Thyroid Function and Blood Pressure Homeostasis in Euthyroid Subjects

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Abstract

Overt and subclinical hypothyroidism are associated with increased systemic vascular resistance and hypertension. We examined the relationship between thyroid function and blood pressure homeostasis in euthyroid individuals. A total of 284 subjects (68% hypertensive) consumed high- (200 mmol) and low- (10 mmol) sodium diets, and their blood pressure responses were assessed as percentage change in the mean arterial pressure (MAP). p-Aminohippuric acid clearance was used to estimate effective renal plasma flow. Renal vascular resistance (RVR) was calculated as MAP divided by effective renal plasma flow. Serum free T4 index (FTI) was lower (P < 0.0001) and TSH was higher (P = 0.046) in hypertensive compared with normotensive subjects independent of other baseline characteristics. FTI (β = −1.51, P < 0.0001), baseline MAP, and race independently predicted MAP salt sensitivity. The FTI relationship with salt sensitivity adjusted for baseline MAP and race was similar among normotensive (β = −1.42, P = 0.008) and hypertensive subjects (β = −1.66, P = 0.0001). FTI correlated negatively with high- (P = 0.0001) and low- (P = 0.008) salt RVR, whereas TSH correlated positively with high- (P = 0.016) and low- (P = 0.012) salt RVR independent of age, gender, race, and body mass index. We have found that FTI is lower and TSH is higher in hypertensive compared with normotensive euthyroid subjects and that FTI independently predicts blood pressure salt sensitivity. These data show that the influence of thyroid function on blood pressure homeostasis extends into euthyroid range and likely reflects the action of thyroid hormone on peripheral vasculature.

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