The Relationship of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and the Development of Insulin Resistance in Cushing’s Syndrome

Authors Ježková J, Ďurovcová V, Wenchich LHansíková H, Zeman J, Hána V, Marek J, Lacinová Z, Haluzík M, Kršek M

Received 18 March 2019

Accepted for publication 13 June 2019

Published 19 August 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1459—1471

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S209095

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Melinda Thomas

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonio Brunetti

 

Jana Ježková,1 Viktória Ďurovcová,1 Laszlo Wenchich,2,3 Hana Hansíková,3 Jiří Zeman,3Václav Hána,1 Josef Marek,1 Zdeňka Lacinová,4,5 Martin Haluzík,4,5 Michal Kršek1

1Third Department of Medicine, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic; 2Institute of Rheumatology, Prague, Czech Republic; 3Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic; 4Institute of Medical Biochemistry and Laboratory Diagnostic, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic; 5Centre for Experimental Medicine, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic

Correspondence: Jana Ježková
Third Department of Medicine, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, U Nemocnice 1128 02 Praha 2, Prague, Czech Republic
Tel +420 60 641 2613
Fax +420 22 491 9780
Email fjjezek@cmail.cz

Purpose: Cushing’s syndrome is characterized by metabolic disturbances including insulin resistance. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one pathogenic factor in the development of insulin resistance in patients with obesity. We explored whether mitochondrial dysfunction correlates with insulin resistance and other metabolic complications.

Patients and methods: We investigated the changes of mRNA expression of genes encoding selected subunits of oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS), pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and citrate synthase (CS) in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) and peripheral monocytes (PM) and mitochondrial enzyme activity in platelets of 24 patients with active Cushing’s syndrome and in 9 of them after successful treatment and 22 healthy control subjects.

Results: Patients with active Cushing’s syndrome had significantly increased body mass index (BMI), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and serum lipids relative to the control group. The expression of all investigated genes for selected mitochondrial proteins was decreased in SCAT in patients with active Cushing’s syndrome and remained decreased after successful treatment. The expression of most tested genes in SCAT correlated inversely with BMI and HOMA-IR. The expression of genes encoding selected OXPHOS subunits and CS was increased in PM in patients with active Cushing’s syndrome with a tendency to decrease toward normal levels after cure. Patients with active Cushing’s syndrome showed increased enzyme activity of complex I (NQR) in platelets.

Conclusion: Mitochondrial function in SCAT in patients with Cushing’s syndrome is impaired and only slightly affected by its treatment which may reflect ongoing metabolic disturbances even after successful treatment of Cushing’s syndrome.

Keywords: Cushing’s syndrome, insulin resistance, mitochondrial enzyme activity, gene expression

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Imaging Agent Effectively Detects, Localizes Tumors in Cushing’s Syndrome

Wannachalee T, et al. Clin Endocrinol. 2019;doi:10.1111/cen.14008.
May 20, 2019

A radioactive diagnostic agent for PET imaging effectively localized primary tumors or metastases in most adults with ectopic Cushing’s syndrome, leading to changes in clinical management for 64% of patients, according to findings from a retrospective study published in Clinical Endocrinology.

As Endocrine Today previously reported, the FDA approved the first kit for the preparation of gallium Ga-68 dotatate injection (Netspot, Advanced Accelerator Applications USA Inc.), a radioactive diagnostic agent for PET scan imaging, in June 2016. The radioactive probe is designed to help locate tumors in adult and pediatric patients with somatostatin receptor-positive neuroendocrine tumors. Ga-68 dotatate, a positron-emitting analogue of somatostatin, works by binding to the hormone.

In a retrospective review, Richard Auchus, MD, PhD, professor of pharmacology and internal medicine in the division of metabolism, endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Michigan, and colleagues analyzed data from 28 patients with ectopic Cushing’s syndrome who underwent imaging with gallium Ga-68 dotatate for identification of the primary tumor or follow-up between November 2016 and October 2018 (mean age, 50 years; 22 women). All imaging was completed at tertiary referral centers at Mayo Clinic, University of Michigan and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Researchers assessed patient demographics, imaging modalities, histopathological results and treatment data. Diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome was confirmed by clinical and hormonal evaluation. The clinical impact of gallium Ga-68 dotatate was defined as the detection of primary ectopic Cushing’s syndrome or new metastatic foci, along with changes in clinical management.

Within the cohort, 17 patients underwent imaging with gallium Ga-68 dotatate for identification of the primary tumor and 11 underwent the imaging for follow-up. Researchers found that gallium Ga-68 dotatate identified suspected primary ectopic Cushing’s syndrome in 11 of 17 patients (65%), of which seven tumors were solitary and four were metastatic. Diagnosis was confirmed by pathology in eight of the 11 patients: Five patients had a bronchial neuroendocrine tumor, one patient had a thymic tumor, one had a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, and one metastatic neuroendocrine tumor was of unknown primary origin. One patient had a false positive scan, according to researchers.

Among the 11 patients with ectopic Cushing’s syndrome who underwent gallium Ga-68 dotatate imaging to assess disease burden or recurrence, the imaging led to changes in clinical management in seven cases (64%), according to researchers.

“Our study demonstrates the high sensitivity of [gallium Ga-68 dotatate] in the localization of [ectopic Cushing’s syndrome], for both occult primary tumors and metastatic lesions,” the researchers wrote. “Importantly, the use of [gallium Ga-68 dotatate] impacted clinical management in 64% of patients with [ectopic Cushing’s syndrome] overall.”

The researchers noted that the high cost and limited availability of PET/CT imaging might preclude the widespread use of gallium Ga-68 dotatate for imaging in patients with suspected ectopic Cushing’s syndrome, and that experience with the scans remains limited vs. other imaging studies.

“Nevertheless, combing the experience of three large referral centers, our study gathers the largest number of [patients with ectopic Cushing’s syndrome] imaged with [gallium Ga-68 dotatate] to date and provides a benchmark for the utility of this diagnostic modality for this rare but highly morbid condition,” the researchers wrote. – by Regina Schaffer

DisclosuresThe authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

From https://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/online/%7B69e458a8-e9a0-4567-a786-00868118b435%7D/imaging-agent-effectively-detects-localizes-tumors-in-cushings-syndrome

Sosei Heptares Starts New Clinical Development Program

TOKYO and LONDONFeb. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Sosei Group Corporation (“the Company”; TSE: 4565), announces that the first healthy subject has been dosed with a novel small molecule HTL0030310 in a Phase I clinical study, marking the start of a new in-house clinical program targeting endocrine disorders, including Cushing’s disease.

HTL0030310 is a potent and selective agonist of the SSTR5 (somatostatin 5) receptor and the sixth molecule designed by the Company using its GPCR Structure-Based Drug Design (SBDD) platform to enter clinical development.

HTL0030310 has been designed to modulate the excess release of hormones from adenomas (benign tumors) of the pituitary gland. Highly elevated plasma levels of pituitary hormones result in a number of serious endocrine disorders, including Cushing’s Disease. Cushing’s disease is characterized by excessive cortisol release, crucial in regulating metabolism, maintaining cardiovascular function and helping the body respond to stress.

A key design feature of HTL0030310 is its significant selectivity for SSTR5 over SSTR2. This selectivity is expected to improve the balance of efficacy vs. dose-limiting side effects and therefore, presents an opportunity to develop a best-in-class medicine for patients with Cushing’s disease, in particular.

The clinical trial with HTL0030310 is a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled first-in-human study in which single ascending subcutaneous doses of HTL0030310 will be administered to healthy male and female adult subjects. The study is being conducted in the UK and will assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of HTL0030310 in up to 64 subjects. Preliminary results are expected in the second half of 2019 and will provide a first insight into the effects of HTL0030310 on the control of glucose and other endocrine hormones and the potential to target Cushing’s disease and other endocrine disorders.

Dr. Malcolm Weir, Executive VP and Chief R&D Officer, said: “HTL0030310 is a novel and highly selective molecule, and is the sixth candidate originating from our SBDD platform to advance into human trials. We are not only pleased to begin this new study but also delighted with the productivity of our unique platform to generate attractive candidates targeting GPCRs involved in multiple diseases. These candidates present new prospects for our emerging proprietary pipeline, as well as unique opportunities for partnering, and provide a solid foundation to execute our strategy.”

About Cushing’s disease

Cushing’s disease is a debilitating endocrine disorder caused by the overproduction of the hormone cortisol and is often triggered by a pituitary adenoma (benign tumour) secreting excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Cortisol has a crucial role regulating metabolism, maintaining cardiovascular function and helping the body respond to stress. Symptoms may include weight gain, central obesity, a round, red full face, severe fatigue and weakness, striae (purple stretch marks), high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. Cushing’s disease affects 10-15 million people per year, most commonly adults between 20 to 50 years and women more often than men. The first line and most common treatment approach for Cushing’s disease is surgical removal of the pituitary tumor followed by radiotherapy and drug therapy designed to reduce cortisol production.

Ref: American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 

About Sosei Heptares

We are an international biopharmaceutical group focused on the design and development of new medicines originating from its proprietary GPCR-targeted StaR® technology and structure-based drug design platform capabilities. The Company is advancing a broad and deep pipeline of partnered and wholly owned product candidates in multiple therapeutic areas, including CNS, immuno-oncology, gastroenterology, inflammation and other rare/specialty indications. Its leading clinical programs include partnered candidates aimed at the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (with Allergan) and next generation immuno-oncology approaches to treat cancer (with AstraZeneca). Our additional partners and collaborators include Novartis, Pfizer, Daiichi-Sankyo, PeptiDream, Kymab and MorphoSys. The Company is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan with R&D facilities in Cambridge, UK and Zurich, Switzerland.

“Sosei Heptares” is the corporate brand of Sosei Group Corporation, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (ticker: 4565).

For more information, please visit https://www.soseiheptares.com/

LinkedIn: @soseiheptaresco | Twitter: @soseiheptaresco | YouTube: @soseiheptaresco

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements about the discovery, development and commercialization of products. Various risks may cause Sosei Group Corporation’s actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including: adverse results in clinical development programs; failure to obtain patent protection for inventions; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties; dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and commercialize products and services; difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products and services resulting from development efforts; the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialization activities; and product initiatives by competitors. As a result of these factors, prospective investors are cautioned not to rely on any forward-looking statements. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sosei-heptares-starts-new-clinical-development-program-300798591.html

SOURCE Sosei Heptares

Mutations in Two Genes, USP48 and BRAF, Linked to Cushing’s Disease

Mutations in USP48 and BRAF genes contribute to the overproduction of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) hormone by the pituitary gland and consequent development of Cushing’s disease, a study shows, linking these genes to the disease for a first time.

The study, “Identification of recurrent USP48 and BRAF mutations in Cushing’s disease,” published in the journal Nature Communications, also identified a possible treatment for patients with BRAF-related mutations.

Cushing’s disease is a condition characterized by excessive cortisol levels that, if left untreated, can lead to serious cardiovascular problems, infections, and mood disorders. It usually arises from benign pituitary tumors that produce too much of ACTH hormone, which in turn stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol.

It is still not clear why some people develop these tumors, but studies have pointed to mutations in the USP8 gene as a possible cause. They are present in 35%–62% of all tumor cases, and influence treatment response and long-term outcomes.

But major disease drivers in people whose tumors have no evidence of  USP8 mutations are unknown. Recognizing this gap, researchers in China examined tumor tissue samples from 22 patients with pituitary ademonas but a normal USP8 gene.

Their analysis revealed four genes that were recurrently mutated, including two — BRAF and USP48 — never before reported in this disease setting. Then, looking at 91 samples from patients, researchers found BRAF mutations in 17% of cases and USP48 mutations in 23% of patients.

These mutations were also found in patients with USP8-mutant pituitary tumors, but at a much lower rate — 5.1% for BRAF and 1.2% for USP48 mutations.

However, mutations in these two genes were not seen in patients with pituitary tumors producing other hormones, suggesting they are “unique genetic signatures of [ACTH-producing] adenomas,” the researchers wrote.

The team also found that BRAF and USP48 mutations activate signaling pathways that lead to the production of proopiomelanocortin (POMC), which is the precursor of ACTH.

“ACTH overproduction is a hallmark of Cushing’s disease and appears to be frequently induced by mutations in genes that tightly regulate POMC gene transcription in the pathogenesis of this disease,” investigators wrote.

Patients with BRAF and USP48 mutations had significantly higher levels of midnight plasma ACTH and midnight serum cortisol, compared to patients without these mutations. Tumor size, however, was similar among the two groups.

Interestingly, the team found that the BRAF inhibitor Zelboraf (vemurafenib) effectively reduced ACTH production in cells from ACTH-producing pituitary tumors. Zelboraf, marketed by Genentech, is approved in the U.S. and Europe to treat cancers with BRAF mutations, and findings suggest it may be a good therapeutic candidate for some people with Cushing’s disease.

“The mutational status of BRAFUSP8, and USP48 in corticotroph adenomas may be used in the future to characterize the molecular subtypes and guide targeted molecular therapy,” the researchers suggested.

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/11/20/mutations-in-usp48-braf-genes-contribute-for-cushings-disease-study-finds/

New Phase 3 Data Further Support Recorlev’s Ability to Safely Lower Cortisol Levels in Cushing’s Patients

Strongbridge Biopharma released additional positive results from a Phase 3 trial evaluating whether the company’s investigational therapy Recorlev (levoketoconazole) is safe and effective for people with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome.

The latest results were presented in the scientific poster “Safety and Efficacy of Levoketoconazole in Cushing Syndrome:  Initial Results From the Phase 3 SONICS Study,\” at the 18th Annual Congress of the European NeuroEndocrine Association (ENEA), which took place in Wrocław, Poland, last month.

The SONICS study (NCT01838551) was a multi-center, open-label Phase 3 trial evaluating Recorlev’s safety and effectiveness in 94 patients with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome.

The trial consisted of three parts: a dose-escalation phase to determine the appropriate Recorlev dose that achieved normalization of cortisol levels; a maintenance phase in which patients received the established dose for six months; and a final extended phase, in which patients were treated with Recorlev for an additional six months, with the possibility of dose adjustments.

Its primary goal was a reduction in the levels of cortisol in the patients’ urine after six months of maintenance treatment, without any dose increase during that period. Among secondary goals was a reduction in the characteristically high risk of cardiovascular disease in these people, through the assessment of multiple cardiovascular risk markers.

Strongbridge announced top-line results of the SONICS study in August, which showed that the trial had reached its primary and secondary goals. It concluded last month.

After six months of maintenance therapy, Recorlev successfully lowered to normal the levels of cortisol in 30% of patients without a dose increase. It also led to statistically and clinically significant reductions in cardiovascular risk biomarkers, including blood sugar, cholesterol levels, body weight, and body mass index.

Maria Fleseriu, MD, director of the Oregon Health Sciences University Northwest Pituitary Center, presented additional and detailed results of SONICS at the congress.

Additional analyses showed that among the 77 patients who completed the dose-escalation phase and entered the study’s maintenance phase, 81% had their cortisol levels normalized.

At the end of the six months of maintenance treatment, 29 (53%) of the 55 patients who had their cortisol levels assessed at the beginning of the study and at the end of the maintenance phase had achieved normalization of cortisol levels, regardless of dose increase.

Among all patients who completed maintenance treatment (including patients with some missing data) and regardless of dose increase, 38% had achieved normalization of cortisol levels and 48% recorded a 50% or more decrease or normalization.

The results also highlighted that Recorlev substantially reduced patients’ cortisol levels regardless of their levels at the study’s beginning (which were on average about five-fold higher than the upper limit of normal). In those patients with the highest levels of cortisol in their urine, Recorlev led to a median reduction of more than 80%.

As previously reported, Recorlev was found to be generally well-tolerated, with no new safety concerns, and only 12 participants (12.8%) stopped treatment due to adverse events.

Ten patients had three- or five-fold increased levels of alanine aminotransferase — a liver enzyme used to assess liver damage — which were fully resolved without further complications. These liver-related adverse events “were all noted in the first 60 days, thus suggesting a timeline interval for monitoring,” Fleseriu said in a press release.

“We continue to be encouraged by the positive efficacy results of SONICS and the overall benefit-to-risk profile of Recorlev and look forward to sharing additional planned analyses from the study in the near future,” said Fredric Cohen, Strongbridge’s chief medical officer.

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/11/01/new-data-from-phase-3-trial-supports-recorlev-ability-to-safely-treat-cushings-syndrome/

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