trisomy syndrome. These patients, particularly those with growth delays, should be evaluated for GH secretion.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-3
PMCID: PMC3893409  PMID: 24397778
Trisomy 9p; Growth Hormone; Growth hormone deficiency; Pubertal delay; Growth delay; Short Stature; Scoliosis
21.  Localized subacute thyroiditis presenting as a painful hot nodule 
Background
A diagnosis of subacute thyroiditis is readily considered when patients present with a particular set of typical clinical characteristics. Subacute thyroiditis sometimes presents as a solitary cold nodule; however, the presence of a hot nodule in patients with subacute thyroiditis is exceedingly rare.
Case presentation
Here, the case of a 57-year-old woman complaining of pain in the left neck and fatigue for two weeks is presented. Physical examination revealed a painful and tender nodule with a diameter of approximately 1.5 cm in the left neck, although all laboratory tests, including white blood cell count, neutrophil percentage, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), thyroid function, and thyroglobin levels, were normal. A neck ultrasound revealed a hypoechoic mass (1.5 × 0.8 cm) in the left thyroid, and thyroid scintigraphy of the left thyroid with Technetium-99 m (99 m-Tc) demonstrated a focal accumulation of radiotracer. Furthermore, fine-needle aspiration biopsy from the nodule revealed the presence of multinuclear giant cells. The patient was well; there was no cervical mass detected upon palpation following two months of prednisone treatment, and follow-up ultrasound screening and scintigraphy demonstrated the disappearance of the nodule.
Conclusion
This case, presenting with a localized painful hot nodule, normal thyroid function, normal ESR, and normal serum thyroglobulin levels, is a rare case of subacute thyroiditis, which should be considered during differential diagnosis.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-4
PMCID: PMC3893553  PMID: 24397799
Subacute thyroiditis; Thyroid nodule; Hot nodule
22.  Contribution of SLC30A8 variants to the risk of type 2 diabetes in a multi-ethnic population: a case control study 
Background
Several studies have shown the association of solute carrier family 30 (zinc transporter) member 8 (SLC30A8) rs13266634 with type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, the association of alternative variants and haplotypes of SLC30A8 with T2D have not been studied in different populations. The aim of this study is to assess the association of the alternative SLC30A8 variants, rs7002176 and rs1995222 as well as the most common variant, rs13266634 and haplotypes with glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GADA) negative diabetes in Malaysian subjects.
Methods
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of SLC30A8; rs7002176, rs1995222 and rs13266634 were genotyped in 1140 T2D and 973 non-diabetic control subjects. Of these, 33 GADA positive diabetic subjects and 353 metabolic syndrome (MetS) subjects were excluded from subsequent analysis.
Results
The recessive genetic model controlled for age, race, gender and BMI shows that the alternative SLC30A8 variant, rs1995222 is associated with GADA negative diabetes (OR = 1.29, P = 0.02) in Malaysian subjects. The most common variant, rs13266634 is also associated with GADA negative diabetes (OR = 1.45, P = 0.001). This association is more pronounced among Malaysian Indians (OR = 1.93, P = 0.001). Moreover, the CG haplotype and CG-CG diplotype have been equally associated with increased diabetic risk (OR = 1.67, P = 8.6 × 10-5).
Conclusions
SLC30A8 SNPs and haplotypes are associated with GADA negative diabetes in Malaysian subjects, and this association is markedly higher among Malaysian Indian subjects.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-2
PMCID: PMC3893602  PMID: 24393180
T2D; GADA negative diabetes; SLC30A8; Haplotypes; Alternative variants
23.  A case of masked toxic adenoma in a patient with non-thyroidal illness 
Background
Non-thyroidal illness (NTI) refers to changes in thyroid hormone levels in critically ill patients in the absence of primary hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid dysfunction, and these abnormalities usually resolve after clinical recovery. However, NTI can be accompanied by primary thyroid dysfunction. We report herein a case of a woman with NTI accompanied by primary hyperthyroidism.
Case presentation
A 52-year-old female was admitted to the intensive care unit with heart failure and atrial fibrillation. She had a longstanding thyroid nodule, and a thyroid function test revealed low levels of triiodothyronine and free thyroxine as well as undetectable thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). She was diagnosed with NTI, and her TSH level began to recover but not completely at discharge. The thyroid function test was repeated after 42 months to reveal primary hyperthyroidism, and a thyroid scan confirmed a toxic nodule.
Conclusion
This case suggests that although NTI was diagnosed, primary hyperthyroidism should be considered as another possible diagnosis if TSH is undetectable. Thyroid function tests should be repeated after clinical recovery from acute illness.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-1
PMCID: PMC3883471  PMID: 24383500
Thyroid; Non-thyroidal illness; Hyperthyroidism; Toxic adenoma
24.  Reducing resistance to treatment, through group intervention, improves clinical measurements in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Background
Studies have shown that group Therapeutic Patient Education (TPE) may empower patients with type 2 diabetes to better manage their disease. The mechanism of these interventions is not fully understood. A reduction in resistance to treatment may explain the mechanism by which TPE empowers participants to improve self-management. The Objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of diabetes groups in reducing resistance to treatment and the association between reduced resistance and better management of the disease.
Methods
In a program evaluation study, we administered validated questionnaires to measure resistance to treatment (RTQ) in 3 time periods: before the intervention (T1), immediately after the intervention (T2) and six months later (T3). Clinical measures (HbA1C, blood pressure, HDL, LDL and total cholesterol, Triglycerides and BMI) were retrieved from Maccabi Healthcare Services computerized systems, for T1;T2 and a year post intervention (T3). Linear mixed models were used adjusting for age, gender, social support and family status.
Results
157; 156 and 106 TPE participants completed the RTQ in T1; T2 and T3 respectively. HbA1C and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly reduced in the group which achieved a reduction in three out of the five RTQ components. For the other clinical measurements no significant changes were observed.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that reducing resistance to treatment, through an educational program for patients with diabetes, is associated with a better disease control. Identifying patients with higher resistance to treatment, and including components that reduce resistance in patient education programs, have the potential to increase the effectiveness of these programs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-13-61
PMCID: PMC3909345  PMID: 24373686
Empowerment; Diabetes mellitus; Self-help groups; Resistance to treatment; Family support
25.  Hypoglycaemic events in patients with type 2 diabetes in the United Kingdom: associations with patient-reported outcomes and self-reported HbA1c 
Background
One possible barrier to effective diabetes self-management is hypoglycaemia associated with diabetes medication. The current study was conducted to characterize hypoglycaemic events among UK patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) treated with antihyperglycaemic medications, and assess the relationship between experience of hypoglycaemic events and health outcomes, including glycaemic control, health-related quality of life, impairment to work and non-work activities, treatment satisfaction, adherence to treatment, fear of hypoglycaemia, and healthcare resource use.
Methods
An online survey of 1,329 T2D patients in UK drawn from an opt-in survey panel was conducted in February of 2012 with monthly follow-up questionnaires for five months. Measures included self-reported HbA1c, EQ-5D, Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire, Diabetes Medication Satisfaction Tool, Morisky medication adherence scale, the Hypoglycaemia Fear Survey (revised), and self-reported healthcare resource use. Comparisons were conducted using t-tests and chi-square tests for continuous and categorical variables, respectively.
Results
Baseline comparisons showed that worse HbA1c, greater diabetes-related healthcare resource use, greater fear of hypoglycaemia, and impaired health outcomes were associated with experience of hypoglycaemia in the four weeks prior to baseline. Longitudinal results were similar in direction but differences on few measures were significant.
Conclusions
In real-world UK T2D patients, hypoglycaemia is associated with worse self-reported glycaemic control, behaviours that contribute to worse glycaemic control, and impairment in patient-reported outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-13-59
PMCID: PMC3878264  PMID: 24351086
Hypoglycaemia; Hypoglycaemic events; Health related quality of life; Hypoglycaemia fear; Treatment satisfaction

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