Raised TSH is associated with endothelial dysfunction in Metabolic Syndrome: A case control study

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Introduction. Endothelial dysfunction has been considered as one of the important factors in pathogenesis of Metabolic Syndrome (Met S). Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) has also been reported to be associated with Met S. The aim of our study is to evaluate the association of raised TSH with mediators of endothelial dysfunction in Met S with Subclinical hypothyroidism as compared to healthy controls.

Methods. Study population consisted of 100 subjects, out of which 50 were cases of Met S and 50 were healthy controls. Met S group were further divided into two, based on the presence & absence of SCH. Serum insulin, T3, T4, TSH were measured by chemiluminescence based immunoassay (CLIA). Serum nitric oxide (NO) levels were measured by Modified Griess’s method and serum endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels were measured by ELISA.

Results. Out of 50 cases of Met S, SCH was diagnosed in 22. The mean serum TSH levels were significantly higher in Met S cases as compared to healthy controls (5.7 ± 1.2 μIU/mL vs. 2.3 ± 1.6 μIU/mL, P <0.0001). Mean serum NO levels were significantly lower in Met S cases as compared to healthy control (15.4 ± 10 μM vs. 21 ± 10 μM, p = 0.009). Mean serum ET-1 levels were significantly higher in Met S cases as compared to healthy controls (2.68 ± 1.7 fmol/mL vs. 2.1 ± 0.84 fmol/mL, p = 0.011). On Pearson’s correlation analysis, TSH showed positive correlation with ET-1 (r = 0.341, p = 0.001) and negative correlation with NO (r = −0.331, p = 0.001). Binary logistic regression analysis showed that TSH, NO and ET-1 has significant odd’s ratio for predicting Met S.

Conclusion. Met S cases were screened for thyroid abnormalities and found to have 44% of SCH along with co-existing endothelial dysfunction. Raised TSH in SCH could cause endothelial dysfunction which may lead to Met S and associated co-morbidities. Present study gives new insight in linking endothelial dysfunction and raised TSH in Met S. Therefore, Met S cases should be screened for SCH and treated appropriately to attenuate endothelial dysfunction and associated comorbidities in Met S.

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