Altered regulation of energy homeostasis in older rats in response to thyroid hormone administration

Stephane Walrand, Kevin R. Short, Lydia A. Heemstra, Colleen M. Novak, James A. Levine, Jill M. Coenen-Schimke, K. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Hyperthyroidism causes increased energy intake and expenditure, although anorexia and higher weight loss have been reported in elderly individuals with hyperthyroidism. To determine the effect of age on energy homeostasis in response to experimental hyperthyroidism, we administered 200 βg triiodothyronine (T3) in 7- and 27-mo-old rats for 14 d. T3 increased energy expenditure (EE) in both the young and the old rats, although the old rats lost more weight (147 g) than the young rats (58 g) because of the discordant effect of T3 on food intake, with a 40% increase in the young rats, but a 40% decrease in the old ones. The increased food intake in the young rats corresponded with a T3-mediated increase in the appetite- regulating proteins agouti-related peptide, neuropeptide Y, and uncoupling protein 2 in the hypothalamus, but no increase occurred in the old rats. Evidence of mitochondrial biogenesis in response to T3 was similar in the soleus muscle and heart of the young and old animals, but less consistent in old plantaris muscle and liver. Despite the comparable increase in EE, T3's effect on mitochondrial function was modulated by age in a tissue-specific manner. We conclude that older rats lack compensatory mechanisms to increase caloric intake in response to a T3-induced increase in EE, demonstrating a detrimental effect of age on energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1510
Number of pages12
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Aging
  • Food intake
  • Mitochondria
  • Spontaneous physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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