ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2006) 12 P123

Effect of dietary iron deficiency anaemia on TSH and peripartum thyroid function

Neetu Mathur, Suresh Chandra Joshi & Sandeep Mathur

University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the peripartum changes in the level of TSH and thyroid function, due to dietary iron deficiency anaemia. Iron deficiency anaemia is widely prevalent in developing countries like India. It is the most pervasive of all nutritional deficiencies, particularly affecting women especially pregnant women. It is very important to note the changes in the thyroid activity by severe anaemia during peripartum period.


The female albino rats of Wister strain were fed on iron deficient diets (30, 15, 7.2 mgFe/kg of diet) and control diets (50 mgFe/kg of diet). Prior to one month of mating the females were anaesthetised by ether and the tail blood was collected for the evaluation of blood haemoglobin, PCV and estimation of hormones. The rats were then kept for mating. The tail blood was again collected during 18th–20th day of gestation and after ten days of delivery by anaesthetising the females by ether. They were kept on the same diet throughout gestation and also after the deliveries. The analysis of the thyroid stimulating hormone was done by RIA kits.


The haemoglobin, PCV and TSH were compared in all the three stages (before pregnancy, during pregnancy and after delivery) with decreasing levels of dietary iron, within the groups and between the groups by one way ANOVA. Significant (P<0.05) differences in the levels of the three parameters were observed. The two way ANOVA (between iron diets and stages i.e. before pregnancy, during pregnancy and after delivery) also showed a significant (P<0.05) rise in the levels of TSH. The severely iron deficient mothers showed postpartum hypothyroidism. The preterm delivery (between 12th to 15th days) was also observed in severely iron deficient mothers (7.2 mgFe/kg of diet). The females with severe iron deficiency anaemia (7.2 mgFe/kg of diet) could not lactate and failed to conceive months after their first premature deliveries.


The possible reason of postpartum rise in the TSH and hypothyroidism in the severe iron deficiency anaemic mothers may be the hypo function of pituitary and changes in the TSH secreting cells of the pituitary which led to the dysfunction of the thyroid gland after delivery. Due to severe iron deficiency low thyroid peroxidase activity possibly decreased the synthesis of thyroid hormones which in turn had affected the pituitary and resulted in hypothyroidism. No lactation and infertility also reflects the hypo function of pituitary.

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