Background: Hypothyroidism has been related to low-weight births, abortion and prematurity, which have been associated with changes in the content of glycogen and vascularization of the placenta. Since hypothyroidism can cause dyslipidemia, it may affect the lipid content in the uterus affecting the development of fetuses.
Objective: To investigate the effect of hypothyroidism on the lipid levels in serum and uterus during pregnancy and their possible association with the size of fetuses.
Method: Adult female rabbits were grouped in control (n = 6) and hypothyroid (n = 6; treated with methimazole for 29 days before and 19 days after copulation). Food intake and body weight were daily registered. At gestational day 19 (GD19), dams were sacrificed under an overdose of anesthesia. Morphometric measures of fetuses were taken. Total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TAG), and glucose concentrations were quantified in blood, uterus and ovaries of dams. The expression of uterine 3β- hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) was quantified by Western blot.
Results: Hypothyroidism reduced food intake and body weight of dams, as well as promoted low abdominal diameters of fetuses. It did not induce dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia at GD19 and did not modify the content of lipids in the ovary. However, it reduced the content of TAG and TC in the uterus, which was associated with uterine hyperplasia and an increased expression of 3β-HSD in the uterus.
Conclusion: Hypothyroidism alters the lipid content in the uterus that might subsequently affect the energy production and lipid signaling important to fetal development.
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