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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2014 Mar;102(3):270-8. Epub 2014 Feb 10.

Short-term thyroid hormone excess affects the heart but does not affect adrenal activity in rats.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil.
Pontifícia Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil.
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, BA, Brasil.



Hyperthyroidism (Hy) exerts a broad range of influences on a variety of physiological parameters. Its disruptive effect on cardiovascular system is one of its most remarkable impacts. Moreover, Hy has been clinically associated with stress - induced hyperactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.


Evaluate the impact of short-term Hy on cardiac performance and adrenal activity of rats.


Induction of Hy in Wistar rats through injections of T3 (150 µg/kg) for 10 days (hyperthyroid group - HG) or vehicle (control group). The cardiovascular performance was evaluated by: echocardiography (ECHO); heart weight/body weight (mg/gr) ratio; contractility of isolated papillary muscles (IPM) and direct measurement of blood pressures. Adrenal activity was evaluated by adrenal weight/body weight (mg/gr) ratio and 24-hour fecal corticosterone (FC) levels on the, 5th and 10th days of T3 treatment.


In HG, the ECHO showed reduction of the End Systolic and End Diastolic Volumes, Ejection, Total Diastolic and Isovolumic Relaxation Times, Diastolic and Systolic Areas and E/A ratio. Heart Rate, Ejection Fraction and Cardiac Output increased. The heart weight/body weight ratio was higher. Similarly, in IPM, the maximum rate of force decay during relaxation was higher in all extracellular calcium concentrations. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels were higher. (p ≤ 0.05). On the other hand, there was no difference in the adrenal weight/body weight ratio or in the 24-hour FC levels.


Hy induces positive inotropic, chronotropic and lusitropic effects on the heart by direct effects of T3 and increases SBP. Those alterations are not correlated with changes in the adrenal activity.

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