Thyroid Hormones and the Metabolic Syndrome

European Thyroid Journal 06/2013; 2(2):83-92. DOI: 10.1159/000351249
Source: PubMed


Clustering of various metabolic parameters including abdominal obesity, hyperglycaemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and hypertension have been used worldwide as metabolic syndrome to predict cardiometabolic risk. Thyroid dysfunction impacts on various levels of these components.
The purpose of the present review is to summarize available data on thyroid hormone-dependent action on components of the metabolic syndrome.
A PubMed search for any combination of hyperthyroidism, thyrotoxicosis or hypothyroidism and metabolic syndrome, blood pressure, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, diabetes mellitus, body weight or visceral fat was performed. We included papers and reviews published between 2000 and today but accepted also frequently cited papers before 2000.
There is convincing evidence for a major impact of thyroid function on all components of the metabolic syndrome, reflecting profound alterations of energy homeostasis at many levels.
Even though the interactions shown in animal models and man are complex, it is evident that insulin sensitivity is highest and adverse thyroid effects on the metabolic system are lowest in euthyroid conditions.

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    • "Thyroid hormones regulate energy metabolism, body weight and insulin sensitivity[1]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims: Subclinical thyroid conditions, defined by normal thyroxin (T4) but abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, may be associated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk. More recently, TSH levels within the normal range have been suggested to be associated with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk. This work studies the linearity of the relationship between metabolic syndrome and TSH across the euthyroid range. Methods and results: We studied 3533 male participants of the Aragon Workers' Health Study (AWHS) with normal TSH and free T4 levels, across quintiles of these variables, after adjusting for age, alcohol intake, and smoking. Compared with the lowest TSH quintile, the odds ratios for metabolic syndrome at the higher quintiles, which indicate lower thyroid function, were 1.34 (1.04, 1.73), 1.56 (1.21, 2.01), 1.57 (1.22, 2.03), and 1.71 (1.32, 2.21). The lowest free T4 quintile also showed an odds ratio of 1.49 (1.16, 1.90) with respect to the highest quintile. In addition, spline models showed departures from linearity: the risk of metabolic syndrome mostly increases at TSH values below the median (sample half-closest to subclinical hyperthyroidism). Interestingly, glucose also increases with TSH primarily below the median TSH, diastolic blood pressure shows similar changes across the entire TSH range, whereas body mass index, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol change only at the highest normal TSH values, which are associated with lower free T4 concentration. Conclusions: TSH and free T4 within the normal range are associated with the metabolic syndrome. The sample half-below the TSH median (with probably higher functional thyroid status) exhibited better metabolic and cardiovascular profiles.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases: NMCD
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    ABSTRACT: Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) should be considered in two categories according to the elevation in serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level: mildly increased TSH levels (4.0-10.0 mU/l) and more severely increased TSH value (>10 mU/l). An initially raised serum TSH, with FT4 within reference range, should be investigated with a repeat measurement of both serum TSH and FT4, along with thyroid peroxidase antibodies, preferably after a 2- to 3-month interval. Even in the absence of symptoms, replacement therapy with L-thyroxine is recommended for younger patients (<65-70 years) with serum TSH >10 mU/l. In younger SCH patients (serum TSH <10 mU/l) with symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism, a trial of L-thyroxine replacement therapy should be considered. For such patients who have been started on L-thyroxine for symptoms attributed to SCH, response to treatment should be reviewed 3 or 4 months after a serum TSH within reference range is reached. If there is no improvement in symptoms, L-thyroxine therapy should generally be stopped. Age-specific local reference ranges for serum TSH should be considered in order to establish a diagnosis of SCH in older people. The oldest old subjects (>80-85 years) with elevated serum TSH ≤10 mU/l should be carefully followed with a wait-and-see strategy, generally avoiding hormonal treatment. If the decision is to treat SCH, then oral L-thyroxine, administered daily, is the treatment of choice. The serum TSH should be re-checked 2 months after starting L-thyroxine therapy, and dosage adjustments made accordingly. The aim for most adults should be to reach a stable serum TSH in the lower half of the reference range (0.4-2.5 mU/l). Once patients with SCH are commenced on L-thyroxine treatment, then serum TSH should be monitored at least annually thereafter.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · European Thyroid Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Thyroid hormone (TH) is required for normal development as well as regulating metabolism in the adult. The thyroid hormone receptor (TR) isoforms, α and β, are differentially expressed in tissues and have distinct roles in TH signaling. Local activation of thyroxine (T4), to the active form, triiodothyronine (T3), by 5'-deiodinase type 2 (D2) is a key mechanism of TH regulation of metabolism. D2 is expressed in the hypothalamus, white fat, brown adipose tissue (BAT), and skeletal muscle and is required for adaptive thermogenesis. The thyroid gland is regulated by thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). In addition to TRH/TSH regulation by TH feedback, there is central modulation by nutritional signals, such as leptin, as well as peptides regulating appetite. The nutrient status of the cell provides feedback on TH signaling pathways through epigentic modification of histones. Integration of TH signaling with the adrenergic nervous system occurs peripherally, in liver, white fat, and BAT, but also centrally, in the hypothalamus. TR regulates cholesterol and carbohydrate metabolism through direct actions on gene expression as well as cross-talk with other nuclear receptors, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), liver X receptor (LXR), and bile acid signaling pathways. TH modulates hepatic insulin sensitivity, especially important for the suppression of hepatic gluconeogenesis. The role of TH in regulating metabolic pathways has led to several new therapeutic targets for metabolic disorders. Understanding the mechanisms and interactions of the various TH signaling pathways in metabolism will improve our likelihood of identifying effective and selective targets.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Physiological Reviews
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