Clinical and experimental data suggest that thyroid hormone affects the actions of catecholamine (CA). However, the serum or tissue levels of CA during thyroid disorders have not been well defined. Accordingly, we investigated the levels of CA and their metabolites in the cardiac muscle, the cerebral cortex, and the plasma of rats with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism versus euthyroid animals. The Neurochem analyzer system (ESA, Inc., Bedford, MA) was used in such determinations. The cardiac muscles of hyperthyroid rats exhibited a 16% decrease in the levels of 1-dopa, 3- methoxytyramine (3-MT) and homovanillic acid (HVA) as compared with those in euthyroid rats. The levels of norepinephrine (NE) in cardiac muscle of these rats increased significantly (5.2-fold) relative to the levels in euthyroid rats. NE was undetectable in the cardiac muscles of the hypothyroid rats. Epinephrine (E) and dopamine (DA) were not detected in the cardiac muscles of the rats with either thyroid disorder. Levels of E and 3,4-dihydroxymandelic acid (DOPEG) were detected only in the cerebral cortex of hyperthyroid rats. The cerebral cortex levels of 3-methyoxytyramine (3-MT), 3,4- dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), metanephrine (MN), and homovanillic acid (HVA) were all significantly increased in the hyperthyroid versus the euthyroid rats. The cerebral cortex levels of DA, NE, normetanephrine (NMN), and VMA in the hyperthyroid rats all showed a significant decrease. Levels of NE, NMN, and DOPAC in the cerebral cortex increased significantly in the hypothyroid rats. The level of VMA was undetectable in cerebral cortex of such animals. Data from studies on cardiac muscle and cerebral cortex indicate that the changes in CA and CA metabolites are responsible in part for the cardiovascular and the central nervous system symptoms observed in hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
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