Main content area

Thyroid Hormone and Thyrotropin Concentrations and Responses to Thyrotropin-Stimulating Hormone in Horses with PPID Compared with Age-Matched Normal Horses

Breuhaus, Babetta A.
Journal of equine veterinary science 2019 v.75 pp. 35-40
blood serum, cortisol, dialysis, excretion, horses, metabolites, thyroid function, thyrotropin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone, triiodothyronine
Glucocorticoids are known to exert inhibitory action on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. With recent evidence that free plasma cortisol and urinary excretion of cortisol metabolites may be increased in horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), it is important to further examine thyroid function in horses with PPID. To test the hypothesis that serum thyrotropin (TSH) concentrations are decreased in horses with PPID, baseline serum thyroid hormone and TSH concentrations, and responses to TSH-releasing hormone (TRH), were compared between 12 horses diagnosed as having PPID and 14 age-matched normal horses. Horses with PPID had resting serum concentrations of free thyroxine by equilibrium dialysis (fT4D) and TSH that were significantly lower than serum concentrations of fT4D and TSH in age-matched normal horses. Serum concentrations of total T4 and total and free triiodothyronine (T3) were also lower in horses with PPID compared with normal horses, but the differences did not reach statistical significance. Thyroid hormone and TSH responses to TRH administration were not different between horses with PPID and normal horses. In conclusion, serum fT4D concentrations are decreased in horses with PPID without an appropriate increase in serum TSH concentrations. Normal serum thyroid hormone and TSH concentration responses to exogenous TRH administration support the theory that increased glucocorticoid activity in horses with PPID may exert prolonged tonic suppression, but not complete inhibition, of TRH and subsequent TSH release, similar to what has been observed in other species.