Effects of hyperthyroidism on expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and apoptosis in fetal adrenal glands

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T. Karaca *
Y. Hulya Uz
R. Karabacak
I. Karaboga
S. Demirtas
A. Cagatay Cicek
(*) Corresponding Author:
T. Karaca | turankaraca74@hotmail.com

Abstract

This study investigated the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), vascular density, and apoptosis in fetal rat adrenal glands with hyperthyroidism in late gestation. Twelve mature female Wistar albino rats with the same biological and physiological features were used for this study. Rats were divided into two groups: control and hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism was induced by daily subcutaneous injections of L-thyroxine (250 μg/kg) before pregnancy for 21 days and during pregnancy. Rats in the control and hyperthyroidism groups were caged according to the number of male rats. Zero day of pregnancy (Day 0) was indicated when the animals were observed to have microscopic sperm in vaginal smears. Pregnant rats were sacrificed on the 20th day of pregnancy; blood from each animal was collected to determine the concentrations of maternal adrenocorticotropic hormone and thyroxine. Rat fetuses were then quickly removed from the uterus, and the adrenal glands of the fetuses were dissected. VEGF expression, vascular density, and apoptosis were analyzed in fetal rat adrenal glands. Maternal serum levels of the adrenocorticotropic hormone and free thyroxine were significantly higher in the hyperthyroidism group than in the control group. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the number of VEGF positive cells and vessel density significantly increased in the hyperthyroidism rat fetal adrenal group compared with the control group. Hyperthyroidism did not change the fetal and placental weights and the number of fetuses. This study demonstrates that hyperthyroidism may have an effect on the development of rat adrenal glands mediated by VEGF expression, angiogenesis, and apoptosis. 


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