OBJECTIVES: Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) acts in an extra-thyroidal fashion and induces a pro-inflammatory, pro-coagulant state. Blood monocytes can be activated by vascular stress, but it is not known if this occurs upon TSH administration. Our aim was to determine if recombinant human (rh) TSH, administered acutely to patients being screened for thyroid cancer recurrence, alters blood monocyte gene expression.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Patients (14 women, 1 man) had a mean (±SD) age of 48±10 years, a body mass index of 26±6 kg/m2, a history of total thyroidectomy and radioablation for thyroid cancer, and were on L-thyroxine therapy at a university teaching hospital. They received 2 intramuscular doses of rhTSH (0.9 mg), administered on days 1 and 2. Blood samples were obtained at baseline on day1, and on days 3 and 5.
RESULTS: Monocyte MCP-1 mRNA (mean±SE) increased significantly by 1.7±0.3 fold on day 5 following rhTSH stimulation (p=0.03, n=15). IL-1β and CD36 mRNA expression also increased on day 5 (1.9±0.4 fold, p=0.07, n=14) and 2.5±0.4 fold, p=0.1, n=10), respectively, although did not quite reach statistical significance. Significant correlations were detected between the BMI of patients and their TSH-stimulated monocyte mRNA responses at day 5 for CD11a, (r=0.66, n=14, p=0.01); CD14 (r=0.638, n=13, p=0.019), and CD16, r=0.84, n=13, p=0.0003).
CONCLUSION: TSH administration increases pro-atherogenic monocyte gene expression.