Both thyroid hormone and hypothalamic growth hormone (GH)-releasing factor (GRF) facilitate pituitary somatotroph function. However, the pathophysiological role of thyroid hormone in GRF secretion is less well understood. Thyrotoxicosis, induced by administration of thyroxine (T4) in rats, inhibited both pituitary GH levels and immunoreactive GRF secretion from incubated hypothalamus. At the highest dose of T4 given for 12 d, GRF secretion and pituitary GH decreased by 50 and 39%, respectively. Hypothyroidism induced by thyroidectomy (Tx) enhanced GRF secretion approximately twofold while depleting pituitary GH by greater than 99%. Both of these hypothalamic and pituitary effects were reversed by replacement of T4 but not human GH for 7 or 14 d. Human GH was as potent as T4 in restoring decreased body weight gains or serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels in Tx rats. These results indicate that at both physiological and pathological concentrations in serum, thyroid hormone acts as an inhibitory modulator of GRF secretion, probably not involving a feedback mechanism through GH. A biphasic effect of thyroid hormone on pituitary GH levels appears to derive from the difference in primary target tissues of hyper- and hypothyroidism, the hypothalamus and the pituitary, respectively.
N Miki, M Ono, N Hizuka, T Aoki, H Demura