Some developmental and functional manifestations of thyroxine (T4) administered on the first 2 days of postnatal life were studied in the female rat. Brain myelinogenesis estimated by brain esterified cholesterol concentration, and brain myelin age estimated by brain total cholesterol concentration, were subsequently determined. Thyroxine treatment resulted in a greater concentration of esterified cholesterol in the brain than saline treatment, but the latter appeared to delay the normal increase shown by non-injected controls. Thyroxine treatment resulted in total and free cholesterol levels similar to those of non-injected controls, these again being greater than those in saline-treated rats. Cholesterol concentrations in liver and serum were not affected by T4 or saline treatment.
Administration of T4 to female rats before administration of 1·25 mg testosterone propionate on day 7 resulted in an ovarian and uterine weight response to human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG, 1 i.u./day on days 23–26) on day 27 that was greater than that in litter-mates given saline at birth before testosterone propionate and HCG treatment. Postnatal T4 treatment alone in the female was also associated with a reduced thyroid and pituitary gland enlargement after 7 days of propylthiouracil feeding (0·015% in tap water, days 24–31 of life) when compared with either saline or non-injected controls.