Steroid hormones are mainly produced in adrenal glands and gonads. Because steroid hormones play vital roles in various physiological processes, replacement of deficient steroid hormones by hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is necessary for patients with adrenal and gonadal failure. In addition to HRT, tissue regeneration using stem cells is predicted to provide novel therapy. Among various stem cell types, mesenchymal stem cells can be differentiated into steroidogenic cells following ectopic expression of nuclear receptor (NR) 5A subfamily proteins, steroidogenic factor-1 (also known as adrenal 4 binding protein) and liver receptor homolog-1, with the aid of cAMP signaling. Conversely, these approaches cannot be applied to pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, because of poor survival following cytotoxic expression of NR5A subfamily proteins. However, if pluripotent stem cells are first differentiated through mesenchymal lineage, they can also be differentiated into steroidogenic cells via NR5A subfamily protein expression. This approach offers a potential suitable cells for future regenerative medicine and gene therapy for diseases caused by steroidogenesis deficiencies. It represents a powerful tool to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in steroidogenesis. This article highlights our own and current research on the induction of steroidogenic cells from various stem cells. We also discuss the future direction of their clinical application.
Most of acromegaly is caused by a sporadic somatotropinoma and a couple of novel gene mutations responsible for somatotropinoma have recently been reported. To determine the cause of sporadic somatotropinoma in Japanese patients, we analyzed 61 consecutive Japanese patients with somatotropinoma without apparent family history. Comprehensive genetic analysis revealed that 31 patients harbored guanine nucleotide-binding protein, alpha stimulating (GNAS) mutations (50.8%) and three patients harbored aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) mutations (4.9%). No patients had G protein-coupled receptor 101 (GPR101) mutations. The patients in this cohort study were categorized into three groups of AIP, GNAS, and others and compared the clinical characteristics. The AIP group exhibited significantly younger age at diagnosis, larger tumor, and higher nadir GH during oral glucose tolerance test. In all patients with AIP mutation, macro- and invasive tumor was detected and repetitive surgery or postoperative medical therapy was needed. One case showed a refractory response to postoperative somatostatin analogue (SSA) but after the addition of cabergoline as combined therapy, serum IGF-I levels were controlled. The other case showed a modest response to SSA and the switching to cabergoline monotherapy was also effective. These data suggest that although resistance to SSA has been reported in patients with AIP mutations, the response to dopamine agonist (DA) may be retained. In conclusion, the cause of sporadic somatotropinoma in Japanese patients was comparable with the previous reports in Caucasians, patients with AIP mutations showed unique clinical characteristics, and DA may be a therapeutic option for patients with AIP mutations.
Non-functioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) is often associated with hypopituitarism. Diagnosis of hypopituitarism is important because of its poor prognosis and low quality of life. Among hypopituitarism, it is difficult to diagnose secondary adrenocortical insufficiency and GH deficiency without hormone stimulation test. Therefore, the aim of our study was to identify patients with NFPA who require more careful endocrinological examination. We examined the relationship between NFPA size and the prevalence of each hypopituitarism or the response of each anterior pituitary hormone by insulin tolerance test, LHRH test and TRH test. We studied 63 patients with NFPA admitted for evaluation of pituitary function and surgical indication. They were classified three groups by tumor diameter. The prevalence of GH deficiency, male secondary hypogonadism, secondary hypothyroidism and PRL deficiency were higher in the group of larger tumor diameter (p<0.0001, p<0.05, p<0.05 and p<0.05, respectively). However, that of secondary adrenocortical insufficiency only tended to be higher (p=0.07). In the group with small NFPA (less than 20 mm), the prevalence of secondary adrenocortical insufficiency was 38% although those of GH deficiency, male secondary hypogonadism, secondary hypothyroidism and PRL deficiency were 0%, 0% and 8% and 9%, respectively. Anterior pituitary hormone responses except TSH had significantly negative correlation with tumor diameter (ACTH: r=-0.40, GH: r=-0.57, LH: r=-0.69, FSH: r=-0.46, PRL: r=-0.36). The results suggested physicians should proactively suspect GH deficiency, male secondary hypogonadism and secondary hypothyroidism in patients with larger NFPA. On the other hand, adrenocortical function should be examined even in patients with small NFPA.
Oxyphilic cell carcinoma is a relatively rare type of differentiated thyroid carcinoma. We investigated the diagnosis of oxyphilic cell carcinoma based on surgical specimens and cytology to elucidate the indications for surgery for oxyphilic tumors. Among 330 patients pathologically diagnosed as having an oxyphilic cell carcinoma or adenoma, the incidence of carcinoma was 21%. The pathological diagnosis of oxyphilic cell carcinoma was related to tumor size (>4 cm). On cytology, 79% of the tumors were classified as category IV or greater by the Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (BSRTC), but no significant difference was established between category IV or greater and categories I-III regarding the incidence of carcinoma. Of 998 patients cytologically diagnosed as having oxyphilic cell tumors (BSRTC category IV), 426 underwent surgery and 66 (15%) were diagnosed as malignancies. In a univariate analysis, serum thyroglobulin (Tg) levels (>500 ng/dL) for anti-Tg antibody-negative patients, tumor size (>4 cm) and US class (≥3) significantly predicted malignant histology. A multivariate logistic analysis revealed that US finding was an independent predictor of malignant histology, and tumor size (>4 cm) also predicted malignancy when the Tg level was excluded from the variables. These findings suggest that, for thyroid tumors diagnosed as oxyphilic follicular neoplasms on cytology, surgical indications are tumors with US class ≥3, tumor size >4 cm, and Tg >500 ng/dL (with negative Tg-antibody). It is not appropriate to perform surgery for all cases for a precise histological classification, unlike the BSRTC recommendation.
21-hydroxylase deficiency (21-OHD) is the most common type of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. In addition to the clinical problems caused by adrenal insufficiency and androgen excess, a risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome during young adulthood is a major ramification of the disease. Although glucocorticoid therapy is very likely to be one of the contributory factors, the precise causes of the metabolic status of adult 21-OHD patients remain to be clarified. Previously we reported that 21-OHD patients developed early onset AR, a condition which might create a risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome in adulthood. In order to elucidate the association between the onset of AR and factors during the fetal period to early infancy, we conducted a retrospective longitudinal analysis of 29 21-OHD patients (male: 14 cases, female: 15 cases, salt wasting type: 16, simple virilizing type: 13), who were identified by newborn screening and followed up at least until the age 10 years. Body size at birth, lower body weight, and lower BMI were found to precipitate the timing of AR. On the other hand, no significant association was observed between the timing of AR and sex, gestational age, treatment regimen (including cumulative dose of HDC), and disease severity (the type of the disease, the value of DHEA-S and 17-OHP). There are two points to consider: first, in 21-OHD patients treated with glucocorticoid substitution therapy, the risk for early AR cannot be reduced by adjusting the dose of glucocorticoid; second, fetal factors might affect the metabolic status of 21-OHD patients.
Amount of fat consumption has gradually increased among Koreans, which is relatively lower than western countries. In the current study, we examined the association between dietary fat and metabolic syndrome (MetS) prevalence among Korean adults. 3,212 participants who are aged 30-74 years from the Korea National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (KNHANES) VI (2013) were included for cross-sectional analyses. Dietary intake data was assessed using 24-hour recall method, and MetS was defined using guideline of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment panel III (NCEP-ATP III). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to estimate MetS odds ratios, using nutrient density model, according to 5% percent unit of dietary fat intake. The prevalence of MetS was significantly associated with dietary intake of total fat and saturated fatty acid (SFA) after adjustment (odds ratio [OR] 0.984 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.972-0.996; OR 0.946 95% CI 0.915-0.979). When dietary intake of total fat and SFA were substituted for carbohydrate (CHO), ORs for MetS were 0.985 (95% CI 0.972-0.998) and 0.948 (95% CI 0.907-0.990), respectively, after adjusting for potential covariates. In summary, MetS was significantly associated with dietary intakes of total fat and SFA, and when substituting dietary fat for carbohydrate among Koreans.
In cases of thyroid papillary carcinoma, a less aggressive cancer, surgeons may hesitate to perform total thyroidectomy on patients with poor general condition because these may experience longer survival without undergoing surgery. To investigate the influence of general patient condition on the patients’ survival who received total thyroidectomy, we utilized the American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status (ASA-PS). We retrospectively reviewed all patients undergoing total thyroidectomy under general anesthesia and graded by ASA-PS between 2004 and 2014. Patients with anaplastic carcinoma and metastatic thyroid renal cell carcinoma were excluded. There were 77 (30%), 149 (58%), and 30 (12%) ASA-PS 1, 2, and 3 cases, respectively. Patient age increased significantly with increasing ASA-PS score (median age of 53, 64, and 71 years for ASA-PS 1, 2, and 3). Hospitalization periods extended significantly for patients with ASA-PS 3. Twenty patients died during the study (3.89 median years). Five-year overall survival rates were 100%, 93%, and 79% for ASA-PS 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Patients in the ASA-PS 1 group had significantly better prognosis by log-rank test. Univariate analysis showed an increased risk of death as ASA-PS score increased (hazard ratio: 3.03, 95% confidence interval: 1.55-5.92, p=0.00). In multivariate analysis, including patient age and presence of malignancy, patient age was the only significant predictor of overall survival (hazard ratio: 1.09 by year, 95% confidence interval: 1.03-1.14, p=0.00). We concluded that a high ASA-PS score should not inhibit performance of total thyroidectomy if a patient’s age is suitable for the surgery.
The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of maternal oral exposure to the antibacterial Triclosan (TCS) during gestation and lactation on the metabolic status of the adult offspring and on the expression of main genes controlling the appetite regulatory network. Pregnant rats were fed ad-libitum with ground food + TCS (1 mg/kg) from day 14 of gestation to day 20 of lactation (n=3) or ground food (n=3). After litter reduction, 12 males and 12 females born from the TCS exposed rats (TCS, n=24) or not (Control, n=24) were used to evaluate monthly body weight, food intake, plasma levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides, and the hypothalamic mRNA expression of agouti-related protein (Agrp), neuropeptide Y (Npy) and propiomelanocortin (Pomc). Body weight for rats in the TCS group was 12.5% heavier for males at 4 months (p<0.001) and 19% heavier for females at 8 months (p=0.01). Food intake was significantly higher for rats in the TCS group at 5 months of age (p<0.01). Cholesterol and glucose levels were significantly higher for rats in the TCS group at 8 months (p<0.05). mRNA expression of Npy and Agrp were significantly increased in hypothalami of rats in the TCS group at 2 months for males or 8 months for females (p<0.05). In conclusion, low doses of oral TCS consumption by the pregnant and lactating dam increase the hypothalamic expression of the orexigenic neuropeptides Npy and Agrp in the offspring and alter their metabolic status during adulthood, resembling development of the metabolic syndrome.
It is shown that glucocorticoids have discordant effects on plasma glucose concentration through their effects on hepatic glycogen deposition, gluconeogenesis and peripheral insulin resistance. Cushing’s syndrome caused by cortisol overproduction is frequently accompanied with diabetes mellitus, but fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and post-glucose load plasma glucose levels are not examined in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. The aim of this study was to investigate FPG, HbA1c and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) 2-h PG and their relationship in patients with Cushing’s syndrome, in comparison with control subjects. Sixteen patients with Cushing’s syndrome (ACTH-dependent 31%, ACTH-independent 69% and diabetes mellitus 50%) and 64 controls (32 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and 32 non-diabetic subjects matched for age, sex and BMI) were enrolled in this study. HbA1c and FPG in the patients with Cushing’s syndrome were not different from the controls, whereas the FPG/HbA1c ratio was significantly lower in the patients with Cushing’s syndrome than the controls. OGTT 2-h PG was significantly higher in the non-diabetic patients with Cushing’s syndrome than the non-diabetic controls, while HbA1c was not different between both groups and FPG was significantly lower in the patients with Cushing’s syndrome than the controls. HOMA-β but not HOMA-R was significantly higher in the patients with Cushing’s syndrome than the controls. In conclusion, FPG was rather lower in the patients with Cushing’s syndrome than the controls. Postprandial PG or post-glucose loaded PG, but not FPG, is useful to evaluate the abnormality of glucose metabolism in patients with Cushing’s syndrome.