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1.  Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence – Do evolutionary novel dietary lectins cause leptin resistance? 
Background
The global pattern of varying prevalence of diseases of affluence, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, suggests that some environmental factor specific to agrarian societies could initiate these diseases.
Presentation of the hypothesis
We propose that a cereal-based diet could be such an environmental factor. Through previous studies in archaeology and molecular evolution we conclude that humans and the human leptin system are not specifically adapted to a cereal-based diet, and that leptin resistance associated with diseases of affluence could be a sign of insufficient adaptation to such a diet. We further propose lectins as a cereal constituent with sufficient properties to cause leptin resistance, either through effects on metabolism central to the proper functions of the leptin system, and/or directly through binding to human leptin or human leptin receptor, thereby affecting the function.
Testing the hypothesis
Dietary interventions should compare effects of agrarian and non-agrarian diets on incidence of diseases of affluence, related risk factors and leptin resistance. A non-significant (p = 0.10) increase of cardiovascular mortality was noted in patients advised to eat more whole-grain cereals. Our lab conducted a study on 24 domestic pigs in which a cereal-free hunter-gatherer diet promoted significantly higher insulin sensitivity, lower diastolic blood pressure and lower C-reactive protein as compared to a cereal-based swine feed. Testing should also evaluate the effects of grass lectins on the leptin system in vivo by diet interventions, and in vitro in various leptin and leptin receptor models. Our group currently conducts such studies.
Implications of the hypothesis
If an agrarian diet initiates diseases of affluence it should be possible to identify the responsible constituents and modify or remove them so as to make an agrarian diet healthier.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-10
PMCID: PMC1326203  PMID: 16336696
2.  Amiloride derivatives enhance insulin release in pancreatic islets from diabetic mice 
Background
Amiloride derivatives, commonly used for their diuretic and antihypertensive properties, can also cause a sustained but reversible decrease of intracellular pH (pHi). Using dimethyl amiloride (DMA) on normal rodent pancreatic islets, we previously demonstrated the critical influence of islet pHi on insulin secretion. Nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion (NSIS) requires a specific pHi-range, and is dramatically enhanced by forced intracellular acidification with DMA. Furthermore, DMA can enable certain non-secretagogues to stimulate insulin secretion, and induce time-dependent potentiation (TDP) of insulin release in mouse islets where this function is normally absent. The present study was performed to determine whether pHi-manipulation could correct the secretory defect in islets isolated from mice with type 2 diabetes.
Methods
Using two mouse models of type 2 diabetes, we compared a) pHi-regulation, and b) NSIS with and without treatment with amiloride derivatives, in islets isolated from diabetic mice and wild type mice.
Results
A majority of the islets from the diabetic mice showed a slightly elevated basal pHi and/or poor recovery from acid/base load. DMA treatment produced a significant increase of NSIS in islets from the diabetic models. DMA also enabled glucose to induce TDP in the islets from diabetic mice, albeit to a lesser degree than in normal islets.
Conclusion
Islets from diabetic mice show some mis-regulation of intracellular pH, and their secretory capacity is consistently enhanced by DMA/amiloride. Thus, amiloride derivatives show promise as potential therapeutic agents for type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-9
PMCID: PMC1327667  PMID: 16336655
3.  The spectrum of thyroid dysfunction in an Australian hepatitis C population treated with combination Interferon-α2β and Ribavirin 
Background
The study aims to assess the pattern of thyroid response to combination Interferon-α2β (IFN-α) and Ribavirin (RBV) anti-viral therapy in an Australian hepatitis C cohort. These include the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction (TD) including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism and their possible predictors, the common overall pattern of thyroid function tests whilst receiving therapy and TD outcomes, and the correlation with HCV status outcome.
Methods
A retrospective analysis of all medical records was performed to assess thyroid function in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) patients who were treated at the Hunter Area hepatitis C treatment center between 1995 and March 2004. The centre is part of the John Hunter hospital, a major tertiary referral centre in New South Wales, Australia.
Results
There were 272 cases available for review. The prevalence of TD is 6.7 percent and is made up predominantly of females (80 percent). There were 3 (1.1 percent) cases of hyperthyroidism with 2 (67 percent) females. Thirteen out of fifteen (80 percent) cases of hypothyroidism were females with the overall prevalence of 5.5 percent. The majority of hypothyroid patients still required Thyroxine supplement at the end of follow up.
Conclusion
Ninety three percent of HCV treated patients have intact thyroid function at the end of treatment. The predominant TD is hypothyroidism. The predominant pattern of thyrotoxicosis (TTX) is that of thyroiditis although the number is small. Graves' like disease was not observed. People with pre-existing thyroid auto-antibodies should be closely monitored for thyroid dysfunction, particularly hypothyroidism.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-8
PMCID: PMC1266361  PMID: 16219106
4.  Association of CETP TaqI and APOE polymorphisms with type II diabetes mellitus in North Indians: a case control study 
Background
Genetic variants of proteins involved in lipid metabolism may play an important role in determining the susceptibility for complications associated with type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Goal of the present study was to determine the association of cholesteryl ester transfer protein TaqI B, D442G, and APOE Hha I polymorphisms with T2DM and its complications.
Methods
Study subjects were 136 patients and 264 healthy controls. All polymorphisms were detected using PCR-RFLP and statistical analysis done with χ2 test and ANOVA.
Results
Although CETP TaqI B polymorphism was not associated with the T2DM, yet B1B2 genotype was significantly (p = 0.028) associated with high risk of hypertension in diabetic patients (OR = 3.068, 95% CI 1.183–7.958). In North Indians D442G variation in CETP gene was found to be absent. Frequency of APOE HhaI polymorphism was also not different between patients and controls. In diabetic patients having neuropathy and retinopathy significantly different levels of total-cholesterol [(p = 0.001) and (p = 0.029) respectively] and LDL-cholesterol [(p = 0.001) and (p = 0.001) respectively] were observed when compared to patients with T2DM only. However, lipid levels did not show any correlation with the CETP TaqI B and APOE Hha I genetic polymorphisms.
Conclusion
CETP TaqI B and APOE HhaI polymorphism may not be associated with type II diabetes mellitus in North Indian population, however CETP TaqI B polymorphism may be associated with hypertension along with T2DM.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-7
PMCID: PMC1187885  PMID: 15992403
5.  Insulin resistance in adolescents with Down syndrome: a cross-sectional study 
Background
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is higher in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) than in the general population; it may be due to the high prevalence of obesity presented by many of them. The aim of this study was to evaluate the insulin resistance (IR) using the HOMA (Homeostasis Model Assessment) method, in DS adolescents, describing it according to the sex, body mass index (BMI) and pubertal development.
Methods
15 adolescents with DS (8 males and 7 females) were studied, aged 10 to 18 years, without history of disease or use of medication that could change the suggested laboratory evaluation. On physical examination, the pubertal signs, acanthosis nigricans (AN), weight and height were evaluated. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin were analysed by the colorimetric method and RIA-kit LINCO, respectively. IR was calculated using the HOMA method. The patients were grouped into obese, overweight and normal, according to their BMI percentiles. The EPIINFO 2004 software was used to calculate the BMI, its percentile and Z score.
Results
Five patients were adults (Tanner V or presence of menarche), 9 pubertal (Tanner II – IV) and 1 prepubertal (Tanner I). No one had AN. Two were obese, 4 overweight and 9 normal. Considering the total number of patients, HOMA was 1.7 ± 1.0, insulin 9.3 ± 4.8 μU/ml and glucose 74.4 ± 14.8 mg/dl. The HOMA values were 2.0 ± 1.0 in females and 1.5 ± 1.0 in males. Considering the nutritional classification, the values of HOMA and insulin were: HOMA: 3.3 ± 0.6, 2.0 ± 1.1 and 1.3 ± 0.6, and insulin: 18.15 ± 1.6 μU/ml, 10.3 ± 3.5 μU/ml and 6.8 ± 2.8 μU/ml, in the obese, overweight and normal groups respectively. Considering puberty, the values of HOMA and insulin were: HOMA: 2.5 ± 1.3, 1.4 ± 0.6 and 0.8 ± 0.0, and insulin: 13.0 ± 5.8 μU/ml, 7.8 ± 2.9 μU/ml and 4.0 ± 0.0 μU/ml, in the adult, pubertal and prepubertal groups respectively.
Conclusion
The obese and overweight, female and adult patients showed the highest values of HOMA and insulin.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-6
PMCID: PMC1177940  PMID: 15963228
6.  An IGF-I promoter polymorphism modifies the relationships between birth weight and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes at age 36 
Objective
To investigate whether IGF-I promoter polymorphism was associated with birth weight and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and whether the birth weight – risk factor relationship was the same for each genotype.
Design and participants
264 subjects (mean age 36 years) had data available on birth weight, IGF-I promoter polymorphism genotype, CVD and T2DM risk factors. Student's t-test and regression analyses were applied to analyse differences in birth weight and differences in the birth weight – risk factors relationship between the genotypes.
Results
Male variant carriers (VCs) of the IGF-I promoter polymorphism had a 0.2 kg lower birth weight than men with the wild type allele (p = 0.009). Of the risk factors for CVD and T2DM, solely LDL concentration was associated with the genotype for the polymorphism. Most birth weight – risk factor relationships were stronger in the VC subjects; among others the birth weight – systolic blood pressure relationship: 1 kg lower birth weight was related to an 8.0 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure
Conclusion
The polymorphism in the promoter region of the IGF-I gene is related to birth weight in men only, and to LDL concentration only. Furthermore, the genotype for this polymorphism modified the relationships between birth weight and the risk factors, especially for systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-5
PMCID: PMC1166545  PMID: 15927083
7.  Effects of aging and type 2 diabetes on resting and post occlusive hyperemia of the forearm; the impact of rosiglitazone 
Background
Both Diabetes and ageing are associated with reduced vascular endothelial function. The exact relationship between the 2 and any improvements from the insulin sensitizer rosiglitazone have not been explored.
Methods
Thirty controls and sixteen subjects with type 2 diabetes participated in a series of experiments to examine the interrelationships between age, diabetes and endothelial cell function. In subjects with diabetes, the insulin sensitizer rosiglitazone (RSG), a drug also known to improve vascular function, was administered for 3 months to see how it altered these relationships. Resting forearm flows (RF) and blood flows after 4 min of vascular occlusion (PF) were measured as an index of endothelial cell function.
Results
RF, measured by venous occlusion plethysmography, was negatively correlated to both age and diabetes. Administration of RSG for 3 months was associated with an increase in the blood flow response to venous occlusion so that it was not significantly different than that of age matched controls. Total PF in control subjects, compared to subjects with diabetes, averaged 56.58 +/- 12.57 and 13.6 +/- 8.01 cc/100 cc tissue per min respectively, and were significantly different (p < 0.01). After 3 months on RSG, differences between PF in the two groups were no longer evident.
Conclusion
These studies suggest a different mechanism causing a reduction in vascular reactivity with aging and diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-4
PMCID: PMC1079810  PMID: 15790404
8.  Discordance in diagnosis of osteoporosis using spine and hip bone densitometry 
Background
Diagnostic discordance for osteoporosis is the observation that the T-score of an individual patient varies from one key measurement site to another, falling into two different diagnostic categories identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system. This study was conducted to evaluate the presence and risk factors for this phenomenon in a large sample of Iranian population.
Methods
Demographic data, anthropometric measurements, and risk factors for osteoporosis were derived from a database on 4229 patients referred to a community-based outpatient osteoporosis testing center from 2000 to 2003. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was performed on L1–L4 lumbar spine and total hip for all cases. Minor discordance was defined as present when the difference between two sites was no more than one WHO diagnostic class. Major discordance was present when one site is osteoporotic and the other is normal. Subjects with incomplete data were excluded.
Results
In 4188 participants (3848 female, mean age 53.4 ± 11.8 years), major discordance, minor discordance, and concordance of T-scores were seen in 2.7%, 38.9% and 58.3%, respectively. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, older age, menopause, obesity, and belated menopause were recognized as risk factors and hormone replacement therapy as a protective factor against T-score discordance.
Conclusion
The high prevalence of T-score discordance may lead to problems in interpretation of the densitometry results for some patients. This phenomenon should be regarded as a real and prevalent finding and physicians should develop a particular strategy approaching to these patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-3
PMCID: PMC555556  PMID: 15762986
9.  Influence of antioxidant (L- ascorbic acid) on tolbutamide induced hypoglycaemia/antihyperglycaemia in normal and diabetic rats 
Background
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycaemia. Increased oxidative stress and decreased antioxidant levels are the leading cause of diabetes and diabetic complications. So it is felt that supplementation of antioxidants may be useful in controlling the glucose levels and to postpone the occurrence of diabetic complications. The objective of our study is to find the influence of antioxidant supplementation (L-ascorbic acid) on tolbutamide activity in normal and diabetic rats.
Methods
L- ascorbic acid/tolbutamide/L-ascorbic acid + tolbutamide were administered orally to 3 different groups of albino rats of either sex in normal and diabetic condition. Blood samples were collected from retro-orbital puncture at different time intervals and were analyzed for blood glucose by GOD-POD method. Diabetes was induced by alloxan 100 mg/kg body weight administered by I.P route.
Results
L-ascorbic acid/ tolbutamide produced hypoglycaemic activity in a dose dependant manner in normal and diabetic condition. In the presence of L-ascorbic acid, tolbuatmide produced early onset of action and maintained for longer period compared to tolbutamide matching control.
Conclusion
Supplementation of antioxidants like L-ascorbic acid was found to improve tolbutamide response in normal and diabetic rats.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-2
PMCID: PMC555571  PMID: 15745442
10.  Measurement of fractionated plasma metanephrines for exclusion of pheochromocytoma: Can specificity be improved by adjustment for age? 
Background
Biochemical testing for pheochromocytoma by measurement of fractionated plasma metanephrines is limited by false positive rates of up to 18% in people without known genetic predisposition to the disease. The plasma normetanephrine fraction is responsible for most false positives and plasma normetanephrine increases with age. The objective of this study was to determine if we could improve the specificity of fractionated plasma measurements, by statistically adjusting for age.
Methods
An age-adjusted metanephrine score was derived using logistic regression from 343 subjects (including 33 people with pheochromocytoma) who underwent fractionated plasma metanephrine measurements as part of investigations for suspected pheochromocytoma at Mayo Clinic Rochester (derivation set). The performance of the age-adjusted score was validated in a dataset of 158 subjects (including patients 23 with pheochromocytoma) that underwent measurements of fractionated plasma metanephrines at Mayo Clinic the following year (validation dataset). None of the participants in the validation dataset had known genetic predisposition to pheochromocytoma.
Results
The sensitivity of the age-adjusted metanephrine score was the same as that of traditional interpretation of fractionated plasma metanephrine measurements, yielding a sensitivity of 100% (23/23, 95% confidence interval [CI] 85.7%, 100%). However, the false positive rate with traditional interpretation of fractionated plasma metanephrine measurements was 16.3% (22/135, 95% CI, 11.0%, 23.4%) and that of the age-adjusted score was significantly lower at 3.0% (4/135, 95% CI, 1.2%, 7.4%) (p < 0.001 using McNemar's test).
Conclusion
An adjustment for age in the interpretation of results of fractionated plasma metanephrines may significantly decrease false positives when using this test to exclude sporadic pheochromocytoma. Such improvements in false positive rate may result in savings of expenditures related to confirmatory imaging.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-1
PMCID: PMC553971  PMID: 15737232

Results 1-10 (10)