Effect of thyroid hormone excess on action, secretion, and metabolism of insulin in humans

Am J Physiol. 1985 May;248(5 Pt 1):E593-601. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1985.248.5.E593.


To determine the effect of thyroid hormone excess on insulin secretion, metabolism and action in humans, we examined intravenous glucose tolerance, glucose-induced insulin secretion, insulin clearance, monocyte insulin receptor binding, and the dose-response characteristics for the effects of insulin on glucose production, uptake, oxidation, and nonoxidative disposal in 10 normal volunteers for 14 days before and after oral administration of triiodothyronine (T3) in doses that increased plasma T3 to levels observed in spontaneous thyrotoxicosis (P less than 0.001). After T3 postabsorptive plasma glucose (P less than 0.05) and insulin (P less than 0.05) both increased; intravenous glucose tolerance was unaffected, but plasma insulin responses were increased (P less than 0.01); basal glucose production, uptake, and oxidation all increased (all P less than 0.05), whereas nonoxidative glucose disposal was unaffected (P = NS); monocyte insulin receptor binding increased (P less than 0.01) due to increased receptor affinity (P less than 0.05); and receptor number was not significantly altered (P = NS). Insulin clearance was increased. Insulin-induced suppression of glucose production was impaired (Km 22 +/- 3 vs. 37 +/- 7 microU/ml, P less than 0.02); maximal insulin-induced glucose uptake (10.7 +/- 0.6 vs. 13.0 +/- 0.9 mg X kg-1 X min-1, P less than 0.001) and oxidation (3.41 +/- 0.30 vs. 5.34 +/- 0.59 mg X kg-1 X min-1, P less than 0.001) were increased without a significant change in Km. However, submaximal rates of nonoxidative glucose disposal and glucose uptake were inappropriately low for the increased insulin receptor binding.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / chemically induced
  • Hyperthyroidism / metabolism*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Pulse
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Lactates
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Lactic Acid
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine