Clinical Research Papers:

Effect of subclinical hypothyroidism on the skeletal system and improvement with short-term thyroxine therapy

Cuixia Gao, Yu Wang, Tingting Li, Jing Huang and Limin Tian _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:90444-90451. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19568

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Cuixia Gao1, Yu Wang2, Tingting Li2, Jing Huang2 and Limin Tian2

1Department of Ultrasonic Diagnosis, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou, China

2Department of Endocrinology, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou, China

Correspondence to:

Limin Tian, email: [email protected]

Keywords: subclinical hypothyroidism, bone, L-thyroxine

Received: March 28, 2017     Accepted: July 19, 2017     Published: July 26, 2017


The purpose of the study was to observe changes in the skeletal system of rats with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) and to determine whether L-thyroxine (L-T4) administration suppresses those changes. Sixty male Wistar rats were randomly divided into control, SCH, and SCH+T4 groups. SCH was induced in rats by administration of methimazole (MMI), and rats in the SCH+T4 group were treated with L-T4 after 45 days of MMI administration. The SCH group had higher thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level than the control and SCH+T4 groups. There were no differences in serum thyroid hormone (FT4 and FT3) levels among the three groups. Bone mineral density; serum levels of BALP and TRACP-5b, two bone metabolic markers; and the biomechanical properties of the femurs were lower in the SCH group than in the control group. After L-T4 treatment, serum BALP and TRACP-5b levels and the femur biomechanical properties were higher in the SCH+T4 than the SCH group. Histopathological examination revealed damage to the structure of the femur trabecular bone network in rats with SCH, and L-T4 treatment improved this condition to some extent. These findings demonstrate that L-T4 treatment ameliorates the destructive effects of SCH on the skeletal system in rats.

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