Effects of protein energy malnutrition on circulating thyroid hormones.
The effect of protein energy malnutrition (PEM) in the children on serum levels of total thyroxine (TT4), total triodothyronine (TT3) and thyrotropin (TSH) were evaluated. There were 107 children aged 2 to 60 months in the malnutrition group and 54 healthy age and sex matched controls. Serum TT4 and TT3 were all reduced in the malnutrition group. This decrease in TT3 was more significant (p < 0.01) in severe malnutrition than in mild PEM. Serum TSH levels in the malnutrition and control groups were similar. These results suggest that the children remained euthyroid and represent an adaptive response to protein energy malnutrition.