Opiate-thyroid hormone interactions in the regulation of thyrotropin secretion in the rat

L. A. Berglund, W. J. Millard, S. M. Gabriel, J. W. Simpkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Studies were performend to determine the role of thyroid hormone in the suppression of thyrotropin (TSH) by opiates. Serum samples were collected by decapitation 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, or 48 h after rats were implanted with 1 sustained-release morphine (75 mg) or placebo pellet. Morphine decreased TSH by 44% at 1 h and by 83% at 3 h, and TSH remained significantly depressed by 38% through 48 h. Thyroxine (T4) levels were significantly reduced from 12 to 24 h after morphine, but triiodothyronine (T3) levels were not affected. When control or thyroidectomized (THX) rats were implanted with morphine or placebo 24 h before serum collection, morphine significantly decreased TSH, T3 and T4 in controls but had no effect on TSH in THX rats. Thus, it appears that the morphine-induced suppression of TSH release requires circulating thyroid hormone. When THX rats were chronically treated with morphine or placebo, then injected subcutaneously with saline or 1, 10 or 100 μg T4/kg body weight 24 h prior to serum collection, morphine treatment alone did not affect TSH in THX rats. T4 replacement caused a dose-dependent decrease in serum TSH in both morphine and placebo rats; however, TSH was suppressed significantly more in morphine than in placebo rats. Thus, while chronic morphine treatment is ineffective in suppressing in TSH in THX rats, morphine interacts with thyroid hormone to reduce TSH release. These data suggest that morphine may exert its inhibitory effect on TSH secretion by increasing the negative feedback sensitivity to thyroid hormones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • morphine
  • negative feedback
  • opiates
  • thyroid hormones
  • thyroid-stimulating hormone
  • thyrotropin
  • thyroxine
  • triiodothyronine


Dive into the research topics of 'Opiate-thyroid hormone interactions in the regulation of thyrotropin secretion in the rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this