Thyroid hormone dysfunctions affect the structure of rat thoracic aorta: a histological and morphometric study
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BACKGROUND: There are limited data about the influence of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism on the connective tissue component and smooth muscle cells of the thoracic aorta. The aim was to study the histological changes of the wall of the thoracic aorta in the hypothyroid and hyperthyroid rats. Morphometric measurements were also done. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty adult rats were used. They were divided into control, hyperthyroid, and hypothyroid groups. Each group consisted of 10 rats. The animals were sacrificed at the end of 8 weeks and the descending aorta was excised. Sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin, orcein and Masson's trichrome stains. Themorphometric measurement included: number of smooth muscle cell nuclei, number of the elastic lamellae, thickness of the tunica media, elastic fibre optic density, and relative collagen area. RESULTS: Atheromatous plagues had been observed in the hyperthyroid group. Thinning and rupture of the elastic lamellae had been observed in the hypothyroid group; these were accompanied with intimal ulceration and aortic dissection. The average number of smooth muscle cell nuclei in the hyperthyroid group had doubled and tripled compared to their fellows in the control and hypothyroid groups, respectively. The thickness of the tunica media increased in the hyperthyroid and hypothyroid groups by 75% and 35%. In addition, the relative collagen area increased in the previously mentioned groups by 142% and 120%, respectively. On the other hand, the mean elastic fibre optic density decreased in both groups by 30%. CONCLUSIONS: Structure wall affections of the intima and media of the descending aorta were associated with the thyroid hormone dysfunctions. These changes were more severe in the hypothyroid group.
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