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L Oziol, P Faure, N Bertrand, and P Chomard

Oxidized low density lipoproteins (LDL) are highly suspected of initiating the atherosclerosis process. Thyroid hormones and structural analogues have been reported to protect LDL from lipid peroxidation induced by Cu2+ or the free radical generator 2,2'-azobis-'2-amidinopropane' dihydrochloride in vitro. We have examined the effects of thyroid compounds on macrophage-induced LDL oxidation. Human monocyte-derived macrophages (differentiated U937 cells) were incubated for 24 h with LDL and different concentrations (0-20 microM) of 3,5,3'-triiodo-l -thyronine (T3), 3,5,3',5'-tetraiodo-L-thyronine (T4), 3,3',5'-tri-iodo-l -thyronine (rT3), the T3 acetic derivative (3,5,3'-tri-iodothyroacetic acid; TA3) or L-thyronine (T0) (experiment 1). Cells were also preincubated for 24 h with 1 or 10 microM of the compounds, washed twice, then incubated again for 24 h with LDL (experiment 2). Oxidation was evaluated by measurement of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and cell viability by lactate deshydrogenase release. In experiment 1, T0 had no effect, whereas the other compounds decreased LDL TBARS production, but T3 and TA3 were less active than T4 and rT3 (IC50: 11.0 +/- 2.6 and 8.1 +/- 0.8 vs 1.4 +/- 0.5 and 0.9 +/- 0.3 microM respectively). In experiment 2, the compounds at 1 microM had no effect; at 10 microM, T3 and rT3 slightly reduced LDL TBARS production, whereas TA3 and T4 inhibited it by about 50% and 70% respectively. TBARS released by the cells were also highly decreased by T3, T4, rT3 and TA3 in experiment 1, but only by T3 (30%) and T4 (70%) in experiment 2. Cell viability was not affected by the compounds except slightly by TA3 at 10 microM. The data suggested that the physico-chemical antioxidant capacity of thyroid compounds was modulated by their action on the intracellular redox systems of macrophage. Overall cellular effects of T3 led to a reduction of its antioxidant capacity whereas those of T4 increased it. Thus T4 might protect LDL against cellular oxidation in vivo more than T3.

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P Chomard, J L Beltramo, R Ben Cheikh, and N Autissier


In a first experiment, serum thyroxine (T4), 3,5,3′-tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyrotrophin (TSH) concentrations as well as thyroid gland T4 and T3 contents were measured in developing lean and obese Zucker male and female rats of 4–16 weeks of age. The rats were bred in our laboratory and always treated in sex-matched pairs of one lean and one obese rat from the same litter. Serum T4 was not different in any phenotype/sex group at 4 weeks. In male rats, it became progressively lower (27 and 37% at 12 and 16 weeks respectively) in obese than in lean rats. In females, similar levels of serum T4 were maintained in both obese and lean developing rats. Serum T3 was similar in obese and lean male 4-week-old rats whereas it was lower (28%) in obese than in lean females. It became progressively lower (39 and 49% at 12 and 16 weeks respectively) in obese than in lean developing male rats. In females, lower levels of serum T3 were maintained (25 and 43% at 12 and 16 weeks respectively) in obese than in lean rats. Serum TSH was not different in any phenotype/sex group at 4 weeks. It rose in both obese and lean male rats with age, but became progressively lower (33 and 23% at 12 and 16 weeks respectively) in obese compared with lean rats. In females, similar levels of serum TSH were maintained in both obese and lean developing rats. Thyroid gland weight was not different in any phenotype/sex group at 4 weeks. It became progressively lower (19 and 12% at 12 and 16 weeks respectively) in obese compared with lean male rats, whereas no such difference was seen in female rats. The concentrations and total contents of T4 and T3 in thyroid glands were not different between obese and lean rats both in males and females. The thyroid T3/T4 ratio was similar in obese and lean female rats whereas it was always lower in obese compared with lean male rats from 4 to 16 weeks.

In a second experiment, serum T4, T3, free T3 (FT3), reverse T3 (rT3) and TSH concentrations were determined in 14-week-old female Zucker rats purchased from a commercial laboratory. There were no differences between obese and lean rat serum levels of T4 and TSH. Serum rT3 was lower (20%) in obese than in lean rats, but the difference was not significant. Serum T3 and FT3 were lower in obese female rats than in lean ones, the differences being about 20 and 22% for T3 and FT3 respectively.

These data provide new information about developmental and sex-related differences in the obese Zucker rat and suggest that (1) the developing genetically obese Zucker rat becomes progressively pseudohypothyroid, as compared with the lean Zucker rat, (2) thyroid metabolism is impaired more and earlier in male than in female obese rats, (3) the perturbation is not mainly the result of a decreased glandular production of thyroid hormones, and (4) a dysfunction in peripheral thyroid metabolism as well as in the hypothalamo-pituitary axis may be involved in the perturbation of the thyroid function of obese rats.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 142, 317–324

Free access

L Oziol, P Faure, C Vergely, L Rochette, Y Artur, and P Chomard

It was reported that thyroid hormones decreased Cu(2+)-induced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation in vitro. Here, we investigated free radical scavenging capacities of thyroid hormones (3,5,3'-tri-iodo-L-thyronine (T(3)), thyroxine (T(4)) and 3,3',5'-tri-iodo-L-thyronine (rT(3))) and structural analogues (L-thyronine (T(0)), 3,5,3'tri-iodothyroacetic acid (TA(3)) and 3,5,3',5'-tetra-iodothyroacetic acid (TA(4))), using three different models of free radical generation. T(0), T(3) and TA(3) slowed down production of conjugated diene and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances during LDL oxidation by 2,2'-azobis-[2-amidinopropane] (water-soluble), whereas rT(3), T(4) and TA(4) had practically no effect. In this system, T(0) was the more active compound. Using a 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (lipid-soluble) test, all compounds also revealed free radical scavenging capacities, but rT(3), T(4) and TA(4) were more active than T(0), T(3) and TA(3). T(3) was able to scavenge superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals generated in an aqueous phase by a xanthine-xanthine oxidase system, as measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. It may be concluded that: (1) thyroid hormones and analogues with a 4'-hydroxy diphenylether structure have free radical scavenging capacities, (2) this property is influenced by the number of iodines on the phenolic ring, and (3) thyroid hormone scavenging capacity should not be the only mechanism explaining their protective effect on Cu(2+)-induced LDL oxidation. The physiological significance of the findings is discussed.