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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1988 Jun;70(3):395-400.

Effect of fatty acid administration on plasma thyroid hormones in the domestic fowl.

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University of California, School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Los Angeles 90024.


In birds a severe stress is associated with a reduction in concentrations of plasma thyroxine. Studies in man and the rat have demonstrated that severe illness is associated with an increase in serum concentrations of free fatty acids, notably oleic acid, and that they are associated with a reduction in concentrations of serum thyroxine (T4) and/or triiodothyronine (T3). Since stress is associated with increased fatty acids in birds, we have, in the present study, examined the role of oleic acid and another polyunsaturated fatty acid, arachidonic acid, on thyroid function tests (plasma thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and T3 resin uptake (RT3U) index) and on the thyroidal response to exogenous thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the domestic fowl. In the first study we observed that the iv administration of arachidonic (10 mg/kg) or oleic acid (15 mg/kg) to groups of 10-week-old cockerels (six per group) was associated with a significant reduction in concentrations of plasma T4, whereas there was little change in saline-injected controls. However, administration of fatty acids to chickens was not associated with a significant change in RT3U index or in the levels of plasma T3. In the second study, groups of animals (n = 6) were injected with bovine TSH (0.5 IU/kg, im) or saline 2.5 hr after the fatty acid injection and blood samples were obtained at -2.5 to 24 hr after the TSH injection. A similar progressive increase in serum T4 was observed for the three groups studied whereas there was little change in the concentrations of plasma T3.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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