Thyroid treatment may prevent heart disease in diabetics
Restoring thyroid hormones in heart may prevent cardiovascular disease resulting from diabetes, according to a new study
Administering low doses of a thyroid hormone to rats with diabetes helped restore hormone levels in their hearts and prevented deterioration of heart function and pathology, researchers said.
The study by New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) College of Osteopathic Medicine professor A Martin Gerdes provides the first clear indication that low thyroid hormone levels in cardiac tissue of diabetic individuals may be the major cause of their associated heart disease.
The study finds that diabetes triggers low thyroid levels that contribute to heart failure.
In animal models, Gerdes and colleagues found that administering low doses of the active form of thyroid hormone, T3, prevented the progression of heart disease.
“This treatment prevented the abnormal changes in gene expression, tissue pathology, and heart function,” said Gerdes.
“The clinical implications are profound and far-reaching because it suggests that the heart disease associated with diabetes may be easily preventable,” Gerdes said.
“And importantly, the dose we gave of T3 hormone did not significantly change the serum (blood) thyroid hormone levels but it was enough to make all the difference in the heart tissue,” Gerdes said.
An individual’s thyroid levels are usually measured by blood tests. But Gerdes has noted that thyroid hormone levels in cardiac tissue do not necessarily correspond with blood test readings of thyroid levels.
His research has consistently found that low-dose thyroid hormone replacement may be a safe and effective therapy to help humans suffering from heart disease.
“A low thyroid condition can cause heart failure by itself,” said Gerdes.
In his animal study, Gerdes and colleagues induced a mild form of diabetes in rats and waited a month for the condition to develop. They then administered low doses of T3 hormone for two months.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Medicine.