PHYSIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF THE HYPOTHALAMIC - PITUITARY - THYROID AXIS
AuthorPamenter, Richard William
AdvisorStouffer, Richard L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis operates to maintain the circulating concentration of thyroid hormones. Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) is the major hypothalamic messenger controlling the pituitary-thyroid unit. However, the pituitary-thyroid unit responses to various modalities of TRH exposure are not well characterized. Also, interactions between the thyroid axis and other mammalian organ systems, specifically other hormone axes, to maintain the organism's homeostatic state are not well characterized. This work was designed to clarify the response of the pituitary-thyroid unit to TRH and to assess the effects of physiological levels of the rat's primary adrenal cortical hormone, corticosterone, on the thyroid axis. Adult rats were given equal amounts of TRH by intravenous (I.V.) bolus injection or constant intraperitoneal (I.P.) infusion. Both methods resulted in significant increases in plasma thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), although the time course and peak plasma value varied with the TRH dosage and administration method. Despite the differences in plasma TSH elicited, the thyroid gland responses were similar. Thus, the pituitary is sensitive to the rate and dose of TRH administration. Also, the thyroid is sensitive to plasma levels of TSH but reaches maximum stimulation at submaximal circulating TSH levels. Adrenalectomized female rats, with I.P. and I.V. catheters, were infused with corticosterone (B) to achieve plasma levels within the rat's physiological range. Plasma samples were drawn before and after submaximal TRH (250 ng/100 g Body Weight) administration for assay of TSH and B concentrations. B in the lower half of its physiological range significantly inhibited the increase in plasma TSH observed 10 and 30 minutes after TRH administration. Also, direct stereotaxic infusion of B (50 ng) followed by TRH (1 ng) into the anterior pituitary inhibited the observed increase in plasma TSH. These studies indicate that homeostatic thyroid axis hormone concentrations are maintained by a feedback loop mechanism which is modulated by adrenal hormones. Specifically, physiological levels of corticosterone decrease pituitary sensitivity to TRH in the rat. In addition, the pituitary and thyroid gland exhibit different response patterns to hormonal stimulation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College