Hypothyroidism (HT) has an increased risk for cardiovascular mortality and morbidity due to increased atherosclerosis. Heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP) is abundant in the cytosol of cardiomyocytes, and transports fatty acids into these cells. Although H-FABP has been shown to increase in several atherosclerotic and inflammatory conditions, there is no literature data indicating an alteration in other atherosclerotic processes such as HT.
Material and methods
A total of 39 patients with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH), 26 patients with overt hypothyroidism (OH), and 29 healthy subjects were enrolled in this study. Carotid artery intima media thickness (CIMT) was measured by high resolution B mode ultrasonography. H-FABP levels, thyroid function test, and biochemical tests of all subjects were measured. The associations between H-FABP and thyroid test and CIMT were examined with correlation and regression analysis.
OH patients had higher H-FABP levels (mean, 6.18 ± 3.08 ng/mL) than both the SCH (mean, 3.81 ± 2.16 ng/mL) and the controls (mean, 2.12 ± 1.27 ng/mL) (P < 0.01 and < 0.001, respectively). SCH patients had increased serum H-FABP levels compared with control subjects (P < 0.01). CIMT of both OH and SCH patients was also significantly greater compared with control subjects (both of p < 0.01). H-FABP was significantly and positively correlated with age, systolic blood pressure, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, and CIMT, and negatively correlated with fT4 levels. The H-FABP levels retained an independent and positive association with systolic blood pressure, and a negative association with fT4 levels.
Serum H-FABP levels progressively increased from the control group to the OH group. This suggests that H-FABP may be an indicator of low-level myocardial damage in HT, especially when used together with CIMT. Decreasing serum fT4 levels seem also to have an effect on H-FABP levels.