To determine the effect of hyperthyroidism on hepatic lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis we measured these metabolic pathways (deuterated water method) in euthyroid and hyperthyroid subjects investigated in the postabsorptive state. Hyperthyroid patients had increased concentrations of glucose (P < 0.05), insulin (P < 0.05), nonesterified fatty acids (P < 0.01), and triglycerides (P < 0.05) and decreased levels of plasma cholesterol (P < 0.01). The contribution of hepatic lipogenesis to plasma triglycerides was largely increased in hyperthyroid subjects (23.0 +/- 1.8% vs. 7.5 +/- 0.2%; P < 0.001), whereas the fractional synthetic rate of cholesterol was moderately higher (5.0 +/- 0.8% vs. 3.3 +/- 0.2%; P < 0.05). mRNA levels of beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, measured in circulating mononuclear cells, were increased (P < 0.05), whereas those of low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor and LDL receptor-related protein were unchanged. Sterol responsive element binding protein-1c mRNAs were undetectable in mononuclear cells from both groups of subjects. The large stimulation of hepatic lipogenesis in hyperthyroid patients is probably explained by both a direct action of thyroid hormones and the increase in insulin. It could contribute to their moderate rise in triglycerides levels. The decreased plasma cholesterol level is observed despite an enhanced synthetic rate and is thus related to an increased clearance rate. The lack of increased expression of LDL receptor and LDL receptor-related protein suggests that other receptors are implicated.
A. Cachefo, P. Boucher, C. Vidon
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism