Insulin controls hepatic glucose production (HGP) and maintains glucose homeostasis through the direct action of hepatic insulin receptors, as well as the indirect action of insulin receptors in the central nervous system. Insulin acts on insulin receptors in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, activates ATP-sensitive potassium channels in a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent manner, induces hyperpolarization of the hypothalamic neurons, and regulates HGP via the vagus nerve. In the liver, central insulin action augments IL-6 expression in Kupffer cells and activates STAT3 transcription factors in hepatocytes. Activated STAT3 suppresses the gene expression of gluconeogenic enzymes, thereby reducing HGP. It has become evident that nutrients such as glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids act upon the hypothalamus together with insulin, affecting HGP. On the other hand, HGP control by central insulin action is impeded in obesity and impeded by insulin resistance due to disturbance of PI3K signaling and inflammation in the hypothalamus or inhibition of STAT3 signaling in the liver. Although the mechanism of control of hepatic gluconeogenic gene expression by central insulin action is conserved across species, its importance in human glucose metabolism has not been made entirely clear and its elucidation is anticipated in the future.
Oxidative stress has a bidirectional role in the development and maturation of zygotes and embryos. Reduction-oxidation reactions and regulatory proteins, such as thioredoxin (TRX) and thioredoxin reductase (TRXR), are intimately involved in the regulation of oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to determine the levels of TRX mRNA and protein in ovarian follicles collected from women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and to assess these levels relative to follicle size, presence of oocytes, and responsiveness to superovulation. Follicular fluid (FF) and/or granulosa cells (GCs) from large and small follicles were collected at the time of ovum pick-up from 42 IVF patients enrolled in this study. We divided the patients into normal and poor responders (NR and PR, respectively) based on the serum estradiol levels on the day of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) administration. We also compared the TRX concentration in FF (FF-TRX) between oocyte-containing follicles (Oc+) and empty follicles (Oc-). The transcript levels of TRX, but not TRXR, were significantly higher in GCs derived from follicles collected from NR than PR, as determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis. In NR, the FF-TRX was significantly higher in Oc+ follicles than in Oc- follicles and also in large Oc+ follicles than in large Oc- follicles. Unlike NR, PR exhibited no positive association with elevated FF-TRX and presence of oocytes. Based on its collective anti-oxidative, cytoprotective, and cytokine-like properties of TRX, TRX is likely to be involved in the optimal growth and maturation of ovarian follicles and responsiveness to hyperstimulation.
In the event of a nuclear power plant accident, prophylactic administration of potassium iodide (KI) is recommended to prevent thyroid damage due to uptake of radioiodine. To assess the inhibitory effect of low-dose inorganic iodine on thyroidal radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) in healthy adults without dietary iodine restriction, single or repeated doses of 10 mg inorganic iodine solution were given to 22 Japanese volunteers, 18 men and 4 women with the mean age of 35.7 years, between 2011 and 2013. Changes in urinary iodine excretion, thyroid function and 24-hour RAIU were also evaluated. The median 24-hour RAIU without iodine restriction was 13 % (range, 5-26 %). A single-dose of 10 mg inorganic iodine suppressed the median 24-hour RAIU measured one hour after iodine administration to 3 % (range, 1-7 %) and, in 90.9% of 22 participants their 24-hour RAIU was < 5 %. For seven participants given 10 mg of inorganic iodine daily for 14 days, the median 24-hour RAIU measured at 24 hours after the last administration of iodine was 6 % (range, 2-12 %), although the inhibitory effect was diminished in two participants. Serum thyroid stimulating hormone concentration was slightly elevated in three participants without decreased serum FT3 and FT4 levels. We conclude that a single-dose of 10 mg inorganic iodine is sufficient to inhibit RAIU in adults, although the inhibitory effect of repeated-dose on RAIU is diminished when KI is given once daily. The dose, duration or interval of iodine administration should be evaluated in iodine-sufficient regions in a future.
The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical and endocrinological characteristics of adrenal incidentalomas in Osaka region, Japan. The study was a multicenter retrospective analysis of 150 patients with adrenal incidentalomas who underwent radiographic and endocrine evaluations between 2005 and 2013. Most adrenal incidentalomas were discovered by computed tomography (77.0%) and the rest were identified by abdominal ultrasonography (14.6%), magnetic resonance imaging (4.2%), or positron emission tomography (4.2%). Adrenal incidentalomas were more frequently localized on the left side than on the right. The average diameter of tumors was 21 ± 11 mm. On endocrinological evaluation, 14 patients were diagnosed with primary aldosteronism (9.3%), 10 with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome (6.7%), 7 with pheochromocytoma (4.7%), 7 with Cushing’s syndrome (4.7%), 2 with both subclinical Cushing’s syndrome and primary aldosteronism (1.3%), and 110 with non-functioning tumors (73.3%). Patients with functioning tumors were significantly younger and had larger tumor diameters than those with non-functioning tumors. Except for hypertension, complications were comparable between patients with functioning and non-functioning tumors, including the presence of glucose intolerance, cardiovascular disease, and dyslipidemia. In conclusion, a higher prevalence of primary aldosteronism was observed compared with a previous report. Complications were comparable between patients with functioning and non-functioning tumors, including the frequencies of glucose intolerance, cardiovascular disease, and dyslipidemia. Long-term follow-up is required in patients with non-functioning tumors because the frequency of complications, such as glucose intolerance, cardiovascular disease, and dyslipidemia, was equal to that in patients with functioning tumors.
Nesfatin-1, an anorexigenic peptide derived from nucleobindin 2 (NUCB2), is closely involved in feeding behavior, glycometabolism, and satiety regulation. Some studies show that NUCB2/nesfatin-1 is highly expressed and interacts with many appetite-regulating peptides that are co-expressed in the gastrointestinal tract. However, it remains unclear whether nesfatin-1 is expressed and interacts similarly in taste buds. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a well-known appetite down-regulating peptide, is associated with changes in the expression of nesfatin-1. Therefore, we measured the expression of the NUCB2 gene and the distribution of nesfatin-1-immunoreactive cells and investigated whether these variables change in taste buds of circumvallate papillae (CV) from rats with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) after treatment with liraglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist. The results showed that nesfatin-1 immunoreactive cells were localized in the taste buds of rat CV. Quantitative RT-PCR showed a significantly lower expression of NUCB2 mRNA in the taste buds of diabetic control rats (T2DM-C) than in those of the normal control group (NC) and a higher level of NUCB2 in the liraglutide treated group (T2DM + LIR) than either the T2DM-C or the NC groups. Changes in the expression of NUCB2 in the rat hypothalamus were opposite to those in CV taste buds. In summary, we found that rat CV taste buds express NUCB2/nesfatin-1, and that this expression decreases significantly in T2DM and increases after treatment with liraglutide in rat CV. This indicates that nesfatin-1 could be an important factor in the regulation of gustatory function, feeding and perhaps energy homeostasis.
Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is a clinical state caused by chronic excess of glucocorticoid, and results in hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, and dyslipidemia. Recently, a mild state of pituitary CS without typical Cushingoid appearance (subclinical Cushing’s disease; SCD) has been identified. However, the true prevalence of SCD and its effect on metabolic disorders remain obscure. The aim of this prospective study was to determine the prevalence of SCD according to the guideline proposed by the working group of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor, and to assess the outcome of surgery on metabolic disorders. The prevalence of SCD was investigated in 105 consecutive patients diagnosed with pituitary adenomas by MRI. ACTH-dependent hypercortisolism was diagnosed based on the results of the 0.5 mg dexamethasone suppression test (serum cortisol >3.0 μg/dL) plus one positive finding of the following two tests: midnight serum cortisol level >5.0 μg/dL or ACTH increase >50% after 1-deamino-5-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) challenge. The final diagnosis of SCD was established by positive staining for ACTH in surgically-excised pituitary adenoma. Three patients (4.8%) were diagnosed with SCD among 62 patients with pituitary adenoma. Transsphenoidal adenomectomy partially resulted in improvement of blood pressure and glucose metabolism in SCD patients. Our results emphasize the importance of SCD screening in patients with pituitary tumors, especially in those patients with metabolic disorders.
To investigate the differences in glycemic variability between the long-acting insulins glargine and degludec using continuous glucose monitoring, we conducted an open-label, multicenter, prospective, observational study that enrolled 21 participants with type 1 diabetes mellitus currently receiving basal-bolus insulin therapy with glargine. To avoid the potential influence of diet and exercise on glycemic control, all participants were housed and monitored within the hospital for the duration of the study. Once glycemic control was achieved with glargine, glycemic variability was evaluated using continuous glucose monitoring for 3 days. Glargine was then replaced by degludec and glycemic variability again assessed via continuous glucose monitoring. The primary outcome measure of mean amplitude of glycemic excursions was significantly reduced with degludec (p = 0.028), as was area under the curve for daily blood glucose level <70 mg/dL (p = 0.046). The required insulin dose was reduced up to 25% in the degludec group, although 24-h mean glucose concentrations were not different between groups. In conclusion, once or twice daily glargine was successfully replaced by a daily injection of degludec. When replacing glargine with degludec, a lower dose should be utilized to avoid hypoglycemia. Degludec is an effective and promising long-acting insulin that reduced hypoglycemia and daily blood glucose variability in participants with type 1 diabetes.
The prognosis of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs), including Graves’ disease (GD) and Hashimoto’s disease (HD), varies among patients. Inducible co-stimulator (ICOS) (CD278) and co-stimulator ligand (ICOSL) (CD275) are important costimulatory molecules. Their interactions play important roles in immune regulation and the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases through tuning T cell activation, differentiation and function. To clarify the association between ICOS-ICOSL signals and AITD, we genotyped single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)1 and SNP2 in the ICOS gene and SNP1, SNP2 and SNP3 in the ICOSL gene in 239 HD patients, 232 GD patients, and 129 healthy volunteers (control subjects). There were no differences in genotype and allele frequencies among the three groups, although the frequencies of the AA genotype and A allele of ICOSL SNP2 (rs15927) were slightly, but not significantly, higher in patients with GD, intractable GD, and severe HD than in controls. The mRNA levels of ICOSL were also slightly, but not significantly, lower in individuals with the AA genotype of ICOSL SNP2 than in those with the AG+GG genotypes. In conclusion, the ICOS and ICOSL SNPs examined in this study do not have an apparent effect on the disease susceptibility and prognosis of AITDs.
Although lower extremity arterial disease is frequently accompanied by diabetes mellitus, the association of circulating biomarkers with flow components during the cardiac cycle in lower-leg arteries has yet to be fully elucidated. We enrolled 165 type 2 diabetic patients with normal ankle-brachial index (ABI 1.0-1.4), comprising 106 normoalbuminuric and 59 microalbuminuric patients, and 40 age-matched nondiabetic subjects consecutively admitted to our hospital. Serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) level and plasma von Willebrand factor ristocetin cofactor activity (VWF) and vasoconstrictor serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) concentrations were measured. An automatic device was used to measure ABI and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV). Flow components during the cardiac cycle, total flow volume, and resistive index at popliteal artery were evaluated using gated magnetic resonance imaging. Although estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), early diastolic flow reversal, heart rate, and ABI were similar between the groups, diabetic patients had higher log hsCRP (p<0.001), VWF (p<0.001), 5-HIAA (p=0.002), resistive index (p<0.001) and baPWV (p<0.001) and lower systolic (p=0.026) and late diastolic (p<0.001) forward flows and total flow volume (p<0.001) than nondiabetic subjects. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that 5-HIAA in microalbuminuric patients showed higher associations with systolic and late diastolic forward flows during the cardiac cycle, total flow volume and resistive index at popliteal artery, and eGFR compared to normoalbuminuric patients. In microalbuminuric patients, 5-HIAA was a significant independent determinant among these factors. Thus, increased plasma 5-HIAA levels are involved in the pathogenesis of impaired blood flow in lower extremities and renal insufficiency in diabetic patients with microalbuminuria.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is known to stimulate cortisol production in vitro, however, the effect of guanosine triphosphate (GTP) on cortisol production is not known. We studied the effect of GTP on cortisol production and investigated the regulation of intracellular signal transduction systems, including the cyclic AMP-dependent and Ca2+-messenger systems, in bovine adrenal fasciculata cells. GTP clearly induced cortisol biosynthesis but only to a level less than half the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-induced maximum. The binding site for [γ-35S]-GTPγS was shown to differ completely from that for ATP and also from those for Gs and Gi, as indicated by the fact that binding was not influenced by pretreatment with cholera toxin and pertussis toxin. GTP significantly increased cytosolic calcium ([Ca2+]i) and inositol 1, 4, 5-triphosphate without affecting cyclic AMP formation. GTP-induced cortisol production was suppressed by H-9 and Calphostin C (specific protein kinase C inhibitors) but not by H-8 and KT5720 (specific inhibitors of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase), suggesting that GTP activates cortisol biosynthesis possibly via a protein kinase C-dependent pathway. Extracellular calcium may be essential for GTP activity since GTP-induced cortisol production was almost completely suppressed in its absence. In conclusion, it can be postulated that GTP-induced steroid secretion in bovine adrenal fasciculata cells is under paracrine or autocrine control.
Pheochromocytoma (Pheo) is a chromaffin tumor arising from the adrenal medulla. The recent discovery of new germline mutations in RET, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, VHL, NF1, TMEM127, MAX genes, increased the rate of genetic disease from 10% to 28% in patients with apparently sporadic tumor. RET germline mutations cause multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 syndrome (MEN 2A) characterized by complete penetrance of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), and lower prevalence of Pheo and hyperparathyroidism. We describe the genetic etiology of an apparently sporadic case of monolateral Pheo in a 42-year-old male patient. A new (not previously reported) MEN 2A-associated germline RET mutation located in exon 11 (Glu632Gly, caused by an A>G point mutation at position 1895 of the RET cDNA) was found in the patient but not in his living first-degree relatives. This observation increases the number of possible germline RET mutations. Genotype-phenotype correlation of this new genetic alteration is unknown, but this rare mutation is probably associated with a low risk for MTC (usually the first tumor diagnosed in MEN 2A syndrome) and with the development of Pheo before the onset of MTC. Since we expect MTC to occur in our patient, strict follow-up is mandatory. Our findings emphasize the relevance of genetic testing in patients with Pheo, especially when the clinical presentation (family history, young age at diagnosis, multiple locations, malignant lesions, and bilateralism) is suggestive.
Although numerous, human subject studies evaluating the relationship between circulating ghrelin levels and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) risk have yielded inconsistent findings. We aimed to quantitatively assess the association by summarizing all available evidence from human subject studies. The PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched up to February 2015 for eligible studies. Studies were eligible if they reported circulating ghrelin levels in women with PCOS and healthy women controls. A fixed or random-effects model was used to pool risk estimations. Twenty studies including 894 PCOS patients and 574 controls were included in the meta-analysis. The studies had fair methodological quality. The pooling analysis of all available studies revealed that ghrelin levels were significantly lower in PCOS patients than in controls, with standardized mean difference of -0.40 (95% CI: -0.73, -0.08). The significant association persisted in many subgroup strata. However, the heterogeneity across studies was considerable and not eliminated in subgroup analyses. Meta-regression analysis further suggested that the heterogeneity might be relevant to variability in study location, PCOS relevant factors like HOMA-IR ratio, as well as other factors not assessed. In conclusion, our meta-analysis suggested that ghrelin levels were significantly lower in PCOS patients than in controls. Further studies with large sample sizes are warranted to replicate our findings.
Though recommended for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth to improve perinatal outcomes, antenatal corticosteroid (ACS) treatment can cause maternal hyperglycemia, especially in cases of glucose intolerance. A standardized protocol for preventing hyperglycemia during ACS treatment remains to be established. We herein retrospectively investigated the time-dependent changes in insulin dose required for maternal glycemic control during ACS treatment in gestational diabetes (GDM). Twelve singleton pregnant women with GDM who received 12 mg of betamethasone intramuscularly twice 24 hours apart were included in this analysis. Of those, eight also received ritodrine hydrochloride for preterm labor. The blood glucose levels were maintained at 70-120 mg/dL with continuous intravenous infusion of insulin and nothing by mouth for 48 hours after the first betamethasone administration. After the first dose of betamethasone, the insulin dosage needed for glycemic control gradually increased and reached a maximum (6.6 ± 5.8 units/hr) at 10 hours, then, decreased to 4.1 ± 1.5 units/hr at 24 hours. Similar changes in the insulin requirement were found after the second betamethasone dose (the maximum insulin dosage: 5.5 ± 1.6 units/hr at 9 hours following the second administration). Women treated with ritodrine hydrochloride needed more insulin, than those without ritodrine hydrochloride treatment (130.8 ± 15.0 vs. 76.8 ± 15.2 units/day, respectively, p < 0.05). Our data indicated that the requirement for insulin is highest 9-10 hours after each dose of betamethasone. When GDM is treated with ACS, levels of blood glucose should be carefully monitored, especially in patients treated with ritodrine hydrochloride.