Thyroid diseases, such as autoimmune disease and benign and malignant nodules, are more prevalent in women than in men, but the mechanisms involved in this sex difference is still poorly defined. H2O2 is produced at high levels in the thyroid gland and regulates parameters such as cell proliferation, migration, survival, and death; an imbalance in the cellular oxidant–antioxidant system in the thyroid may contribute to the greater incidence of thyroid disease among women. Recently, we demonstrated the existence of a sexual dimorphism in the thyrocyte redox balance, characterized by higher H2O2 production, due to higher NOX4 and Poldip2 expression, and weakened enzymatic antioxidant defense in the thyroid of adult female rats compared with male rats. In addition, 17β-estradiol administration increased NOX4 mRNA expression and H2O2 production in thyroid PCCL3 cells. In this review, we discuss the possible involvement of oxidative stress in estrogen-related thyroid pathophysiology. Our current hypothesis suggests that a redox imbalance elicited by estrogen could be involved in the sex differences found in the prevalence of thyroid dysfunctions.
Rodrigo S Fortunato, Andrea C F Ferreira, Fabio Hecht, Corinne Dupuy and Denise P Carvalho
Michelle P Marassi, Rodrigo S Fortunato, Alba C Matos da Silva, Valmara S Pereira, Denise P Carvalho, Doris Rosenthal and Vânia M Corrêa da Costa
Iodothyronine deiodinase activities are regulated by sex steroids; however, the mechanisms underlying the reported sexual dimorphism are poorly defined. In the present report, we aimed to investigate whether type 1 deiodinase (D1) sexual dimorphism exists early in sexual development by studying pre-pubertal male (Pm) and female (Pf) rats, as well as adult controls (C) and gonadectomized male and females rats. Adult male Wistar rats were studied 21 days after orchiectomy (Tex), and adult females were studied 21 days after ovariectomy (Ovx), and after estradiol benzoate (Eb) replacement. Serum total triiodothyronine (T3) was higher in pre-pubertal (P) rats than in the matching adults, with no difference between genders, although in adult males T3 was significantly lower than in females. There were no sex or age differences in serum total T4. Serum TSH in pre-pubertal (P) rats was within the adult female range, and both were significantly lower than in adult males. D1 activity in liver was greater in Pm than in Pf. In adult females, liver D1 activity was lower, while in adult males it was higher than in P rats. The same pattern of D1 activity was found in kidney. In thyroid and pituitary, D1 activity was similar in Pm, Pf, and adult females, which were all significantly lower than in the adult male. There were no differences in serum T3 and T4 between C and Tex males, but serum TSH was significantly decreased in Tex rats. Hepatic and renal D1 activities were lower in Tex than in C, but no changes were detected in thyroid and pituitary. In Ovx females, T3 was significantly lower than in the C group. Serum T4 was significantly decreased by estradiol replacement therapy in Ovx rats, in both doses used, whereas TSH was unchanged. Eb replacement increased liver and thyroid D1 activity, but in the kidney, only the highest estradiol dose promoted a significant D1 increase. In conclusion, in males, hepatic and renal D1 activity appears to be significantly influenced by gonadal hormones, in contrast to females, in which only exogenous Eb treatment stimulated D1 activity. The comparison between pre-pubertal and adult rats suggests that serum T3 is not the main regulator of D1 activity, and other factors, besides T3 and gonadal hormones, can modulate D1 activity during murine maturation.