Studies on the functional relationship between thyroid, adrenal and gonadal hormones

J Reprod Dev. 2004 Feb;50(1):9-20. doi: 10.1262/jrd.50.9.


In order to clarify the functional relationship between thyroid, adrenal and gonadal hormones, hypothyroidism was induced by administration of thiuoracil in adult male and female rats, and the effects of hypothyroidism on the adrenal and the gonadal axes were investigated in the present study. 1. The functional relationship between thyroid and adrenal hormones: Adrenal weights and corticosterone were lowered, whereas the secretion of ACTH, corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) increased in hypothyroid rats compared to euthyroid rats. These results indicate that hypothyroidism causes adrenal dysfunction directly and results in hypersecretion of CRH and AVP from the hypothalamus. 2. The functional relationship between thyroid and gonadal hormones: The pituitary response to LHRH was lowered, whereas the testicular response to hCG was not changed in hypothyroid rats. Hypothyroidism suppressed copulatory behavior in male rats. These results suggest that hypothyroidism probably causes dysfunction in gonadal axis at the hypothalamic-pituitary level in male rats. In adult female rats, hypothyroidism inhibited the follicular development accompanied estradiol secretion, whereas plasma concentrations of progesterone and prolactin (PRL) increased in hypothyroid female rats. Hypothyroidism significantly increased the pituitary content of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) though it did not affect dopamine synthesis. These results suggest that hypothyroidism increases pituitary content of VIP and this increased level of VIP likely affects PRL secretion in a paracrine or autocrine manner. In female rats, inhibition of gonadal function in hypothyroid rats mediated by hyperprolactinemia in addition to hypersecretion of endogenous CRH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Diseases / etiology
  • Adrenal Gland Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Adrenal Glands / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Gonadal Hormones / physiology*
  • Hypothyroidism / complications
  • Hypothyroidism / physiopathology*
  • Thyroid Gland / physiology*


  • Gonadal Hormones