Plasma thyroxine, 3,3',5-triiodothyronine and 3,3',5'-triiodothyronine during beta-adrenergic blockade in hyperthyroidism

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
R P VerhoevenM A Schalekamp


Plasma thyroxine (T4), 3,3',5-triiodothyronine (T3) and 3,3',5'-triiodothyronine (rT3) were measured in 16 patients with Graves' disease. Patients were studied under the following conditions: first without any treatment, then, during beta-adrenergic blockade with propranolol, and finally after euthyroidism had been attained by carbimazole. During propranolol T3/T4 ratio decreased, whereas T4 remained unchanged. After carbimazole T3/T4 ratio returned to its pretreatment value. rT3/T4 ratio showed opposite changes. These results suggest that peripheral conversion of T4 into T3 and rT3 in hyperthyroidism is, at least partly, dependent on the functional status of the beta-adrenergic system. Suppressed peripheral conversion of T4 into T3 during beta-adrenergic blocking agents may contribute to the beneficial effects of these drugs in thyrotoxicosis.


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