Evaluation of central motor conduction in hypothyroid and hyperthyroid patients
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Deficiency or excess of thyroid hormones is associated with central nervous system (CNS) disturbances. Although the CNS involvement either in hypothyroidism or in hyperthyroidism have previously been shown on the basis of visual, auditory and somatosensory evoked potentials studies, less is known about the function of central motor pathways in both disorders. We studied the motor evoked potentials (MEPs) following the magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex and spinal roots in 20 patients with hypothyroidism and in 19 patients with hyperthyroidism both before treatment and after they became euthyroid and compared with findings in 20 age-, sex- and height-matched control subjects. Disease duration (expressed as time from diagnosis of diseases to the time of neurological testing) is less than one month in both disorders. Central motor conduction time (CMCT) was determined as the differences between MEPs latencies after cortical and spinal stimulation. The mean CMCTs before treatment in hypothyroid patients (8.31±1.52 msec,) and in hyperthyroid patients (7.92±1.06 msec,) were significantly prolonged as compared to those in normal controls (6.82±0.83 msec, p=0.002 and p=0.004, respectively). Four of the 20 (20.0%) hypothyroid patients and 2 of 19 (10.5%) hyperthyroid patients had abnormal CMCT (values exceeding mean + 2.5 SD of normal control). The mean CMCT values in both groups were not significantly decreased after euthyroidism was achieved, although a tendency of the decrease in CMCT was observed. Improvement of CMCT abnormalities was observed in 1 of 4 hypothyroid patients and in one of 2 patients with hyperthyroidism, who had CMCT abnormalities before treatments, after they became euthyroid. No correlation was found between CMCT and free T3, free T4, or TSH levels as well as the onset age, the severity of the diseases or the disease duration in both disorders. We conclude that abnormal CMCT could be documented in few patients in both disorders. However, these alterations could not be improved completely after restoration of euthyrodism. Thus, it remains to be determined if long-term treatment would completely improve CMCT abnormalities in both disorders. Since abnormal CMCT values in both disorders were observed only in few patients, our results also suggest that CMCT measurement does not have, at present time, a clinical usefulness to assess the peripheral action of thyroid hormones. Thus, the data obtained need a more extensive evaluation.
KeywordsMotor evoked potentials hypothyroidism hyperthyroidism
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