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Thyroid function and the risk of fibrosis of the liver, heart and lung in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Salman Razvi



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Mary Ann Liebert, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Background Fibrotic diseases have an unclear etiology and poor prognosis. Fluctuations in thyroid function may play a role in the development of fibrosis, but evidence is fragmented and inconclusive. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the association of thyroid function with fibrotic diseases of the liver, heart, and lung, in humans. Methods We searched Pubmed, Medline Ovid, Embase Ovid, and Web-of-Science for studies published from inception to 14 June 2019, to identify observational studies that investigated the association of thyroid function with fibrosis of the liver, heart, and lung, in humans. Study quality was evaluated by Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The Mantel-Haenszel method was used to pool the odds ratios (ORs) of studies investigating the association of hypothyroidism with liver fibrosis. Results Out of 2196 identified articles, 18 studies were included in the systematic review, of which 11 studies reported on liver fibrosis, 4 on myocardial fibrosis, and 3 on pulmonary fibrosis. The population sample size ranged from 36 to 7259 subjects, with median mean age 51 years (range, 36-69) and median percentage of women 53 (range, 17-100). The risk of bias of studies was low to moderate to high. Higher serum thyrotropin and lower thyroid hormone levels were generally associated with higher likelihood of fibrosis. Compared to euthyroidism, overt and subclinical hypothyroidism were associated with a higher likelihood of fibrosis in the liver (6 of 7 studies), heart (3 of 3 studies), and lung (3 of 3 studies). Based on the results of the 7 studies included in the meta-analysis, overt and subclinical hypothyroidism were associated with an increased risk of liver fibrosis (pooled OR, 2.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.74-4.53; heterogeneity, I2 31.4%; pooled OR, 2.12; CI, 1.45-3.12, heterogeneity, I2 0% respectively), without evidence of publication bias. Conclusions This study suggests that low thyroid function is associated with increased likelihood of chronic fibrotic diseases of the liver, heart, and lung. However, the evidence is mainly based on cross-sectional data. Prospective studies and randomized clinical trials are needed to investigate the potential efficacy of thyroid hormone and its analogues on the occurrence and progression of fibrosis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bano A, Chaker L, Muka T, Mattace-Raso FUS, Bally LH, Franco O, Peeters RP, Razvi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thyroid

Year: 2020

Volume: 30

Issue: 6

Pages: 806-820

Print publication date: 05/06/2020

Online publication date: 07/01/2020

Acceptance date: 04/01/2020

Date deposited: 24/01/2020

ISSN (print): 1050-7256

ISSN (electronic): 1557-9077

Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert


DOI: 10.1089/thy.2019.0572

PubMed id: 31910097


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