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Am J Kidney Dis. 1992 Jun;19(6):573-7.

Short-term hypothyroidism and vasopressin gene expression in the rat.

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Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.


Hypothyroidism is associated with abnormalities in renal water handling, which include a delay in excretion of an acute water load, decreased urinary concentrating ability, and increased urine volume. In the present study, we investigated the role of vasopressin in aminotriazole-induced hypothyroidism by measuring vasopressin concentration in the plasma and pituitary along with vasopressin mRNA levels in the hypothalamus. After 5 weeks of aminotriazole treatment, L-thyroxine levels were significantly lower in the experimental animals (122 +/- 8 v 26 +/- 1 nmol/L [9.5 +/- 0.6 v 2.0 +/- 0.1 micrograms/dL]; P less than 0.001). Serum sodium (148 +/- 0.5 v 144 +/- 1.2 mmol/L [mEq/L]; P less than 0.01), and plasma osmolality (311 +/- 2.5 v 304 +/- 1.8 mmol/kg [mOsm/kg] H2O; P less than 0.05) were also lower in the experimental animals. There were no differences in plasma (1.9 +/- 0.4 v 1.5 +/- 0.2 pg/mL) or pituitary (1.5 +/- 0.4 v 1.5 +/- 0.2 microgram/pituitary) vasopressin levels. In addition, steady-state vasopressin mRNA levels were not different between the two groups (1,286 +/- 210 v 1,093 +/- 138 pg/hypothalamus). One week of L-thyroxine replacement resulted in significant increases in serum thyroxine levels without changes in the other variables measured. These results indicate that short-term hypothyroidism, which has been shown to exert substantial effects on renal function, causes only a modest central alteration in the plasma vasopressin-osmolality relationship, which occurs in the absence of detectable changes in vasopressin synthesis.

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