Effects of ovariectomy and chronic estradiol administration on pituitary-thyroid axis in adult rats
Sekulić, Milka I.
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The effects of ovariectomy (Ovx) and of ovariectomy followed by chronic estradiol dipropionate administration (Ovx EDP) on the structure and function of the pituitary-thyroid axis were examined in the rat. Pituitary TSH cells and thyroid tissue were histologically, immunohistochemically and stereologically investigated. Serum TSH and T-4 levels were determined by RIA. Ovx did not affect pituitary weight, but subsequent treatment with EDP led to its more than two-fold increase (p < 0.05). After ovariectomy, the cellular volume of pituitary TSH-immunoreactive cells increased by 28%, p < 0.05 compared to sham-operated animals (SO). Treatment of Ovx rats with EDP partially reversed this change. However, the relative volume density of thyrotrophs decreased in comparison to the Ovx and SO groups (by 18% and 23%, p < 0.05, respectively). No statistically significant differences in serum TSH levels were observed between the experimental groups. In thyroid tissue both peripheral and central follicles responded to Ovx and EDP treatments. Compared to SO rats, the relative volume densities of the follicles and colloid were increased (by 14% and 30%, p < 0.05, respectively) in Ovx rats. Chronic EDP treatment of Ovx rats reversed these changes to the pre-ovariectomy state. Hyperplasia of thyroid follicular cells and a significant reduction (by 21%, p < 0.05) of the serum level of T-4 were detected. In conclusion, estradiol deficiency and chronic treatment affected pituitary TSH cells and thyroid tissue. The sum effect of Ovx on the pituitary-thyroid axis was slightly stimulatory. Subsequent EDP treatment decreased thyroid functioning but at the same time preserved serum TSH at the control level. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.