Pharmacological doses of glucocorticoids inhibit thyroid function in man and laboratory animals due to suppression of thyrotrophin (TSH) secretion (Wilber & Utiger, 1969). Administration of prednisolone or dexamethasone for 1–2 days results in a suppression of basal serum TSH levels in normal subjects and in patients with primary hypothyroidism, whilst the pituitary TSH reserve capacity, as assessed by the response to synthetic thyrotrophin releasing hormone (TRH), remains unaltered (Wilber & Utiger, 1969; Besser, Ratcliffe, Kilborn, Ormston & Hall, 1971; Haigler, Pittman & Hershman, 1971). However, impairment of serum TSH response to administered TRH does occur in patients treated with glucocorticoids for 1 or more months (Otsuki, Dakoda & Baba, 1973). These studies suggest that glucocorticoids may inhibit TSH secretion at both hypothalamic and pituitary levels but the main effect of the short-term treatment is suppression of TRH production.
Nicoloff, Fisher & Appleman (1970) found that the circadian rhythm of thyroidal
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