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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