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PLoS One. 2015 Oct 20;10(10):e0140837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140837. eCollection 2015.

3,5 Diiodo-L-Thyronine (T2) Does Not Prevent Hepatic Steatosis or Insulin Resistance in Fat-Fed Sprague Dawley Rats.

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Department of Internal Medicine,Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States of America.
Department of Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States of America.
Department of Internal Medicine,Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States of America; West Haven VAMC, West Haven, CT, United States of America.


Thyroid hormone mimetics are alluring potential therapies for diseases like dyslipidemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance. Though diiodothyronines are thought inactive, pharmacologic treatment with 3,5- Diiodo-L-Thyronine (T2) reportedly reduces hepatic lipid content and improves glucose tolerance in fat-fed male rats. To test this, male Sprague Dawley rats fed a safflower-oil based high-fat diet were treated with T2 (0.25 mg/kg-d) or vehicle. Neither 10 nor 30 days of T2 treatment had an effect on weight, adiposity, plasma fatty acids, or hepatic steatosis. Insulin action was quantified in vivo by a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. T2 did not alter fasting plasma glucose or insulin concentration. Basal endogenous glucose production (EGP) rate was unchanged. During the clamp, there was no difference in insulin stimulated whole body glucose disposal. Insulin suppressed EGP by 60% ± 10 in T2-treated rats as compared with 47% ± 4 suppression in the vehicle group (p = 0.32). This was associated with an improvement in hepatic insulin signaling; insulin stimulated Akt phosphorylation was ~2.5 fold greater in the T2-treated group as compared with the vehicle-treated group (p = 0.003). There was no change in expression of genes thought to mediate the effect of T2 on hepatic metabolism, including genes that regulate hepatic lipid oxidation (ppara, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a), genes that regulate hepatic fatty acid synthesis (srebp1c, acetyl coa carboxylase, fatty acid synthase), and genes involved in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis (L-pyruvate kinase, glucose 6 phosphatase). Therefore, in contrast with previous reports, in Sprague Dawley rats fed an unsaturated fat diet, T2 administration failed to improve NAFLD or whole body insulin sensitivity. Though there was a modest improvement in hepatic insulin signaling, this was not associated with significant differences in hepatic insulin action. Further study will be necessary before diiodothyronines can be considered an effective treatment for NAFLD and dyslipidemia.

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