T3 preserves respiratory function in sepsis

Scott A. Dulchavsky, Patricia Rae Kennedy, Evan R. Geller, Subir R. Maitra, W. Michael Foster, Edward G. Langenbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Sepsis produces profound hypothyroidism. This hypothyroid state is associated with altered lung metabolism and structural integrity. We studied the respiratory function of rats during sepsis-induced hypothyroidism with or without Ts treatment. Forty-four male Holtzman rats underwent cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Treatment was administered at six hours after surgery consisting of intraperitoneal injection of T3 (15 µg/kg, n = 19) or saline (n = 25). At 20 hours (Group A) or 30 hours (Group B) following CLP, respiratory drive was assessed by serial occlusion pressure technique (P0.1). The rats were killed and static elastance determined by serial air inflation to 10 cc. The lungs were excised for weight determination. The P0.1 values were significantly greater in T3-treated animals over controls in Group A (9.3 ± 0.7 vs. 6.6 ± 2.2, p < 0.05 by t test); elastance was significantly improved by T3 treatment in Group B (p < 0.05 by two-way ANOVA). Lung weight, pH, pO2, pCO2, respiratory rate (RR), and mortality were not significantly different between groups. Control animals were hypothyroid by 20 hours after CLP (T3 < 12.5 ng/dL) whereas T3-treated animals were euthyroid (T3 = 145 ± 43 ng/ dL). Pulmonary dysfunction frequently accompanies sepsis; the euthyroid state appears protective. We found a significantly improved respiratory drive in septic animals with T3 treatment. Lung elastance was similarly improved in late sepsis with T3 treatment. The data suggest that T3 treatment preserves respiratory function in septic rats as evidenced by respiratory drive and compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-759
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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