L. Guasti a , F. Marino a , M. Cosentino a , M. Cimpanelli a , E. Piantanida a , L.T. Mainardi b , P. Vanoli a , D. De Palma a , R. Bombelli a , M. Ferrari a , C. Crespi a , C. Simoni a , C. Klersy c , G. Gaudio a , L. Maroni a , A.M. Grandi a , M. Tanda a , L. Bartalena a , S. Cerutti b , S. Lecchini a , A. Venco a
13 November 2006
Background: The effects of thyroid deprivation on the autonomic modulation to the heart remain controversial. Methods: In this study in patients followed for thyroid carcinoma, we investigated (1) heart rate variability parameters and the baroreflex gain and (2) intracellular catecholamine levels in circulating lymphocytes during short-term hypothyroidism (phase 1) and after reinstitution of TSH-suppressive thyroid hormone replacement (phase 2). Results: The RR interval value (p < 0.01) and systolic blood pressure (p < 0.05) were higher in phase 1 than in phase 2. The low-frequency/high-frequency (LF/HF) ratio was significantly lower in the hypothyroid state (p < 0.05), with a higher HF component (p < 0.05). After adjusting for mean RR interval in the regression model, the difference between the power of RR interval oscillations calculated in the two states was greater for the LF band (p = 0.005) and it was borderline significant for the HF band (p = 0.052). The baroreflex gain α<sub>LF</sub> index was similar in the two phases. The stimulus-induced cellular production of norepinephrine and epinephrine in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly higher in phase 2. Conclusion: The neurally-mediated influences on the sinus node and the study of intracellular catecholamine production suggest a reduced sympathoexcitation in hypothyroidism compared with the treatment phase. The early increase in blood pressure observed after thyroid hormone withdrawal is not due to impaired sensitivity of the baroreflex arc.