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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040837. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Effect of short-term thyroxine administration on energy metabolism and mitochondrial efficiency in humans.

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  • 1Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America.

Abstract

The physiologic effects of triiodothyronine (T3) on metabolic rate are well-documented; however, the effects of thyroxine (T4) are less clear despite its wide-spread use to treat thyroid-related disorders and other non-thyroidal conditions. Here, we investigated the effects of acute (3-day) T4 supplementation on energy expenditure at rest and during incremental exercise. Furthermore, we used a combination of in situ and in vitro approaches to measure skeletal muscle metabolism before and after T4 treatment. Ten healthy, euthyroid males were given 200 µg T4 (levothyroxine) per day for 3 days. Energy expenditure was measured at rest and during exercise by indirect calorimetry, and skeletal muscle mitochondrial function was assessed by in situ ATP flux ((31)P MRS) and in vitro respiratory control ratio (RCR, state 3/state 4 rate of oxygen uptake using a Clark-type electrode) before and after acute T4 treatment. Thyroxine had a subtle effect on resting metabolic rate, increasing it by 4% (p = 0.059) without a change in resting ATP demand (i.e., ATP flux) of the vastus lateralis. Exercise efficiency did not change with T4 treatment. The maximal capacity to produce ATP (state 3 respiration) and the coupled state of the mitochondria (RCR) were reduced by approximately 30% with T4 (p = 0.057 and p = 0.04, respectively). Together, the results suggest that T4, although less metabolically active than T3, reduces skeletal muscle efficiency and modestly increases resting metabolism even after short-term supplementation. Our findings may be clinically relevant given the expanding application of T4 to treat non-thyroidal conditions such as obesity and weight loss.

PMID:
22844412
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3406028
Free PMC Article

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