The effect of L-thyroxine substitution on lipid profile, glucose homeostasis, inflammation and coagulation in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism

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Subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) is associated with increased risk for atherosclerosis, mainly attributable to dyslipidaemia and hypercoagulability. However, conflicting data exist regarding the effect of L-thyroxine substitution on these parameters.


The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of L-thyroxine therapy on lipidaemic profile, coagulation markers, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and glucose homoeostasis in SH patients.


It was a prospective open-label study. The following parameters were measured before and 6 months after intervention: anthropometric data, total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), apolipoproteins B (apoB) and A1 (apoA1), lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)], fasting plasma glucose and insulin, homoeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), hsCRP, antithrombin III (AT-III), protein C (PC), protein S (PS), fibrinogen and homocysteine.


Thirty-two patients (30 women) aged 52.1 ± 13.9 years with SH completed the study. Baseline mean TSH levels were 6.79 ± 2.58 mIU/ml. Achievement of euthyroidism significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (BP) in patients with SH (from 135.2 ± 18.5 to 129.7 ± 15.8 mmHg, p = 0.03) and diastolic BP only in those with baseline TSH levels > 7 mIU/ml (from 79.5 ± 9.8 to 72.1 ± 7.3 mmHg, p = 0.03).


No significant changes in body weight, TC, LDL-C, HDL-C, TG, apoB, glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, hsCRP, AT-III, PC, PS, fibrinogen or homocysteine levels were noticed after restoration of euthyroidism, except for a decrease in apoA1 (p = 0.04) and an increase in Lp(a) levels (p = 0.02).


Except for a reduction in systolic and diastolic BP, thyroid substitution therapy does not affect lipidaemic profile, systematic inflammation, glucose homoeostasis or coagulation in patients with SH.

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