Unique alterations of thyroid hormone indices in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

LoPresti JS, Fried JC, Spencer CA, Nicoloff JT.

Ann Intern Med. 1989 Jun 15;110(12):970-5. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-110-12-970.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine alterations in serum thyroid hormone indices in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. DESIGN: Prospective, single-blind study. SETTING: Large metropolitan hospital where 20% of all patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Los Angeles are treated. PATIENTS: Twenty-six inpatients with bronchoscopy-proven Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and AIDS. Outpatients included 10 persons seropositive for HIV, 10 with AIDS-related complex, and 10 with AIDS. MAIN RESULTS: There were 19 survivors and 7 nonsurvivors of P. carinii infection. Serum triiodothyronine (T3) values generally remained normal until hospitalization, with nonsurvivors having lower values than survivors (0.56 +/- 0.1 nmol/L compared with 1.3 +/- 0.1 nmol/L, P less than 0.002, respectively). Reverse triiodothyronine (rT3) levels were low in persons with AIDS-related complex (0.21 +/- 0.02 nmol/L, P less than 0.001) and in AIDS outpatients (0.17 +/- 0.02 nmol/L, P less than 0.001). Normalization of rT3 occurred after patients were hospitalized (0.28 +/- 0.01 nmol/L). Serum thyroxine-binding globulin values rose with progression of HIV infection (seropositive, 369.7 +/- 18.1 nmol/L, P less than 0.005; AIDS-related complex, 419.1 +/- 37.0 nmol/L, P less than 0.005; AIDS, 423.3 +/- 31.9 nmol/L, P less than 0.005; survivors, 476.3 +/- 24.6 nmol/L, P less than 0.001), whereas nonsurvivors had normal values. All values are compared with normal values (T3, 2.3 +/- 0.04 nmol/L; rT3, 0.28 +/- 0.01 nmol/L; thyroxine-binding globulin, 288.2 +/- 6.9 nmol/L). CONCLUSIONS: Infection with HIV produces unique alterations in thyroid function. A progressive decline in rT3 and elevation in thyroxine-binding globulin accompany advancing HIV infection. The persistence of a normal T3 despite progression of HIV infection may contribute to weight loss. A low serum T3 on admission correlates with mortality.

PMID: 2567143

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.