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Experimental hypothyroidism in adult male rats: the effects of Artemisia dracunculus aqueous extract on serum thyroid hormones, lipid profile, leptin, adiponectin, and antioxidant factors

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Abstract

Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disorder that influences body weight and several aspects of energy metabolism. Today, herbal medicine is focused on the treatment of diseases, especially endocrine disorders. Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon) is a member of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of Artemisia dracunculus aqueous extract on serum thyroid hormones, lipid profile, leptin, adiponectin, and antioxidant factors in adult male rats with propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced hypothyroidism. Forty-eight mature male Albino Wistar rats were housed in standard cages. Hypothyroidism was induced in the rats by the administration of PTU in drinking water to a final concentration of 500 mg/L. This study lasted for 90 days. The animals were divided into six experimental groups (eight rats per each group): (1) normal control; (2) hypothyroid rats + levothyroxine, as positive control (4 μg/100 g/day); (3) hypothyroid rats, as negative control; (4) hypothyroid rats + tarragon aqueous extract (100 mg/kg); (5) hypothyroid rats + tarragon aqueous extract (200 mg/kg); and (6) hypothyroid rats + tarragon aqueous extract (300 mg/kg). Blood samples were obtained using cardiac puncture. In blood samples, thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine (T3), free triiodothyronine (fT3), thyroxine (T4), and free thyroxine (fT4)), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), leptin, adiponectin, antioxidant elements (malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), glutathione (GSH)), and lipid profile (triglyceride (TG), cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL)) were measured. The serum level of thyroid hormones (T3, fT3, T4, and fT4) decreased in the negative control group compared to the normal control group, but the tarragon extract improved their levels. The levels of fT3 and fT4 were higher in 300 mg/kg tarragon treatment (P < 0.05). In addition, tarragon extracts decreased the elevated TSH level in the negative control rats. Tarragon extract at dose 100 mg/kg reduced the TSH level considerably (P < 0.05). Leptin level was not influenced in any of the experimental groups while adiponectin serum concentration decreased in the negative control group. Tarragon extract could not increase the adiponectin level in the treatment groups (P > 0.05). The tarragon extract increased the TAC level at dose 200 mg/kg and the GSH level in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.05). The MDA level decreased in the negative control rats, and high dose of tarragon treatment decreased the MDA level compare to the normal control group. The tarragon extract increased the lipid profile. In conclusion, the tarragon aqueous extract could improve thyroid hormones profile in hypothyroidism. Thus, it could be used as co-treatment for hypothyroidism, but further studies are needed to confirm these data.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Research Council of Shiraz University and School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, for their financial and technical support of this study.

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This study was funded by Shiraz University (grant number: 71-GR-VT-5).

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Correspondence to Saeed Nazifi.

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The trial was approved by the members of the state commission on animal ethics, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran (IACUC no: 4687/63). Additionally, the advice of European Council Directive (86/609/EC) of November 24, 1986, concerning the protection of animals, were fully considered for trial procedures.

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Mohammadi, M.M., Saeb, M. & Nazifi, S. Experimental hypothyroidism in adult male rats: the effects of Artemisia dracunculus aqueous extract on serum thyroid hormones, lipid profile, leptin, adiponectin, and antioxidant factors. Comp Clin Pathol 29, 485–494 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00580-019-03080-0

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