Thyroid hormone linked to cholesterol levels

Published 2008-04-29 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:29

esearchers at Karolinska Institutet have in animal studies found that thyroid hormone strongly reduces the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. The findings are published in the April issue of Gastroenterology, and can explain why plasma cholesterol is increased in patients with hypothyroidism.

According to the research group, lead by Professor Mats Rudling at the Department for Medicine, Huddinge, the mechanism also works in the opposite direction; deficiency of thyroid hormone increases the absorption of cholesterol from the gut, which eventually increases the levels of cholesterol in the blood. The published article is based on animal studies. However the findings may a have implications on humans, which is studied further by the Karolinska Institutet group.

"The findings are important since they can explain why plasma cholesterol is increased in patients with hypothyroidism", says Mats Rudling. "They also tell us more about a new class of drugs against high cholesterol levels in the blood, that we put much hope in."

Galman, C., Bonde, Y., Matasconi, M., Angelin, B. and Rudling, M.

Dramatically increased intestinal absorption of cholesterol following hypophysectomy is normalized by thyroid hormone

Gastroenterology 134:1127-1136, April 2008

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