The effect of hypothyroidism on non-specific bronchial reactivity was studied in 11 patients without pulmonary disease (mean age 40 (SD 13) years) who had had a total thyroidectomy and radioiodine treatment for thyroid cancer 41 (36) months before the study. All patients when mildly hyperthyroid while having long term thyroxine replacement treatment and once when hypothyroid two weeks after stopping triiodothyronine for the purpose of screening for metastases. Bronchial reactivity was assessed by measuring specific airways conductance (sGaw) after increasing doses of inhaled carbachol (45-1260 micrograms). The dose producing a 35% decrease in sGaw (PD35) was determined from the cumulative log dose-response curve by linear regression analysis. Mean baseline sGaw values were similar when the patients were hypothyroid and when they were hyperthyroid (1.35 (0.36) and 1.41 (0.56) s-1 kPa-1). The interstudy coefficients of variation of baseline sGaw were higher in the thyroid patients than in a euthyroid control group (14% versus 8%). Geometric mean PD35 was lower when the patients were hypothyroid (97 micrograms) than when they were mildly hyperthyroid (192 micrograms). It is concluded that acute hypothyroidism increases non-specific bronchial reactivity in nonasthmatic subjects.
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