Effects of long-term treatment with resveratrol and subcutaneous and oral estradiol administration on the pituitary-thyroid-axis.
The lack of estrogen during menopause is associated with various symptoms including osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and menopausal symptoms. For many years, conventional hormone replacement therapy has been successfully used to treat these conditions. However, in light of recent studies that draw attention to potential hazards of conventional HRT, various attempts were undertaken to search for alternatives of classical HRT. Phytoestrogens are supposed to ameliorate various discomforts associated with menopause. Resveratrol (RES) is present in red wine, grapes and peanuts and has been implicated in cardioprotection and prevention of adverse side effects observed after regular HRT. As the pituitary-thyroid axis is a target of estrogen action, we first assessed the effects of E2 administration on thyroid hormone stimulating hormone releasing hormone (TRH)-induced thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion from pituitary cell cultures in vitro. Our data reveal that E2 treatment augments the TRH-induced TSH secretion. We furthermore designed a long-term study of three months to assess the effects of subcutaneous and oral administration of 17beta-estradiol (E2), as well as the actions of RES on the pituitary-thyroid axis in ovariectomized (OVX) female rats. Our results demonstrate that serum levels of 1.0 and 8.1 microM RES lead to a significant increase in total serum triiodthyronine (T3) levels. OVX induces TSHbeta mRNA in the adenohypohysis and E2 treatment attenuates this effect. Treatment of rats with subcutaneous implants of E2 does not affect the pituitary-thyroid axis, whereas orally applied E2 benzoate (E2B) increases plasma TSH and total thyroxine (T4) in OVX rats. In all animals, we could not detect changes in thyroid morphology as assessed by hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and Perjod-Acid Schiff's (PAS) staining.