BACKGROUND: Levothyroxine replacement treatment in hypothyroidism is unable to restore physiological thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations in serum and tissues completely. Normal serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations reflect only pituitary euthyroidism and, therefore, novel biomarkers representing tissue-specific thyroid state are needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding regulatory RNAs, exhibit tissue-specific expression patterns and can be detectable in serum. Previous studies have demonstrated differential expression of (precursors of) miRNAs in tissues under the influence of thyroid hormone.
OBJECTIVE: To study if serum miRNA profiles are changed in different thyroid states.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We studied 13 athyroid patients (6 males) during TSH suppressive therapy and after 4 weeks of thyroid hormone withdrawal. A magnetic bead capture system was used to isolate 384 defined miRNAs from serum. Subsequently, the TaqMan Array Card 3.0 platform was used for profiling after individual target amplification.
RESULTS: Mean age of the subjects was 44.0 years (range 20-61 years). Median TSH levels were 88.9 mU/l during levothyroxine withdrawal and 0.006 mU/l during LT4 treatment with a median dosage of 2.1 μg/kg. After normalization to allow inter-sample analysis, a paired analysis did not demonstrate a significant difference in expression of any of the 384 miRNAs analyzed on and off LT4 treatment.
CONCLUSION: Although we previously showed an up-regulation of pri-miRNAs 133b and 206 in hypothyroid state in skeletal muscle, the present study does not supply evidence that thyroid state also affects serum miRNAs in humans.