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Exploring the use of recombinant human TSH in the diagnosis of central hypothyroidism.

Author(s): Filipsson H, Nystrom E, Johannsson G

Affiliation(s): Department of Endocrinology, Sahlgrenska Academy at Goteborg University, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Grona Straket 8, SE-41345 Goteborg, Sweden. helena.filipsson@telia.com

Publication date & source: 2008-08, Eur J Endocrinol., 159(2):153-60. Epub 2008 May 29.

Publication type: Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

CONTEXT: The diagnosis of central hypothyroidism (CH) is often difficult to establish as serum TSH levels may be low, normal, or slightly increased. OBJECTIVE: To explore the use of recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) in the diagnosis of CH. DESIGN: Randomized single-blind clinical trial. SETTING: Outpatient clinic of a tertiary care referral center. INTERVENTION: A single intramuscular injection of 0.1 and 0.9 mg rhTSH in random order with 1-week interval. PARTICIPANTS: Eighteen adult patients with pituitary insufficiency and six healthy age-, sex-, and body mass index-matched controls. Six patients had untreated CH (newCH), six had treated CH (CH), and six patients were TSH sufficient (nonCH). Five weeks before TSH stimulation, levothyroxine was replaced with tri-iodothyronine (T(3)) for 4 weeks. One week before stimulation, treatment was withdrawn. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Thyroid hormones and thyroglobulin (Tg) before and 2, 3(1/2), 7, 24, 48, and 72 h after each injection. RESULTS: In the newCH group, basal free thyroxine (FT(4)) levels were lower than in controls (P<0.05). After 0.9 mg rhTSH, the increases in FT(4) and reverse T(3) (rT(3)) were less marked in the newCH group than in controls (FT(4)+/-s.e.m. 9.2+/-0.5 to 19.7+/-1.2 vs 11.3+/-0.5 to 27.8.2+/-2.4 pmol/l, P<0.05). The CH group exhibited reduced basal and stimulated FT(4) compared with the TSH-sufficient groups. Tg increased similarly among all study groups after rhTSH injection. CONCLUSION: In this pilot study, patients with untreated CH had lower response to 0.9 mg rhTSH in FT(4) and rT(3) than controls. An rhTSH test may be useful in the diagnosis of CH, but further studies are required.

Page last updated: 2008-08-10

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