The study covered in this summary was published on Research Square as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.
In a single-center, retrospective study of 52 patients with overt hypothyroidism — defined as having low levels of free thyroxine (T4) and high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) — attainment of normal thyroid function through hormone replacement therapy with levothyroxine was significantly associated with improved kidney function, characterized by decreased proteinuria and serum creatinine and increased estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
Why This Matters
The findings build on prior case reports that reductions in eGFR in patients with hypothyroidism is reversible with replacement therapy and on results from a 2020 prospective, observational study with 43 patients that showed that for patients with severe hypothyroidism, treatment with levothyroxine was linked with increased eGFR and decreased proteinuria.
The results suggest that hypothyroidism may be a new, overlooked risk factor for kidney dysfunction and that it may be mostly reversible with levothyroxine treatment and that euthyroidism can be achieved with levothyroxine.
The findings also suggest that patients with unexplained elevations in serum creatinine should undergo thyroid hormone testing to assess for possible hypothyroidism.
A retrospective study included 52 outpatients aged 16 years or older with overt hypothyroidism who were not receiving thyroid medication and who did not have diabetes, hypertension, or any other disorder that could affect urinary protein. The patients were being treated in the Endocrinology Clinic of Kilis State Hospital, in Turkey.
After baseline measurements, all patients began a daily regimen of levothyroxine 1.6 μg/kg.
Patients underwent follow-up thyroid-function tests at 6-week intervals. When they achieved euthyroidism, they underwent a second round of extensive testing that included 24-hour urinary protein testing, thyroid function testing, and other biochemistry tests.
The average age of the patients was 41 years; 40 patients (77%) were women.
From baseline to euthyroidism, mean values of the following parameters all decreased except for eGFR, which increased (all P ≤ .0004):
TSH, from 83 to 1.7 mIU/L (normal value, 0.5 – 4.5 mIU/L)
T4, from 0.49 to 1.33 ng/dL (normal value, 0.8 – 2.7 ng/dL)
Serum creatinine, from 0.79 to 0.72 mg/dL (both in the normal range)
24-hour urine protein, from 183 to 121 mg/day (normal value, <150 mg/day)
eGFR, from 101 to 111 mL/min/1.73 m2 (normal value, ≥90 mL/min/1.73 m2)
The following parameters also decreased (all P < .01):
Weight, from 78 to 77 kg
Waist circumference, from 95 to 93 cm
Blood pressure, from 128/86 to 124/81 mm Hg
LDL cholesterol, from 139 to 104 mg/dL
C-reactive protein, from 3.02 to 1.46 mg/L
This was a small, short, single-center, retrospective study that lacked controls.
The study did not receive commercial funding.
The authors report no relevant financial relationships.
This is a summary of a preprint study, "Effect of Levothyroxine Replacement on Proteinuria and Renal Function in Patients With Overt Hypothyroidism." Preprints from Research Square are provided to you by Medscape. This study has not yet been peer reviewed. The full text of the study can be found on medRxiv.org.
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Cite this: Marlene Busko. Normalized Hypothyroidism Linked With Improved Kidney Function - Medscape - Apr 18, 2022.