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Volume 39(3); June 2024
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Review Articles
Calcium & bone metabolism
Osteocalcin: Beyond Bones
Jakub Krzysztof Nowicki, Elżbieta Jakubowska-Pietkiewicz
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):399-406.   Published online May 28, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1895
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Apart from basic roles such as supporting the body, protecting internal organs, and storing calcium, the skeletal system also performs hormonal functions. In recent years, several reports have been published on proteins secreted by bones and their impact on the homeostasis of the entire body. These proteins include fibroblast growth factor 23, sclerostin, lipocalin 2, and osteocalcin. Osteocalcin, the most abundant non-collagenous protein in bone tissue, is routinely measured as a clinical marker for diagnosing bone metabolism disorders. Its molecule undergoes numerous transformations, with decarboxylation being the critical process. Decarboxylation occurs in the acidic environment typical of bone resorption, facilitating the release of the molecule into the bloodstream and enabling its hormonal action. Decarboxylated osteocalcin promotes insulin secretion and stimulates the proliferation of pancreatic islet β-cells. It also plays a role in reducing the accumulation of visceral fat and decreasing fat storage in the liver. Furthermore, decarboxylated osteocalcin levels are inversely correlated with fasting serum glucose levels, total body fat, visceral fat area, and body mass index. Apart from its role in energy metabolism, osteocalcin affects testosterone production and the synthesis of glucagon-like peptide-1. It is also actively involved in muscle-bone crosstalk and influences cognitive function.
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Calcium & bone metabolism
Roles of Parathyroid Hormone and Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 in Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease
Yosuke Nakagawa, Hirotaka Komaba
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):407-415.   Published online May 16, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2024.1978
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) each play a central role in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease (CKD)-mineral and bone disorder. Levels of both hormones increase progressively in advanced CKD and can lead to damage in multiple organs. Secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), characterized by parathyroid hyperplasia with increased PTH secretion, is associated with fractures and mortality. Emerging evidence suggests that these associations may be partially explained by PTH-induced browning of adipose tissue and increased energy expenditure. Observational studies suggest a survival benefit of PTHlowering therapy, and a recent study comparing parathyroidectomy and calcimimetics further suggests the importance of intensive PTH control. The mechanisms underlying the regulation of FGF23 secretion by osteocytes in response to phosphate load have been unclear, but recent experimental studies have identified glycerol-3-phosphate, a byproduct of glycolysis released by the kidney, as a key regulator of FGF23 production. Elevated FGF23 levels have been shown to be associated with mortality, and experimental data suggest off-target adverse effects of FGF23. However, the causal role of FGF23 in adverse outcomes in CKD patients remains to be established. Further studies are needed to determine whether intensive SHPT control improves clinical outcomes and whether treatment targeting FGF23 can improve patient outcomes.
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Diabetes, obesity and metabolism
Artificial Intelligence Applications in Diabetic Retinopathy: What We Have Now and What to Expect in the Future
Mingui Kong, Su Jeong Song
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):416-424.   Published online June 10, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1913
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a major complication of diabetes mellitus and is a leading cause of vision loss globally. A prompt and accurate diagnosis is crucial for ensuring favorable visual outcomes, highlighting the need for increased access to medical care. The recent remarkable advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have raised high expectations for its role in disease diagnosis and prognosis prediction across various medical fields. In addition to achieving high precision comparable to that of ophthalmologists, AI-based diagnosis of DR has the potential to improve medical accessibility, especially through telemedicine. In this review paper, we aim to examine the current role of AI in the diagnosis of DR and explore future directions.
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Thyroid
Metabolic Reprogramming in Thyroid Cancer
Sang-Hyeon Ju, Minchul Song, Joung Youl Lim, Yea Eun Kang, Hyon-Seung Yi, Minho Shong
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):425-444.   Published online June 10, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1802
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Thyroid cancer is a common endocrine malignancy with increasing incidence globally. Although most cases can be treated effectively, some cases are more aggressive and have a higher risk of mortality. Inhibiting RET and BRAF kinases has emerged as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of thyroid cancer, particularly in cases of advanced or aggressive disease. However, the development of resistance mechanisms may limit the efficacy of these kinase inhibitors. Therefore, developing precise strategies to target thyroid cancer cell metabolism and overcome resistance is a critical area of research for advancing thyroid cancer treatment. In the field of cancer therapeutics, researchers have explored combinatorial strategies involving dual metabolic inhibition and metabolic inhibitors in combination with targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy to overcome the challenge of metabolic plasticity. This review highlights the need for new therapeutic approaches for thyroid cancer and discusses promising metabolic inhibitors targeting thyroid cancer. It also discusses the challenges posed by metabolic plasticity in the development of effective strategies for targeting cancer cell metabolism and explores the potential advantages of combined metabolic targeting.
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Editorials
Calcium & bone metabolism
Insights from Decades of Supplementing Calcium and Vitamin D
Sung Hye Kong
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):445-447.   Published online May 23, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2024.2016
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Diabetes, obesity and metabolism
Lipid Swings Provoke Vascular Inflammation
Jae-Han Jeon
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):448-449.   Published online June 24, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2024.302
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Original Articles
Thyroid
Diagnostic Accuracy of Preoperative Radiologic Findings in Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma: Discrepancies with the Postoperative Pathologic Diagnosis and Implications for Clinical Outcomes
Ying Li, Seul Ki Kwon, Hoonsung Choi, Yoo Hyung Kim, Sunyoung Kang, Kyeong Cheon Jung, Jae-Kyung Won, Do Joon Park, Young Joo Park, Sun Wook Cho
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):450-460.   Published online May 27, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1872
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary MaterialPubReader   ePub   
Background
The diagnostic accuracy of preoperative radiologic findings in predicting the tumor characteristics and clinical outcomes of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) was evaluated across all risk groups.
Methods
In total, 939 PTMC patients, comprising both low-risk and non-low-risk groups, who underwent surgery were enrolled. The preoperative tumor size and lymph node metastasis (LNM) were evaluated by ultrasonography within 6 months before surgery and compared with the postoperative pathologic findings. Discrepancies between the preoperative and postoperative tumor sizes were analyzed, and clinical outcomes were assessed.
Results
The agreement rate between radiological and pathological tumor size was approximately 60%. Significant discrepancies were noted, including an increase in tumor size in 24.3% of cases. Notably, in 10.8% of patients, the postoperative tumor size exceeded 1 cm, despite being initially classified as 0.5 to 1.0 cm based on preoperative imaging. A postoperative tumor size >1 cm was associated with aggressive pathologic factors such as multiplicity, microscopic extrathyroidal extension, and LNM, as well as a higher risk of distant metastasis. In 30.1% of patients, LNM was diagnosed after surgery despite not being suspected before the procedure. This group was characterized by smaller metastatic foci and lower risks of distant metastasis or recurrence than patients with LNM detected both before and after surgery.
Conclusion
Among all risk groups of PTMCs, a subset showed an increase in tumor size, reaching 1 cm after surgery. These cases require special consideration due to their association with adverse clinical outcomes, including an elevated risk of distant metastasis.
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Thyroid
Clinical Manifestations of Malignant Struma Ovarii: A Retrospective Case Series in a Tertiary Hospital in Korea
Hyun Jin Ryu, Da Eun Leem, Ji Hyun Yoo, Tae Hyuk Kim, Sun Wook Kim, Jae Hoon Chung
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):461-467.   Published online May 9, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1863
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Background
Malignant struma ovarii (MSO) is a very rare disease in which thyroid cancer originates from the ovary. Because it is rare for endocrinologists to encounter patients with MSO, endocrinologists may have a limited understanding of the disease. Therefore, we analyzed and introduced its incidence and clinical course in a tertiary hospital in Korea.
Methods
We retrospectively investigated the clinical data of 170 patients who underwent surgery for struma ovarii at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Samsung Medical Center from 1994 to May 2023.
Results
Among 170 patients with struma ovarii, 15 (8.8%) were diagnosed with MSO. The median age of patients with MSO was 48 years (range, 30 to 74), and the median tumor size was 3.3 cm (range, 0.5 to 11.0). Papillary thyroid carcinoma (46.7%) was the most common subtypes followed by follicular thyroid carcinoma (26.7%). All patients were diagnosed after surgery, with no predictions from preoperative imaging. The surgical extent of gynecological surgery was variable. Four patients (26.7%) underwent thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer, while one underwent total thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine therapy for MSO with peritoneal metastasis. Except for one patient who underwent hemithyroidectomy, thyroid stimulating hormone suppression therapy was performed in four patients. Only 53% of MSO patients were consulted by an endocrinologist. With a median follow-up period of 33 months (range, 4 to 156), 11 patients remained disease-free, one experienced progression with peritoneal seeding, and the remaining one was in treatment. There have been no recurrences or deaths due to MSO.
Conclusion
An endocrinologist should be involved in establishing a therapeutic plan for MSO, for which the overall prognosis is generally favorable.
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Thyroid
Utilizing Immunoglobulin G4 Immunohistochemistry for Risk Stratification in Patients with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Associated with Hashimoto Thyroiditis
Faridul Haq, Gyeongsin Park, Sora Jeon, Mitsuyoshi Hirokawa, Chan Kwon Jung
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):468-478.   Published online May 20, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2024.1923
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Background
Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) is suspected to correlate with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) development. While some HT cases exhibit histologic features of immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related disease, the relationship of HT with PTC progression remains unestablished.
Methods
This cross-sectional study included 426 adult patients with PTC (≥1 cm) undergoing thyroidectomy at an academic thyroid center. HT was identified based on its typical histologic features. IgG4 and IgG immunohistochemistry were performed. Wholeslide images of immunostained slides were digitalized. Positive plasma cells per 2 mm2 were counted using QuPath and a pre-trained deep learning model. The primary outcome was tumor structural recurrence post-surgery.
Results
Among the 426 PTC patients, 79 were diagnosed with HT. With a 40% IgG4 positive/IgG plasma cell ratio as the threshold for diagnosing IgG4-related disease, a cutoff value of >150 IgG4 positive plasma cells per 2 mm2 was established. According to this criterion, 53% (43/79) of HT patients were classified as IgG4-related. The IgG4-related HT subgroup presented a more advanced cancer stage than the IgG4-non-related HT group (P=0.038). The median observation period was 109 months (range, 6 to 142). Initial assessment revealed 43 recurrence cases. Recurrence-free survival periods showed significant (P=0.023) differences, with patients with IgG4 non-related HT showing the longest period, followed by patients without HT and those with IgG4-related HT.
Conclusion
This study effectively stratified recurrence risk in PTC patients based on HT status and IgG4-related subtypes. These findings may contribute to better-informed treatment decisions and patient care strategies.
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Diabetes, obesity and metabolism
Impact of Antidiabetic Drugs on Clinical Outcomes of COVID-19: A Nationwide Population-Based Study
Han Na Jang, Sun Joon Moon, Jin Hyung Jung, Kyung-Do Han, Eun-Jung Rhee, Won-Young Lee
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):479-488.   Published online January 29, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1857
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Background
Inconsistent results have been reported regarding the association between the use of antidiabetic drugs and the clinical outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to investigate the effect of antidiabetic drugs on COVID-19 outcomes in patients with diabetes using data from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) in South Korea.
Methods
We analyzed the NHIS data of patients aged ≥20 years who tested positive for COVID-19 and were taking antidiabetic drugs between December 2019 and June 2020. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 based on the use of antidiabetic drugs.
Results
A total of 556 patients taking antidiabetic drugs tested positive for COVID-19, including 271 male (48.7%), most of whom were in their sixties. Of all patients, 433 (77.9%) were hospitalized, 119 (21.4%) received oxygen treatment, 87 (15.6%) were admitted to the intensive care unit, 31 (5.6%) required mechanical ventilation, and 61 (11.0%) died. Metformin was significantly associated with the lower risks of mechanical ventilation (odds ratio [OR], 0.281; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.109 to 0.720; P=0.008), and death (OR, 0.395; 95% CI, 0.182 to 0.854; P=0.018). Dipeptidylpeptidase-4 inhibitor (DPP-4i) were significantly associated with the lower risks of oxygen treatment (OR, 0.565; 95% CI, 0.356 to 0.895; P=0.015) and death (OR, 0.454; 95% CI, 0.217 to 0.949; P=0.036). Sulfonylurea was significantly associated with the higher risk of mechanical ventilation (OR, 2.579; 95% CI, 1.004 to 6.626; P=0.049).
Conclusion
In patients with diabetes and COVID-19, metformin exhibited reduced risks of mechanical ventilation and death, DPP- 4i was linked with lower risks of oxygen treatment and death, while sulfonylurea was related to the increased risk of mechanical ventilation.
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Diabetes, obesity and metabolism
Reference Standards for C-Peptide in Korean Population: A Korean Endocrine Hormone Reference Standard Data Center Study
Jooyoung Cho, Ho-Chan Cho, Ohk-Hyun Ryu, Hyo-Jeong Kim, Chang Geun Kim, Young Ran Yun, Choon Hee Chung, on Behalf of the Task Force Team for Korean Hormone Reference Standards
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):489-499.   Published online May 9, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1888
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary MaterialPubReader   ePub   
Background
The Korean Endocrine Hormone Reference Standard Data Center (KEHRS DC) has created reference standards (RSs) for endocrine hormones since 2020. This study is the first of its kind, wherein the KEHRS DC established RSs for serum Cpeptide levels in a healthy Korean population.
Methods
Healthy Korean adults were recruited from May 2021 to September 2023. After excluding participants according to our criteria, serum samples were collected; each participant could then choose between fasting glucose only or fasting glucose plus an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). If their sample showed high glucose (≥100 mg/dL) or hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (≥5.70%), their C-peptide levels were excluded from analyzing the RSs.
Results
A total of 1,532 participants were recruited; however, only the data of 1,050 participants were analyzed after excluding those whose samples showed hyperglycemia or high HbA1c. Post-30-minute OGTT data from 342 subjects and post-120-minute OGTT data from 351 subjects were used. The means±2 standard deviations and expanded uncertainties of fasting, post-30-minute and 120-minute OGTT C-peptide levels were 1.26±0.82 and 0.34–3.18, 4.74±3.57 and 1.14–8.33, and 4.85±3.58 and 1.25–8.34 ng/mL, respectively. Serum C-peptide levels correlated with obesity, serum glucose levels, and HbA1c levels.
Conclusion
The RSs for serum C-peptide levels established in this study are expected to be useful in both clinical and related fields.
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Calcium & bone metabolism
End-to-End Semi-Supervised Opportunistic Osteoporosis Screening Using Computed Tomography
Jieun Oh, Boah Kim, Gyutaek Oh, Yul Hwangbo, Jong Chul Ye
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):500-510.   Published online May 9, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1860
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary MaterialPubReader   ePub   
Background
Osteoporosis is the most common metabolic bone disease and can cause fragility fractures. Despite this, screening utilization rates for osteoporosis remain low among populations at risk. Automated bone mineral density (BMD) estimation using computed tomography (CT) can help bridge this gap and serve as an alternative screening method to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).
Methods
The feasibility of an opportunistic and population agnostic screening method for osteoporosis using abdominal CT scans without bone densitometry phantom-based calibration was investigated in this retrospective study. A total of 268 abdominal CT-DXA pairs and 99 abdominal CT studies without DXA scores were obtained from an oncology specialty clinic in the Republic of Korea. The center axial CT slices from the L1, L2, L3, and L4 lumbar vertebrae were annotated with the CT slice level and spine segmentation labels for each subject. Deep learning models were trained to localize the center axial slice from the CT scan of the torso, segment the vertebral bone, and estimate BMD for the top four lumbar vertebrae.
Results
Automated vertebra-level DXA measurements showed a mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.079, Pearson’s r of 0.852 (P<0.001), and R2 of 0.714. Subject-level predictions on the held-out test set had a MAE of 0.066, Pearson’s r of 0.907 (P<0.001), and R2 of 0.781.
Conclusion
CT scans collected during routine examinations without bone densitometry calibration can be used to generate DXA BMD predictions.
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Miscellaneous
Lipid Variability Induces Endothelial Dysfunction by Increasing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Marie Rhee, Joonyub Lee, Eun Young Lee, Kun-Ho Yoon, Seung-Hwan Lee
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):511-520.   Published online May 16, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2023.1915
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  • 1 Web of Science
  • 2 Crossref
AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary MaterialPubReader   ePub   
Background
This study investigates the impact of fluctuating lipid levels on endothelial dysfunction.
Methods
Human aortic and umbilical vein endothelial cells were cultured under varying palmitic acid (PA) concentrations: 0, 50, and 100 μM, and in a variability group alternating between 0 and 100 μM PA every 8 hours for 48 hours. In the lipid variability group, cells were exposed to 100 μM PA during the final 8 hours before analysis. We assessed inflammation using real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and cytokine enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels with dichlorofluorescin diacetate assay; mitochondrial function through oxygen consumption rates via XF24 flux analyzer; and endothelial cell functionality via wound healing and cell adhesion assays. Cell viability was evaluated using the MTT assay.
Results
Variable PA levels significantly upregulated inflammatory genes and adhesion molecules (Il6, Mcp1, Icam, Vcam, E-selectin, iNos) at both transcriptomic and protein levels in human endothelial cells. Oscillating lipid levels reduced basal respiration, adenosine triphosphate synthesis, and maximal respiration, indicating mitochondrial dysfunction. This lipid variability also elevated ROS levels, contributing to a chronic inflammatory state. Functionally, these changes impaired cell migration and increased monocyte adhesion, and induced endothelial apoptosis, evidenced by reduced cell viability, increased BAX, and decreased BCL2 expression.
Conclusion
Lipid variability induce endothelial dysfunction by elevating inflammation and oxidative stress, providing mechanistic insights into how lipid variability increases cardiovascular risk.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Can Daily Dietary Choices Have a Cardioprotective Effect? Food Compounds in the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiometabolic Diseases
    Elżbieta Szczepańska, Barbara Janota, Marika Wlazło, Magdalena Gacal
    Metabolites.2024; 14(6): 296.     CrossRef
  • Lipid Swings Provoke Vascular Inflammation
    Jae-Han Jeon
    Endocrinology and Metabolism.2024; 39(3): 448.     CrossRef
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Miscellaneous
Differences in Type 2 Fiber Composition in the Vastus Lateralis and Gluteus Maximus of Patients with Hip Fractures
Jingwen Tian, Minchul Song, Kyu Jeong Cho, Ho Yeop Lee, Sang Hyeon Ju, Jung Ryul Lim, Ha Thi Nga, Thi Linh Nguyen, Ji Sun Moon, Hyo Ju Jang, Jung-Mo Hwang, Hyon-Seung Yi
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):521-530.   Published online June 11, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2024.1935
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary MaterialPubReader   ePub   
Background
Aging leads to sarcopenia, which is characterized by reduced muscle mass and strength. Many factors, including altered muscle protein turnover, diminished neuromuscular function, hormonal changes, systemic inflammation, and the structure and composition of muscle fibers, play a crucial role in age-related muscle decline. This study explored differences in muscle fiber types contributing to overall muscle function decline in aging, focusing on individuals with hip fractures from falls.
Methods
A pilot study at Chungnam National University Hospital collected muscle biopsies from hip fracture patients aged 20 to 80 undergoing surgical treatment. Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis and gluteus maximus were obtained during hip arthroplasty or internal fixation. Handgrip strength, calf and thigh circumference, and bone mineral density were evaluated in individuals with hip fractures from falls. We analyzed the relationships between each clinical characteristic and muscle fiber type.
Results
In total, 26 participants (mean age 67.9 years, 69.2% male) were included in this study. The prevalence of sarcopenia was 53.8%, and that of femoral and lumbar osteoporosis was 19.2% and 11.5%, respectively. Vastus lateralis analysis revealed an age-related decrease in type IIx fibers, a higher proportion of type IIa fibers in women, and an association between handgrip strength and type IIx fibers in men. The gluteus maximus showed no significant correlations with clinical parameters.
Conclusion
This study identified complex associations between age, sex, handgrip strength, and muscle fiber composition in hip fracture patients, offering insights crucial for targeted interventions combating age-related muscle decline and improving musculoskeletal health.
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Letter
Calcium & bone metabolism
Beyond Bone: Embracing Osteosarcopenia for Comprehensive Fracture Prevention
Beom-Jun Kim
Endocrinol Metab. 2024;39(3):531-533.   Published online May 16, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2024.2002
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Endocrinol Metab : Endocrinology and Metabolism