Role of triiodothyronine in down-regulation and recovery of lymphocyte β-adrenoceptors in thyroidectomized patients

A. Basso, L. Piantanelli, G. Rossolini, S. Piloni, C. Vitali, N. Masera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Thyroid function modulates β-adrenergic sensitivity through the regulation of β-adrenoceptor density. In particular, thyroidectomy decreases and thyroid hormone injec-tions increase β-adrenoceptor density on human lymphocytes. In the present paper the relationship between receptor modifications and thyroid hormone levels has been studied in human lymphocytes from patients after thyroidectomy. The patterns of early changes as well as recovery trends have been investigated. Results show a statistically significant fall in receptor density, parallelled by a decrease in T3 levels, 1-3 days after thyroidectomy. Recovery of receptor density is observed 5-8 days after surgical intervention and is accompanied by increased T3 levels. There is a positive correlation between receptor density and T3 levels. On the contrary, no statistically significant correlation was observed for receptor density and T4 levels. The time course of disappearance and recovery of receptor density and that of T3 levels have also been analyzed with the aid of a mathematical model fitting experimental data. On this basis, the hypothesis that both down-regulation and subsequent recovery of β-adrenoceptor density are driven by the fall and rise of T3 is suggested. Data are also discussed in relation to experimental results we have obtained in animal studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1344
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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