Sex hormone-binding globulin in the diagnosis of peripheral tissue resistance to thyroid hormone: the value of changes after short term triiodothyronine administration.
Thyroid hormone is one of several factors that modulate the level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in serum. SHBG levels are usually elevated in thyrotoxicosis and have been reported to be normal in a few patients with generalized resistance to thyroid hormone (GRTH). This study was designed to determine whether basal serum SHBG levels or the SHBG response to short term T3 administration could be used as an index of thyroid hormone action and thus serve as a test for the evaluation of patients suspected of having peripheral tissue resistance to thyroid hormone. Serum SHBG, total T4, free T4 index (FT4I), total T3, and TSH levels were measured in 21 normal subjects, 28 hypothyroid patients, 20 thyrotoxic patients, and 10 patients with GRTH. Excluding patients with GRTH, serum basal SHBG values were correlated with FT4I values (r = 0.66; P less than 0.0001). Mean SHBG levels in the patients with GRTH [37.6 +/- 16.2 (+/- SD) nmol/L] were not significantly different from those in the normal subjects (35.1 +/- 19.3 nmol/L) or hypothyroid patients (26.3 +/- 17.1 nmol/L), but were significantly lower than those in the thyrotoxic group (64.7 +/- 19.2 nmol/L; P less than 0.001). All 10 patients with GRTH had basal SHBG values in the normal range, but 7 of 20 (35%) thyrotoxic patients also had normal basal SHBG values. T3 was given orally for three sequential 3-day periods at doses of 50, 100, and 200 micrograms daily to 7 normal subjects, 11 hypothyroid and 3 thyrotoxic patients, and all 10 patients with GRTH. The serum SHBG concentration was measured on the last day at each dosage level. During T3 administration, SHBG levels increased in all individuals with normal tissue responsiveness. The increase above the basal value (delta SHBG) at each T3 dose was similar in normal, hypothyroid, and thyrotoxic individuals (non-resistant subjects). After administration of 50 micrograms T3 daily, the mean delta SHBG level was decreased [-2.9 +/- 5.3 (+/- SD) nmol/L] in the resistant patients and increased (4.0 +/- 4.9 nmol/L; P less than 0.005) in the nonresistant subjects. After administration of 100 micrograms T3 daily, the mean delta SHBG was -4.5 +/- 6.8 nmol/L in the resistant patients and 8.6 +/- 5.1 nmol/L (P less than 0.0001) in the nonresistant subjects. Serum SHBG decreased by more than 2 nmol/L in 6 of 10 (60%) resistant patients, but in no nonresistant subject.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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