The effects of 3,5-diiodo-L-thyronine (3,5-T2, 2.5-10 μg/100 g BW) on cold tolerance, energy expenditure and oxidative capacity of four metabolically very active tissues (brown adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, liver and heart) were determined in hypothyroid, cold-exposed rats. Hypothyroid rats survived cold for only 3-4 days. 3,5-T2 improved survival dose dependently; with 10 μg/100 g BW the rats survived 3 weeks (limit of observation). This effect was paralleled by an increased energy expenditure of the whole animal for the entire 3 weeks. Similar effects were observed in hypothyroid rats treated with 3,3',5-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3). 3,5-T2 stimulated the specific oxidative capacity (expressed as cytochrome oxidase activity per milligram protein) of all four tissues dose dependently. When the oxidative capacity was expressed as total activity (cytochrome oxidase activity times organ weight), the percentage increases were of the same order. T3 exerted similar effects, but the changes in total activity were much greater than in specific activity, indicating an effect on the tissue trophism. The effect of 3,5-T2 on cold tolerance thus mimics the effect of T3, but via different cellular mechanisms. T3 seems to act primarily on the trophism of the tissues, while 3,5-T2 may act directly on mitochondria without an effect on tissue trophism.
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