Orchidectomy of middle-aged rats decreases liver deiodinase 1 and pituitary deiodinase 2 activity

    1. Josef Köhrle1
    1. Department of Cytology, Institute for Biological Research ‘Siniša Stanković’, University of Belgrade, Despot Stefan Boulevard 142, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
      1Institut für Experimentelle Endokrinologie, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, D-13353 Berlin, Germany
    1. (Correspondence should be addressed to B Šošić-Jurjević; Email: brankasj{at}ibiss.bg.ac.rs)


    Endogenous androgens are involved in regulation of thyroid function and metabolism of thyroid hormones. As serum testosterone level progressively declines with age, this regulation may change. We tested how androgen deprivation, achieved by orchidectomy, affects thyroid homeostasis in middle-aged rats. Fifteen-month-old Wistar rats were orchidectomized (Orx) or sham-operated under ketamine anesthesia (15 mg/kg body weight). Five weeks after the surgery, animals were decapitated. Thyroids were used for histomorphometric and ultrastructural examinations and together with livers and pituitaries for real-time quantitative PCR and deiodinase (DIO) activity measurements. Serum testosterone, TSH, l-thyroxine (T4), and cholesterol (Chol) levels were determined. As expected, middle-aged control rats had lower (P<0.05) testosterone and T4 compared with 3-month-old males. In the Orx middle-aged group, we detected diminished serum testosterone (P<0.05), no change in TSH and T4 levels, and higher Chol level (P<0.05), in comparison with age-matched controls. Histomorphometric analysis of thyroid tissue revealed decreased relative volume densities of follicles and colloid (P<0.05). Relevant gene expressions and DIO1 enzyme activity were not changed in the thyroids of Orx rats. Liver Dio1 gene expression and DIO1 activity were decreased (P<0.05) in comparison with the control values. Pituitary levels of TSHβ, Dio1, and Dio2 mRNAs did not change, while DIO2 activity decreased (P<0.05). In conclusion, orchidectomy of middle-aged rats affected thyroid structure with no effect on serum T4 and TSH. However, decreased liver DIO1 and pituitary DIO2 enzyme activities indicate compensatory–adaptive changes in local T3 production.

    • Received in final form 3 September 2012
    • Accepted 6 September 2012
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 6 September 2012
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