1998 Volume 45 Issue 3 Pages 371-375
As we had an opportunity to take blood samples from a totally thyroidectomized patient who had attempted suicide by taking 2, 000μg of Levothyroxine (L-T4), the serum levels of thyroid hormones were sequentially measured to investigate the metabolism of circulating thyroid hormones in an athyreotic human. The serum concentrations of most thyroid hormones reached a peak on the second day, but the serum T3 level showed a peak one day later. The maximum concentrations of T4 (315μg/l), FT4 (48.8ng/l) and Rt3 (0.80μg/l) were very high, while the peak T3 level (1.92μg/l) did not exceed the upper limit of the normal range. The serum T4 and rT3 levels returned to their normal range 13-17 days after the suicide attempt. The TSH level was suppressed rapidly and reached its nadir (0.044mU/l) on the 6th day. During this period, the T1/2 and MCR of serum T4 were 10.4 days and 0.64 l/day, respectively, which values were almost equivalent to those observed during 15 days after discontinuation of the maintenance L-T4 therapy. In summary, the oral intake of a large amount of L-T4 at one time does not induce a proportional increase in the T3 level in an athyreotic person. The MCR of serum T4 is decreased and the T1/2 of serum T4 is prolonged, probably due to the lack of intrathyroidal deiodination. These findings support the conclusion that the D1 activity in the thyroid is one of the major determinants in the metabolic clearance of serum T4.