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Endocrinol Jpn. 1988 Jun;35(3):357-69.

Thyroid functions in patients with various chronic liver diseases.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


In order to clarify an alteration in thyroid functions in patients with chronic liver diseases, serum total and free thyroxine (T4, FT4), total and free triiodothyronine (T3, FT3), total reverse T3 (rT3), thyrotropin (TSH), thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) concentrations, and T3 uptake (T3U) were measured by radioimmunoassays in 53 patients with chronic hepatitis (CH), 24 patients with compensated liver cirrhosis (LC), 17 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma associated with LC (HCC), and 40 normal subjects. Serum T4, T3, and rT3 in CH, and serum rT3 in HCC were significantly increased, while serum T4 in LC and serum T3 in HCC were significantly decreased. Serum TBG was increased and T3U was decreased in these patients. Serum TBG in CH and LC correlated positively with transaminase, and inversely with prothrombin time. FT4 and T4/TBG ratios in CH and LC and FT3 and T3/TBG ratios in LC and HCC were significantly decreased. Although T4/TBG ratios in HCC and T3/TBG ratios in CH were significantly decreased, FT4 in HCC and FT3 in CH were not decreased. The ratio of rT3/T3 in CH and LC correlated with various liver function tests. FT3 in LC and HCC correlated inversely with BSP (45') and positively with KICG. No differences in serum TSH values were found between chronic liver diseases and normal subjects. From these results, it was concluded that the thyroid functions in patients with chronic liver diseases were affected by the decrease in serum thyroxine, elevated serum TBG, the degree of which is in proportion to that of the liver cell damage, and impaired peripheral conversion of T4 to T3, the degree of which is in proportion to that of the hepatic dysfunction.

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