This study aimed to investigate the impact of short-time hypothyroidism on the expression of aromatase, estrogen receptors (ERα, β), and GPR30 in the pancreas of female rabbits. The formation of new islets and the expression of insulin, GLUT4, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were also analyzed. This purpose is based on actions that thyroid hormones and estrogens have on β-cells differentiation, acinar cell function, and insulin secretion. Twelve Chinchilla-breed adult virgin female rabbits were divided into control (n=6) and hypothyroid (n=6; methimazole 10 mg/kg for 30 days) groups. In the complete pancreas, expressions of aromatase and estrogen receptors, as well as proinsulin, GLUT4, and LDH were determined by western blot. Characteristics of islets were measured in slices of the pancreas with immunohistochemistry for insulin. Islet and acinar cells express aromatase, ERα, ERβ, and GPR30. Hypothyroidism increased the expression of ERα and diminished that for aromatase, ERβ, and GPR30 in the pancreas. It also promoted a high number of extra small islets (new islets) and increased the expression of proinsulin and GLUT4 in the pancreas. Our results show that actions of thyroid hormones and estrogens on β-cells neogenesis, acinar cell function, and synthesis and secretion of insulin are linked. Thus, the effects of hypothyroidism on the pancreas could include summatory actions of thyroid hormones plus estrogens. Our findings indicate the importance of monitoring estrogen levels and actions on the pancreas of hypothyroid women, particularly when serum estrogen concentrations are affected such as menopausal, pregnant, and those with contraceptive use.
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