Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2021; 129(12): 926-930
DOI: 10.1055/a-1404-7939

Thyroid Hormone Deficiency Modifies Hepatic Lipid Droplet Morphology and Molecular Properties in Lithogenic-Diet Supplemented Mice

Irina Kube
1   Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry – Division of Laboratory Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Holger Jastrow
2   Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen – Institute of Anatomy and Imaging Center Essen, Germany
Dagmar Führer
1   Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry – Division of Laboratory Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Denise Zwanziger
1   Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry – Division of Laboratory Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding: The authors were financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – ZW221/2–1 and Project-ID 424957847 - TRR 296/1.


Objective Thyroid hormones have been associated with a hepatic lipid lowering effect and thyroid function has been shown to play a substantial role in development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatic lipid droplets differ in the number, size and molecular properties depending on metabolic state or pathological condition. However, in how far thyroid hormone deficiency affects hepatic lipid droplet morphology and molecular properties is still poorly understood. Therefore, we performed a study in mice using a lithogenic diet model of steatohepatitis and modulated the thyroid hormone status.

Methods Male and female three months old C57BL/6 mice were divided into a euthyroid (control), a lithogenic (litho) and a lithogenic+thyroid hormone deficient (litho+hypo) group and treated for six weeks. Hepatic transmission electron microscopy and gene expression analysis of lipid-droplet associated proteins were performed.

Results Increased mean diameters of hepatic lipid droplets and a shift towards raised electron-density in lipid droplets was observed under thyroid hormone deficiency. Furthermore thyroid hormone deficiency altered hepatic expression of genes involved in lipophagy and triacylglycerol mobilization. Interestingly, while the impact of thyroid hormone deficiency on lipid droplet morphology seems to be sex-independent, hepatic lipid droplet-associated gene expression differed significantly between both sexes.

Conclusion This study demonstrates that thyroid hormone deficiency alters hepatic lipid droplet morphology and hepatic gene expression of lipid droplet-associated proteins in a lithogenic diet mouse model of steatohepatitis.

Supplementary Material

Publication History

Received: 18 January 2021
Received: 22 February 2021

Accepted: 03 March 2021

Article published online:
28 May 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
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