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Importance - Thyroid hormone levels are tightly regulated through feedback inhibition by thyrotropin, produced by the pituitary gland. Hyperthyroidism is overwhelmingly due to thyroid disorders and is well recognized to contribute to a wide spectrum of cardiovascular morbidity, particularly the increasingly common arrhythmia atrial fibrillation (AF).
Objective - To determine the association between genetically determined thyrotropin levels and AF.
Design, Setting, and Participants - This phenome-wide association study scanned 1318 phenotypes associated with a polygenic predictor of thyrotropin levels identified by a previously published genome-wide association study that included participants of European ancestry. North American individuals of European ancestry with longitudinal electronic health records were analyzed from May 2008 to November 2016. Analysis began March 2018.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Clinical diagnoses associated with a polygenic predictor of thyrotropin levels.
Exposures - Genetically determined thyrotropin levels.
Results - Of 37 154 individuals, 19 330 (52%) were men. The thyrotropin polygenic predictor was positively associated with hypothyroidism (odds ratio [OR], 1.10; 95% CI, 1.07-1.14; P = 5 × 10-11) and inversely associated with diagnoses related to hyperthyroidism (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.54-0.74; P = 2 × 10-8 for toxic multinodular goiter). Among nonthyroid associations, the top association was AF/flutter (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.9-0.95; P = 9 × 10-7). When the analyses were repeated excluding 9801 individuals with any diagnoses of a thyroid-related disease, the AF association persisted (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.88-0.95; P = 2.9 × 10-6). To replicate this association, we conducted an inverse-variance weighted average meta-analysis using AF single-nucleotide variant weights from a genome-wide association study of 17 931 AF cases and 115 142 controls. As in the discovery analyses, each SD increase in predicted thyrotropin was associated with a decreased risk of AF (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.79-0.93; P = 4.7 × 10-4). In a set of AF cases (n = 745) and controls (n = 1680) older than 55 years, directly measured thyrotropin levels that fell within the normal range were inversely associated with AF risk (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.83-0.99; P = .04).
Conclusions and Relevance - This study suggests a role for genetically determined variation in thyroid function within a physiologically accepted normal range as a risk factor for AF. The clinical decision to treat subclinical thyroid disease should incorporate the risk for AF as antithyroid medications to treat hyperthyroidism may reduce AF risk and thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism may increase AF risk.
OBJECTIVE - New in vivo mutations in G protein-coupled receptors open opportunities for insights into the mechanism of receptor activation. Here we describe the molecular mechanism of constitutive TSH receptor (TSHR) activation in an Austrian family with three generations of familial nonautoimmune hyperthyroidism.
PATIENTS - The index patient was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism during her first pregnancy. Her first two children were diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at the age of 11 and 10 years, respectively. TSH suppression was also observed in the third child at the age of 8 years, who has normal free T4 levels until now. TSH suppression in infancy was observed in the fourth child. The mother of the index patient was diagnosed with toxic multinodular goiter at the age of 36 years.
METHODS - DNA was extracted from blood samples from the index patient, her mother, and her four children. Screening for TSHR mutations was performed by high-resolution melting assays and subsequent sequencing. Elucidation of the underlying mechanism of TSHR activation was carried out by generation and structural analysis of TSHR transmembrane homology models and verification of model predictions by functional characterization of receptor mutations.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS - A newly discovered TSHR mutation L665F in transmembrane helix 7 of the receptor was detected in six members of this family. Functional characterization of L665F revealed constitutive activation for the Gs pathway and thus represents the molecular cause for hyperthyroidism in this family. The constitutive activation is possibly linked to a steric clash introduced by the L665F mutation between transmembrane helices 1 and 7.
BACKGROUND - Recent American Thyroid Association guidelines call for thyroidectomy or (131)I (Recommendation 31) in managing hyperthyroidism due to toxic nodular goiter (TNG). Concern for concomitant malignancy favors surgery. A 3 % thyroid cancer incidence in TNG patients has been reported, yet recent studies suggest this rate is underestimated. This multi-institutional study examined cancer incidence in TNG patients referred to surgery.
METHODS - Patients referred for thyroidectomy at three tertiary-care institutions were included (2002-2011). Patients with concurrent indeterminate or malignant diagnosis by fine-needle aspiration (FNA) were excluded. Cancer incidence in TNG patients was determined. Fisher's exact and chi-square tests and nonparametric t tests were used.
RESULTS - Among 2,551 surgically treated patients, 164 had TNG (6.4 %). Median age at presentation was 49.7 years, and 86 % were female. Overall cancer incidence was 18.3 % (30 of 164), and rates were not significantly different between institutions. A significantly greater cancer rate was noted in toxic multinodular goiter versus single toxic nodule patients (21 vs. 4.5 %, P < 0.05). Mean tumor size was 0.71 cm (range 0.1-1.5 cm; 23 % ≥1 cm). Most patients underwent total or near-total thyroidectomy. There were no significant differences in tumor sizes among institutions (P > 0.05). No significant cancer association was noted with age, preoperative dominant nodule size, lymphocytic thyroiditis or preoperative FNA (P > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - These data demonstrate a higher than expected incidental cancer rate in TNG patients compared to historical reports (18.3 vs. 3 %). This higher cancer incidence may alter the risk/benefit analysis regarding TNG treatment. This information should be provided to TNG patients before decision making regarding treatment.
Two children presented with autoimmune alternating hypo- and hyperthyroidism related to the presence of blocking and stimulating thyroid antibodies. It was difficult to control their thyroid function adequately with an appropriate single drug regimen, and both children underwent total thyroidectomy with subsequent stable management with levothyroxine replacement therapy postsurgically. Although this phenomenon is well described in adults, this report is the first of such occurrence in children. The possible mechanism for the variation in the type of clinical presentation and options for management are discussed.
Expression of all of the isoforms of the subunits of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and AMPK activity is increased in skeletal muscle of hyperthyroid rats. Activity of AMPK in skeletal muscle is regulated principally by the upstream kinase, LKB1. This experiment was designed to determine whether the increase in AMPK activity is accompanied by increased expression of the LKB1, along with binding partner proteins. LKB1, MO25, and downstream targets were determined in muscle extracts in control rats, in rats given 3 mg of thyroxine and 1 mg of triiodothyronine per kilogram chow for 4 wk, and in rats given 0.01% propylthiouracil (PTU; an inhibitor of thyroid hormone synthesis) in drinking water for 4 wk (hypothyroid group). LKB1 and MO25 increased in the soleus of thyroid hormone-treated rats vs. the controls. In other muscle types, LKB1 responses were variable, but MO25 increased in all. In soleus, MO25 mRNA increased with thyroid hormone treatment, and STRAD mRNA increased with PTU treatment. Phospho-AMPK and phospho-ACC were elevated in soleus and gastrocnemius of hyperthyroid rats. Thyroid hormone treatment also increased the amount of phospho-cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) in the soleus, heart, and red quadriceps. Four proteins having CREB response elements (CRE) in promoter regions of their genes (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha, uncoupling protein 3, cytochrome c, and hexokinase II) were all increased in soleus in response to thyroid hormones. These data provide evidence that thyroid hormones increase soleus muscle LKB1 and MO25 content with subsequent activation of AMPK, phosphorylation of CREB, and expression of mitochondrial protein genes having CRE in their promoters.
During a period of 7 years at our institution, four girls and one boy with Down's syndrome, ages 9 to 16 years, were examined and treated for hyperthyroidism. Two patients had Graves' disease and they responded to propylthiouracil (PTU) with a predictable clinical course resulting in remission within 4 years. The remaining three patients included in this report had hyperthyroid profiles similar to those of the two with Graves' disease except for their antibody panels. These patients, in addition to the elevated thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) level observed in Graves' disease, also had significantly elevated antimicrosomal antibody (AMA) and antithyroglobulin antibody (ATGA) at the time of diagnosis. Elevated TSI level was again present in two patients who had a recurrence of hyperthyroidism after PTU therapy was discontinued. Treatment of these three patients was best done with the continuation of PTU therapy at a lower dose and the addition of thyroxine as soon as mild hypothyroidism developed. Treatment with PTU and thyroxine was continued until the TSI level was no longer elevated. Levels of AMA and ATGA remained elevated long after the TSI level became normal. All three patients eventually had hypothyroidism and continue to require thyroxine replacement.
A population-based case-control interview study of 486 adult leukemia cases and 502 healthy controls was carried out in Shanghai, People's Republic of China during 1987-89 to evaluate the etiologic role of prior medical conditions, medications, and diagnostic X-rays. Risks were examined separately for 236 cases with acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (ANLL), 79 with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), 81 with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and 21 with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Little difference was found between cases and controls for prior history of diabetes, hypertension, allergic conditions, most medications, and diagnostic X-rays. A few significant associations were observed for appendectomy, tuberculosis, and for several other chronic disorders with specific leukemia cell types, but the odds ratio estimates for most of these ranged from two to three and, with the exception of the two specified above, were based generally on five or fewer exposed controls. In contrast to an association with childhood leukemia in Shanghai, prior use of chloramphenicol was not linked with ANLL or other forms of adult leukemia. Further research is needed to clarify the relation of specific medical conditions and exposures with particular subtypes of leukemia, and to examine reasons for the low incidence of CLL in China and other Asian populations.
A plasmid cDNA library was constructed using poly(A+) RNA isolated from the livers of rats treated with 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3) and fed a high carbohydrate diet. This library was screened by differential colony hybridization with [32P]cDNA probes made from hypothyroid and hyperthyroid rat liver poly(A+) RNA to obtain clones representing T3-inducible mRNAs. Using plasmid cDNAs to 4 different T3-inducible mRNAs, we have studied by hybridization assay the responses of these mRNAs to different thyroidal steady states and to a high carbohydrate diet. The fold of induction (hypothyroid to hyperthyroid) varied from about 4.0 (mRNA 5-8D) to 13.2 (mRNA 4-12B). The linearity of response with regard to nuclear receptor occupancy was estimated by assessing the relative mRNA levels in a euthyroid state. Three of the mRNAs demonstrated nonlinear responses with the largest portion of the induction occurring in the euthyroid to hyperthyroid transition. An induction by the high carbohydrate diet was clearly seen for only one mRNA (5-8D) suggesting that these two pathways of induction are independent. In a study of the response kinetics of each mRNA to a nuclear receptor saturating dose of T3 in hypothyroid animals, an increase was seen within 4 h (the earliest time point examined) for one of the mRNAs. The other 3 mRNAs did not increase significantly until 8 h after the T3 dose. Northern analysis showed a single mRNA corresponding to each of these 4 clones with sizes ranging from about 1375 to 7600 bases. Two mRNAs (5-9E and 4-12B) were shown by hybrid-selected translation to code for proteins of molecular mass of about 27 and 46 kDa, respectively. The availability of several different cDNA probes to T3 responsive liver mRNAs should facilitate future studies on the mechanism of action of this hormone.
The effects of calmodulin antagonists on the capacity of hydrogen-translocating shuttles were studied in the perfused rat liver. The capacity was estimated by measuring the changes in the rate of production of glucose from sorbitol during the oxidation of ethanol [T. Sugano, T. Ohta, A. Tarui, and Y. Miyamae. Am. J. Physiol. 251 (Endocrinol. Metab. 14): E385-E392, 1986]. Thyroxine given to intact rats increased the activity of alpha-glycerophosphate dehydrogenase (alpha-GPD). Glucocorticoid replacement in adrenalectomized rats decreased the activity of the alpha-GPD to values obtained after treatment with PTU. In either thyroxine-treated or steroid-replaced rats, the capacity of hydrogen-translocating shuttles increased markedly. However, N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalenesulfonamide (W-7), trifluoperazine, and chlorpromazine inhibited the increased capacity in steroid-replaced rats and had no effect on the increased capacity in thyroxine-treated rats. W-7 inhibited the stimulatory effects of norepinephrine on the capacity of the malate-aspartate shuttle without inhibition of efflux of intracellular Ca2+. The stimulatory effects of vasopressin on the malate-aspartate shuttle were also inhibited by W-7, trifluoperazine, and chlorpromazine. The results suggest that the malate-aspartate shuttle may be regulated by Ca(2+)-calmodulin.