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Ana Dugic Department for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Michael Kryk Department for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Claudia Mellenthin Department of Surgery, HFR Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

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Christoph Braig Department for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Lorenzo Catanese Department for Nephrology, Angiology and Rheumatology, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Sandy Petermann Department for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Jürgen Kothmann Department for Nephrology, Angiology and Rheumatology, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Steffen Mühldorfer Department for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Bayreuth University Hospital, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany

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Summary

Drinking fruit juice is an increasingly popular health trend, as it is widely perceived as a source of vitamins and nutrients. However, high fructose load in fruit beverages can have harmful metabolic effects. When consumed in high amounts, fructose is linked with hypertriglyceridemia, fatty liver and insulin resistance. We present an unusual case of a patient with severe asymptomatic hypertriglyceridemia (triglycerides of 9182 mg/dL) and newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus, who reported a daily intake of 15 L of fruit juice over several weeks before presentation. The patient was referred to our emergency department with blood glucose of 527 mg/dL and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) of 17.3%. Interestingly, features of diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state were absent. The patient was overweight with an otherwise unremarkable physical exam. Lipase levels, liver function tests and inflammatory markers were closely monitored and remained unremarkable. The initial therapeutic approach included i.v. volume resuscitation, insulin and heparin. Additionally, plasmapheresis was performed to prevent potentially fatal complications of hypertriglyceridemia. The patient was counseled on balanced nutrition and detrimental effects of fruit beverages. He was discharged home 6 days after admission. At a 2-week follow-up visit, his triglyceride level was 419 mg/dL, total cholesterol was 221 mg/dL and HbA1c was 12.7%. The present case highlights the role of fructose overconsumption as a contributory factor for severe hypertriglyceridemia in a patient with newly diagnosed diabetes. We discuss metabolic effects of uncontrolled fructose ingestion, as well as the interplay of primary and secondary factors, in the pathogenesis of hypertriglyceridemia accompanied by diabetes.

Learning points

  • Excessive dietary fructose intake can exacerbate hypertriglyceridemia in patients with underlying type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and absence of diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.

  • When consumed in large amounts, fructose is considered a highly lipogenic nutrient linked with postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and de novo hepatic lipogenesis (DNL).

  • Severe lipemia (triglyceride plasma level > 9000 mg/dL) could be asymptomatic and not necessarily complicated by acute pancreatitis, although lipase levels should be closely monitored.

  • Plasmapheresis is an effective adjunct treatment option for rapid lowering of high serum lipids, which is paramount to prevent acute complications of severe hypertriglyceridemia.

Open access
Carolina Chaves Serviço de Endocrinologia e Nutrição, Hospital Divino Espírito Santo de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal

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Mariana Chaves Serviço de Radiologia, Hospital Divino Espírito Santo de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal

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João Anselmo Serviço de Endocrinologia e Nutrição, Hospital Divino Espírito Santo de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal

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Rui César Serviço de Endocrinologia e Nutrição, Hospital Divino Espírito Santo de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal

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Summary

Berardinelli–Seip congenital lipodystrophy (BSCL) is a rare autosomal recessive disease, characterized by the absence of subcutaneous adipose tissue, leptin deficiency and severe metabolic complications, such as insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia. The most common mutation occurs in BCSL2 which encodes seipin, a protein involved in adipogenesis. We report a patient with BSCL who was diagnosed with diabetes at 11 years old. He was started on metformin 1000 mg twice daily, which lowered glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) to less than 7%. Four months later, HbA1c raised above 7.5%, indicating secondary failure to metformin. Therefore, we added the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARG) agonist, pioglitazone. Since then and for the last 5 years his HbA1c has been within the normal range. These findings indicate that pioglitazone should be considered as a valid alternative in the treatment of diabetes in BSCL patients. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first specific report of successful long-term treatment with pioglitazone in a patient with BSCL.

Learning points

  • Berardinelli–Seip congenital lipodystrophy (BSCL) is a recessive genetic disorder associated with severe insulin resistance and early onset diabetes, usually around puberty. Failure of oral antidiabetic medication occurs within the first years of treatment in BSCL patients.

  • When failure to achieve metabolic control with metformin occurs, pioglitazone may be a safe option, lowering insulin resistance and improving both the metabolic control and lipodystrophic phenotype.

  • Herein we show that pioglitazone can be a safe and efficient alternative in the long-term treatment of BSCL patients with diabetes.

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