Thyroid hormone disorders have long been linked to depression, but the causal relationship between them remains controversial. To address this question, we established rat models of hypothyroidism using (131)iodine (I-131) and hyperthyroidism using levothyroxine (LT4). Serum free thyroxine (FT4) and triiodothyronine (FT3) significantly decreased in the hypothyroid of rats with single injections of I-131 (5 mCi/kg). These.rats exhibited decreased depression-like behaviors in forced swimming test and sucrose preference tests, as well as decreased anxiety-like behaviors in an elevated plus maze. Diminished levels of brain serotonin (5-HT) and increased levels of hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were found in the hypothyroid rats compared to the control saline-vehicle administered rats. LT4 treatment reversed the decrease in thyroid hormones and depression-like behaviors. In contrast, hyperthyroidism induced by weekly injections of LT4 (15 mu g/kg) caused a greater than 10-fold increase in serum FT4 and FT3 levels. The hyperthyroid rats exhibited higher anxietyand depression-like behaviors, higher brain 5-HT level, and lower hippocampal BDNF levels than the controls. Treatment with the antidepressant imipramine (15 mg/kg) diminished serum FT4 levels as well as anxietyand depression-like behaviors in the hyperthyroid rats but led to a further increase in brain 5-HT levels, compared with the controls or the hypothyroid rats. Together, our results suggest that hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have bidirectional effects on anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in rats, possibly by modulating hippocampal BDNF levels. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
973 Project [2013CB835103]
; NSFC-CIHR 
; Chinese Academy of Sciences [XDB0202002]
; NSFC [31100786, U1032605, U1132602, 81171294]
; Science and Technology Program of Yunnan Province [2013GA003, 2010CD104]
; Chinese Human Resources and Social Security Department