Several parameters of thyroid function were studied in 112 non-ketoacidotic youngsters with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Levels of thyroxine (T4), reverse triiodothyronine (rT3), thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) and T3 were lower than in controls, whereas FT4, and FT3 were normal. T4 levels in IDDM patients were positively related to T3, rT3 and TBG, and inversely related to haemoglobin A1 (HbA1). However, only 4 patients showed biochemical hypothyroidism (T4 < 5 ?g/100 ml), whereas their FT4, FT3 and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels were normal. Concurrent variations of T3 and rT3 levels were found in IDDM patients; thus, their T3/rT3 ratios were stable or higher than in controls, indicating that peripheral deiodination of T4 is preferentially oriented to production of rT3 only during ketoacidosis. Although changes in thyroid function may reflect the degree of metabolic control of diabetes in a large population, the clinical usefulness of serum thyroid hormone measurements in an individual case still appears to be limited.
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