Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Bomb fuse' DNA linked to health problems in Cushing's

Date:
May 5, 2014
Source:
European Society of Endocrinology
Summary:
Cushing’s syndrome patients may suffer from persistent health problems even after treatment because their DNA is unstable, according to a study. The findings could eventually lead to a new treatment for Cushing’s syndrome, as well as contributing to a wider understanding of the role of DNA maintenance in a range of common health conditions.

Cushing's syndrome patients may suffer from persistent health problems even after treatment because their DNA is unstable, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Wrocław, Poland. The findings could eventually lead to a new treatment for Cushing's syndrome, as well as contributing to a wider understanding of the role of DNA maintenance in a range of common health conditions.

Related Articles


Each year, two out of every million adults is diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome. The rare disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary or the adrenal glands that produces too much of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to health problems such as premature aging, diabetes, osteoporosis and cognitive difficulties. The condition can be managed by reducing cortisol levels through surgery, medication, or radiotherapy. In spite of this, most health complications of Cushing's syndrome are not completely reversible even when cortisol levels are managed.

Patients with chronic stress or depression exhibit high levels of cortisol and are known to have shortened DNA sequences on the ends of their chromosomes. These sequences, known as telomeres, are like a bomb fuse -- they become shorter every time a cell divides. Eventually they become so short that the cell is unable to divide and subsequently dies. This shortening process is associated with aging.

In this study, researchers from the Hospital Sant Pau and CIBERER Unit 747 of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona compared the telomere length of 77 Cushing's patients with 77 healthy individuals. As expected, the researchers found that older patients had shorter telomeres. No differences were observed between both Cushing's syndrome and control patients. However, three years after being cured, researchers noticed that in a small group of Cushing's syndrome patients telomere length had actually increased, even though they normally get shorter with time.

The findings open up an exciting new avenue for research. "We've seen that the cells of Cushing's patients struggle to maintain their DNA stability," said Dr Anna Aulinas, endocrinologist and lead author of the study. "We don't know why this happens, but this DNA instability could be implicated in the health complications suffered by Cushing's patients after treatment. We believe that telomere biology might play a role in the origin of these complications. This study is an important step in helping us identify new therapeutic targets."

The researchers now plan on recruiting more patients to test whether their findings are also observed in larger groups. They will also look more closely at the role of the enzymes responsible for maintaining telomeres in Cushing's patients, which could also have wider significance. "Telomere biology is a really exciting area of research as it affects so many fundamental biological processes. In other diseases, such as certain cancers and cardiovascular disease, research is devoted to look for new drugs and therapies to maintain and repair the telomere machinery and dynamics. Our work could therefore be an additional piece of the puzzle."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Endocrinology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Society of Endocrinology. "'Bomb fuse' DNA linked to health problems in Cushing's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505211240.htm>.
European Society of Endocrinology. (2014, May 5). 'Bomb fuse' DNA linked to health problems in Cushing's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505211240.htm
European Society of Endocrinology. "'Bomb fuse' DNA linked to health problems in Cushing's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505211240.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins