Volume 60 (1998) Issue 4 Pages 439-446
The effect of hypothyroidism on adrenals and gonads in adult female rats was investigated throughout the estrous cycle. Hypothyroidism was induced by administration of 4-Methyl-2-Thiouracil (Thiouracil) in the drinking water. The weight of ovaries and adrenals, and the plasma levels of corticosterone decreased in hypothyroid rats as compared with euthyroid rats throughout the estrous cycle. Hypothyroidism resulted in decreased concentrations of plasma LH on the day of diestrus and proestrus, whereas the plasma concentrations of prolactin and progesterone increased as compared with euthyroid rats. The weight of uteri and plasma concentrations of estradiol decreased during the day of diestrus and proestrus in hypothyroid rats as compared with euthyroid rats. To further clarify the dysfunction of hypothalamo-hypophysial-adrenal axis in hypothyroid rats, animals were stressed by immobilization for 3 hr. In hypothyroid rats, a marked increase in plasma levels of ACTH in response to immobilization stress was observed compared to euthyroid control, whereas increases in plasma concentrations of corticosterone were much smaller in hypothyroid than euthyroid rats. These results clearly indicate that hypothyroidism causes both gonadal and adrenal disturbances in adult female rats. The increased concentrations of plasma progesterone may be due to hypersecretion of prolactin during the day of proestrus and estrus, which in turn result in disruption of the estrous cycle.