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1.  Prevalence and determinants of diabetes mellitus among Iranian patients with chronic liver disease 
Background
Alterations in carbohydrate metabolism are frequently observed in cirrhosis. We conducted this study to define the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in Iranian patients with chronic liver disease (CLD), and explore the factors associated with DM in these patients.
Methods
One hundred and eighty-five patients with CLD were enrolled into the study. Fasting plasma glucose and two-hour plasma glucose were measured in patients' sera. DM and IGT were diagnosed according to the latest American Diabetes Association criteria.
Results
The subjects included 42 inactive HBV carriers with a mean age of 42.2 ± 12.0 years, 102 patients with HBV or HCV chronic hepatitis with a mean age of 41.2 ± 10.9 years, and 41 cirrhotic patients with a mean age of 52.1 ± 11.4 years. DM and IGT were diagnosed in 40 (21.6%) and 21 (11.4%) patients, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that age (P = 0.000), CLD status (P = 0.000), history of hypertension (P = 0.007), family history of DM (P = 0.000), and body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.009) were associated with DM. Using Multivariate analysis, age (OR = 4.7, 95%CI: 1.8–12.2), family history of DM (OR = 6.6, 95%CI: 2.6–17.6), chronic hepatitis (OR = 11.6, 95%CI: 2.9–45.4), and cirrhosis (OR = 6.5, 95%CI: 2.4–17.4) remained as the factors independently associated with DM. When patients with cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis were analyzed separately, higher Child-Pugh's score in cirrhotic patients (OR = 9.6, 95%CI: 1.0–88.4) and older age (OR = 7.2, 95%CI: 1.0–49.1), higher fibrosis score (OR = 59.5, 95%CI: 2.9–1211.3/ OR = 11.9, 95%CI: 1.0–132.2), and higher BMI (OR = 30.3, 95%CI: 3.0–306.7) in patients with chronic hepatitis were found to be associated with higher prevalence of DM.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that patients with cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis are at the increased risk of DM occurrence. Older age, severe liver disease, and obesity were associated with DM in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-4-4
PMCID: PMC538272  PMID: 15555059
2.  Assessment of the role of transcript for GATA-4 as a marker of unfavorable outcome in human adrenocortical neoplasms 
Background
Malignant neoplasia of the adrenal cortex is usually associated with very poor prognosis. When adrenocortical neoplasms are diagnosed in the early stages, distinction between carcinoma and adenoma can be very difficult to accomplish, since there is yet no reliable marker to predict tumor recurrence or dissemination. GATA transcription factors play an essential role in the developmental control of cell fate, cell proliferation and differentiation, organ morphogenesis, and tissue-specific gene expression. Normal mouse adrenal cortex expresses GATA-6 while its malignant counterpart only expresses GATA-4. The goal of the present study was to assess whether this reciprocal change in the expression of GATA factors might be relevant for predicting the prognosis of human adrenocortical neoplasms. Since human adrenal cortices express luteinizing hormone (LH/hCG) receptor and the gonadotropins are known to up-regulate GATA-4 in gonadal tumor cell lines, we also studied the expression of LH/hCG receptor.
Methods
We conducted a study on 13 non-metastasizing (NM) and 10 metastasizing/recurrent (MR) tumors obtained from a group of twenty-two adult and pediatric patients. The expression of GATA-4, GATA-6, and LH/hCG receptor (LHR) in normal and tumoral human adrenal cortices was analysed using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) complemented by dot blot hybridization.
Results
Messenger RNA for GATA-6 was detected in normal adrenal tissue, as well as in the totality of NM and MR tumors. GATA-4, by its turn, was detected in normal adrenal tissue, in 11 out of 13 NM tumors, and in 9 of the 10 MR tumors, with larger amounts of mRNA found among those presenting aggressive clinical behavior. Transcripts for LH receptor were observed both in normal tissue and neoplasms. A more intense LHR transcript accumulation was observed on those tumors with better clinical outcome.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that the expression of GATA-6 in human adrenal cortex is not affected by tumorigenesis. GATA-4 expression is more abundant in MR tumors, while NM tumors express more intensely LHR. Further studies with larger cohorts are needed to test whether relative expression levels of LHR or GATA-4 might be used as prognosis predictors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-4-3
PMCID: PMC476742  PMID: 15239841
3.  A systematic review of the literature examining the diagnostic efficacy of measurement of fractionated plasma free metanephrines in the biochemical diagnosis of pheochromocytoma 
Background
Fractionated plasma metanephrine measurements are commonly used in biochemical testing in search of pheochromocytoma.
Methods
We aimed to critically appraise the diagnostic efficacy of fractionated plasma free metanephrine measurements in detecting pheochromocytoma. Nine electronic databases, meeting abstracts, and the Science Citation Index were searched and supplemented with previously unpublished data. Methodologic and reporting quality was independently assessed by two endocrinologists using a checklist developed by the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Studies Accuracy Group and data were independently abstracted.
Results
Limitations in methodologic quality were noted in all studies. In all subjects (including those with genetic predisposition): the sensitivities for detection of pheochromocytoma were 96%–100% (95% CI ranged from 82% to 100%), whereas the specificities were 85%–100% (95% CI ranged from 78% to 100%). Statistical heterogeneity was noted upon pooling positive likelihood ratios when those with predisposition to disease were included (p < 0.001). However, upon pooling the positive or negative likelihood ratios for patients with sporadic pheochromocytoma (n = 191) or those at risk for sporadic pheochromocytoma (n = 718), no statistical heterogeneity was noted (p = 0.4). For sporadic subjects, the pooled positive likelihood ratio was 5.77 (95% CI = 4.90, 6.81) and the pooled negative likelihood ratio was 0.02 (95% CI = 0.01, 0.07).
Conclusion
Negative plasma fractionated free metanephrine measurements are effective in ruling out pheochromocytoma. However, a positive test result only moderately increases suspicion of disease, particularly when screening for sporadic pheochromocytoma.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-4-2
PMCID: PMC459231  PMID: 15225350
4.  Nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion in mouse islets is critically dependent on intracellular pH 
Background
Many mechanistic steps underlying nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion (NSIS) are poorly understood. The influence of intracellular pH (pHi) on insulin secretion is widely documented, and can be used as an investigative tool. This study demonstrates previously unknown effects of pHi-alteration on insulin secretion in mouse islets, which may be utilized to correct defects in insulin secretion.
Methods
Different components of insulin secretion in mouse islets were monitored in the presence and absence of forced changes in pHi. The parameters measured included time-dependent potentiation of insulin secretion by glucose, and direct insulin secretion by different mitochondrial and non-mitochondrial secretagogues. Islet pHi was altered using amiloride, removal of medium Cl-, and changing medium pH. Resulting changes in islet pHi were monitored by confocal microscopy using a pH-sensitive fluorescent indicator. To investigate the underlying mechanisms of the effects of pHi-alteration, cellular NAD(P)H levels were measured using two-photon excitation microscopy (TPEM). Data were analyzed using Student's t test.
Results
Time-dependent potentiation, a function normally absent in mouse islets, can be unmasked by a forced decrease in pHi. The optimal range of pHi for NSIS is 6.4–6.8. Bringing islet pHi to this range enhances insulin secretion by all mitochondrial fuels tested, reverses the inhibition of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) by mitochondrial inhibitors, and is associated with increased levels of cellular NAD(P)H.
Conclusions
Pharmacological alteration of pHi is a potential means to correct the secretory defect in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), since forcing islet pHi to the optimal range enhances NSIS and induces secretory functions that are normally absent.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-4-1
PMCID: PMC434517  PMID: 15193158

Results 1-4 (4)