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Cerebral hypothyroidism in rats with adult-onset iodine deficiency

AuthorsObregón, María Jesús; Santisteban, Pilar CSIC ORCID; Rodríguez-Peña, Ángeles CSIC ORCID; Pascual, Ángel CSIC; Cartagena, P.; Ruiz-Marcos, Antonio; Lamas, Luis; Escobar del Rey, Francisco; Morreale de Escobar, Gabriella CSIC
Issue Date1984
PublisherEndocrine Society
CitationEndocrinology 115(2): 614-624 (1984)
AbstractRats fed chronically a low iodine diet may have low serum T4 and high circulating TSH, despite normal serum T3. As the brain depends to a great extent on intracellular generation of T3 from T4 for its total and nuclear T3, we have carried out two experiments to determine whether the brain of iodine-deficient rats may become hypothyroid, despite normal serum T3 levels. In both experiments we confirmed previous data, showing that the pituitary and liver of iodine-deficient rats with very low plasma T4 levels are hypothyroid as compared to those of animals receiving the same diet supplemented with KI, though not as markedly as animals which had undetectable circulating levels of both T4 and T3 as a consequence of chronic ingestion of KClO4 -, or of surgical thyroidectomy. We have further found that the nuclear T3 content was decreased in the brain of iodine-deficient rats, as compared with the animals on the iodine-supplemented diet. The nuclear to plasma ratios of labeled T3 showed that the uptake of this hormone into liver and brain nuclei is not decreased in the iodine-deficient rats as compared with those on the iodine-supplemented diet. This finding indicates that the decreased liver and brain nuclear T3 contents of iodine-deficient rats are likely to be a consequence of the marked reduction of their T4 pool, leading to decreased amounts of intracellularly generated T3. The number of spines on shafts of pyramidal neurons from the visual cortex of iodine-deficient rats was lower than that of rats fed the same diet supplemented with KI. Their distributions along the shaft were also not the same. Such changes might well be an index of cerebral hypothyroidism, as they are similar to those found after thyroidectomy of adult rats. It is concluded from the present findings that normal circulating T3 levels may not be sufficient to maintain brain euthyroidism in rats fed a diet iodine deficient enough to result in very low circulating T4 levels.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1210/endo-115-2-614
issn: 0013-7227
e-issn: 1945-7170
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