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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;92(1):250-4. Epub 2006 Oct 17.

Acute effects of triiodothyronine on endothelial function in human subjects.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Sciences, Via Pansini, 80131 Napoli, Italy.



Thyroid hormone regulates several cardiovascular functions, and low T(3) levels are frequently associated with cardiovascular diseases. Whether T(3) exerts any acute and direct effect on endothelial function in humans is unknown.


Our objective was to clarify whether acute changes in serum T3 concentration affect endothelial function.


Ten healthy subjects (age, 24 +/- 1 yr) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at a university hospital.


T3 (or placebo) was infused for 7 h into the brachial artery to raise local T3 to levels observed in moderate hyperthyroidism. Vascular reactivity was tested by intraarterial infusion of vasoactive agents.


We assessed changes in forearm blood flow (FBF) measured by plethysmography.


FBF response to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine was enhanced by T3 (P = 0.002 for the interaction between T3 and acetylcholine). The slopes of the dose-response curves were 0.41 +/- 0.06 and 0.23 +/- 0.04 ml/dl x min/microg in the T3 and placebo study, respectively (P = 0.03). T3 infusion had no effect on the FBF response to sodium nitroprusside. T3 potentiated the vasoconstrictor response to norepinephrine (P = 0.006 for the interaction). Also, the slopes of the dose-response curves were affected by T3 (1.95 +/- 0.77 and 3.83 +/- 0.35 ml/dl x min/mg in the placebo and T3 study, respectively; P < 0.05). The increase in basal FBF induced by T3 was inhibited by NG-monomethyl-L-arginine.


T3 exerts direct and acute effects on the resistance vessels by enhancing endothelial function and norepinephrine-induced vasoconstriction. The data may help clarify the vascular impact of the low T3 syndrome and point to potential therapeutic strategies.

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