Endocrine Journal
Online ISSN : 1348-4540
Print ISSN : 0918-8959
ISSN-L : 0918-8959
A rabbit model of fatal hypothyroidism mimicking “myxedema coma” established by microscopic total thyroidectomy
Yosuke OnoMasanori FujitaSachiko OnoSho OgataShoichi TachibanaYuji Tanaka
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論文ID: EJ16-0005

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Myxedema coma (MC) is a life-threatening endocrine crisis caused by severe hypothyroidism. However, validated diagnostic criteria and treatment guidelines for MC have not been established owing to its rarity. Therefore, a valid animal model is required to investigate the pathologic and therapeutic aspects of MC. The aim of the present study was to establish an animal model of MC induced by total thyroidectomy. We utilized 14 male New Zealand White rabbits anesthetized via intramuscular ketamine and xylazine administration. A total of 7 rabbits were completely thyroidectomized under a surgical microscope (thyroidectomized group) and the remainder underwent sham operations (control group). The animals in both groups were monitored without thyroid hormone replacement for 15 weeks. Pulse rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and electrocardiograms (ECG) were recorded and blood samples were taken from the jugular vein immediately prior to the thyroidectomy and 2 and 4 weeks after surgery. The thyroidectomized rabbits showed a marked reduction of serum thyroxine levels at 4 weeks after the surgical procedure vs. controls (0.50±0.10 vs. 3.32±0.68 μg/dL, p<0.001). Additionally, thyroidectomized rabbits exhibited several signs of hypothyroidism such as hypothermia, systolic hypotension, bradycardia, and low voltage on ECGs, compared with controls. Of the 7 rabbits with severe hypothyroidism, 6 died from 4 to 14 weeks after the thyroidectomy possibly owing to heart failure, because histopathologic examinations revealed a myxedema heart. In summary, we have established a rabbit model of fatal hypothyroidism mimicking MC, which may facilitate pathophysiological and molecular investigations of MC and evaluations of new therapeutic interventions.

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