Subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) occurs when serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations are raised and serum thyroid hormone concentrations are normal. The effect of SH on the proinflammatory adipose cytokine releasing visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is not clear. The aim of this study is to identify the difference between the pre and posttreatment levels of VAT, leptin, and resistin in SH patients.
There were 51 SH patients and 43 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects included in the study. Thyroid functions, biochemical tests, leptin, resistin, and visceral and subcutaneous fat measurements were made. The measurements were repeated in the SH group in the third month following L-thyroxin treatment.
Initially, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, carotid artery intima-media thickness (mm), leptin, and resistin levels were significantly higher in the SH group compared to the controls, while the other parameters were similar. While no correlation was observed between TSH levels and adipokines, a positive correlation was detected between waist circumference and leptin levels (r = 0.549, p < 0.01). Visceral adipose tissue was positively correlated to age, waist circumference, and leptin levels, but negatively correlated to free thyroxin (T4) levels (r = 0.419, p = 0.009; r = 0.794, p < 0.01; r = 0.515, p < 0.01 and r = − 0.416, p = 0.009, respectively). A significant decrease was observed in VAT volume, leptin, and resistin levels of SH patients following levothyroxine treatment.
The reduced VAT volume, leptin, and resistin levels in SH patients following treatment may support the idea that TSH affects adipose tissue functions.