Levothyroxine replacement therapy with vitamin E supplementation prevents the oxidative stress and apoptosis in hippocampus of hypothyroid rats.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of levothyroxine (L-T4), vitamin E or both on oxidative stress status and hippocampal apoptosis in a propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced hypothyroid rat model.

METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into five groups: Control, PTU+PTU+L-T4+PTU+Vit E, PTU+Vit E+L-T4. In each group we assessed levels of serum triiodothyronine (T3), tetraiodothyronine (T4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), hippocampus cellular apoptosis index (AI), hippocampus nicotinamide adenine denucleotide hydrogen (NADPH)oxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD).

RESULTS: 1) Compared with the control group, NADPH oxidase levels were significantly increased, and SOD levels were significantly reduced in the PTU groups (p<0.05). 2) Compared to the PTU group, SOD levels were significantly increased in the PTU+Vit E and PTU+L-T4+Vit E group (p<0.05). NADPH oxidase levels were significantly decreased in the PTU+L-T4, PTU+Vit E and PTU+ L-T4+Vit E group (p<0.05). 3) Compared with the control group, hippocampus AI increased significantly in the PTU group (p<0.05). Compared with the PTU group, hippocampus AI was significantly reduced in the PTU+L-T4 group and PTU+L-T4+Vit E group (p<0.05). 4) Hippocampus AI was positively correlated with NADPH oxidase expression levels in hippocampus tissue (r=0.644, p<0.01).

CONCLUSION: Levothyroxine replacement therapy combined with vitamin E reduces hippocampus AI by improving oxidative stress. This study suggested that the mechanisms of hippocampus tissue injury in a hypothyroid rat model is related to hippocampus apoptosis from increased oxidative stress.

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