Effect of Cold Exposure on Serum DBH and Interscapular Brown Adipose Tissue MAO Activity in Hypothyroid T3- and T4-Treated Rats


Address for correspondence: Prof. Dr. Gordana Cvijić, Institute of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro. Voice: +381-11-639-882; fax: +381-11-639-064. e-mail: cvgo@bf.bio.bg.ac.yu


Abstract: As the indicators of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) function, the activity of serum dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH) and interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) monoamine oxidase (MAO) were examined in rats that were chemically thyroidectomized (TX), treated with thyroid hormones, and exposed to cold (4°C). In TX animals, body temperature (bt) significantly decreased, and relative IBAT mass increased as compared with control, euthyroid animals, independent of the ambient temperature. The bt fall in TX cold-exposed animals was more severe, provoking hypothermia after 4 h. Under the same experimental conditions, the SNS function was enhanced as judged by the increased serum DBH and IBAT MAO activities. The treatment of TX animals with T4 and T3 re-established the temperature (bt was at the level of controls) and sympathetic homeostasis (DBH activity was at the level of controls) in animals maintained at room temperature but not in those kept under cold conditions. T4 and T3 did not affect IBAT MAO activity of TX rats: It remained significantly above the control values whether the animals were maintained at room temperature or exposed to cold. In conclusion, the IBAT of TX cold-exposed rats is incapable of responding to the enhanced thermogenic needs despite the increased SNS activity and thyroid hormone substitution.