Background: Maternal thyroid hormones play a fundamental role in appropriate fetal development during gestation. Offspring that have been gestated under maternal hypothyroidism suffer cognitive impairment. Thyroid hormone deficiency during gestation can significantly impact the central nervous system by altering the migration, differentiation, and function of neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes. Given that gestational hypothyroidism alters the immune cell ratio in offspring, it is possible that this condition could result in higher sensitivity for the development of autoimmune diseases. Methods: Adult mice gestated under hypothyroidism were induced with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Twenty-one days after EAE induction, the disease score, myelin content, immune cell infiltration, and oligodendrocyte death were evaluated. Results: We observed that mice gestated under hypothyroidism showed higher EAE scores after disease induction during adulthood compared to mice gestated in euthyroidism. In addition, spinal cord sections of mice gestated under hypothyroidism that suffered EAE in adulthood showed higher demyelination, CD4+ and CD8+ infiltration, and increased oligodendrocyte death. Conclusions: These results show for the first time that a deficiency in maternal thyroid hormones during gestation can influence the outcome of a central nervous system inflammatory disease, such as EAE, in their offspring. These data strongly support evaluating thyroid hormones in pregnant women and treating hypothyroidism during pregnancy to prevent increased susceptibility to inflammatory diseases in the central nervous system of offspring.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism