Thyroid treatment may prevent heart disease in diabetics

Low thyroid levels in the cardiac tissue of diabetics may be the major cause of their associated heart disease, a study has said, indicating that restoring thyroid hormones in heart may prevent heart disease in diabetics.

Diabetes triggers low thyroid levels that contribute to heart failure, the findings showed.

In animal models, the researchers found that administering low doses of the active form of thyroid hormone, T3, prevented the progression of heart disease.

"This treatment prevented the abnormal changes in gene expression, tissue pathology, and heart function," said Martin Gerdes from New York Institute of Technology in the US.

The most recent study builds on a growing body of research by Gerdes and others that link low thyroid hormone levels in heart tissue to heart failure.

"The clinical implications are profound and far-reaching because it suggests that the heart disease associated with diabetes may be easily preventable," Gerdes added.

"And importantly, the dose we gave of T3 hormone did not significantly change the serum (blood) thyroid hormone levels but it was enough to make all the difference in the heart tissue," Gerdes noted.

The study appeared online in the journal Molecular Medicine.