Endothelial function in patients with hyperthyroidism before and after treatment with propranolol and thiamazol.

Burggraaf J, Lalezari S, Emeis JJ, Vischer UM, de Meyer PH, Pijl H, Cohen AF

Hyperthyroidism is associated with a higher incidence of arterial thromboembolism; increasing age, atrial fibrillation, and mitral valve abnormalities are risk factors. However, the contribution of endogenous coagulation parameters is unclear. Because thyroid hormone influences receptor and transcription factors, it can be expected that it will influence proteins involved in coagulation processes synthetised in many cells. Fourteen hyperthyroid patients were studied untreated, after 1 week of treatment with propranolol, and after therapeutic treatment with thiamazol. Fourteen matched controls were used for comparison. On each occasion, endothelial marker proteins, coagulation/fibrinolysis factors, and inflammatory (liver) markers were measured. Excess thyroid hormone was associated with elevated levels of most endothelium-associated proteins. In addition, plasma fibronectin and fibrinogen were increased, while plasminogen was decreased. No evidence was found that hyperthyroidism was associated with coagulation/fibrinolysis activation, or with increased levels of the inflammation markers interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) or C-reactive protein (CRP). Propranolol treatment only lowered the von Willebrand factor propeptide, and slightly increased plasminogen. Treatment with thiamazol returned all parameters to normal. Hyperthyroidism increased the plasma levels of most endothelial marker proteins, and of some liver-synthetized proteins. No evidence for coagulation/fibrinolysis activation was found. However, it appears that endothelial activation, which is indicative of a procoagulant state, is present in hyperthyroidism. This may explain the association between hyperthyroidism and thromboembolism especially if other risk factors are present. von Willebrand factor II (vWF:Ag-II) levels may be suitable markers to evaluate acute changes in endothelial function because this parameter responds more rapidly to changes in endothelial function than other factors.