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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential responses of femoral and vertebral bones to long-term excessive L-thyroxine administration in adult rats.

Recent studies suggest that thyroid-stimulating hormone suppressive doses of thyroid hormone decrease bone mass in humans and growing rats. To determine the long-term effects of excessive L-thyroxine administration on the femur and vertebrae in an adult rat model, 20 male Sprague-Dawley rats (20 weeks old) were randomized into two groups. Group 1 received L-thyroxine (20 micrograms/100 g body weight ip daily), and group 2 received normal saline ip daily for 20 weeks. Femoral and lumbar vertebral bone mineral density measurements were performed at 0, 6, 15, 18 and 20 weeks of treatment. After 20 weeks of treatment, total RNA was isolated from both femoral and lumbar bones. Northern hybridization was performed with 32P-labeled DNA probes for osteocalcin, osteopontin, alkaline phosphatase and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase. Significant decreases in bone mineral density in the femur of L-thyroxine-treated rats were observed after 15 weeks (p < 0.03). Lumbar bone mineral density was not affected. Both osteoblast (osteocalcin, osteopontin, alkaline phosphatase) and osteoclast (tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase) gene expression markers were increased significantly in the femoral bone (p < 0.001), but not in the lumbar vertebrae of the L-thyroxine-treated rats. We conclude that long-term administration of excessive doses of L-thyroxine to the adult rat preferentially affects femoral but not vertebral bone. This is manifested by decreased bone mineral density as well as increased gene expression markers for osteoblast and osteoclast activity in the femur.[1]


  1. Differential responses of femoral and vertebral bones to long-term excessive L-thyroxine administration in adult rats. Suwanwalaikorn, S., Ongphiphadhanakul, B., Braverman, L.E., Baran, D.T. Eur. J. Endocrinol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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