Esterina Fazio, Pietro Medica, Cristina Cravana, Adriana Ferlazzo


North-eastern Sicily is an area with iodine deficiency disorders occurring in both humans and animals. The aim of this study was to test the influences of an endemic goitre area on iodothyronine ranges and their pattern in adult ovine and caprine specimens stabled in different locations of Sicily, taking into account the different sexes. A total of 48 Comisana sheep and 51 Maltese goats was studied. The sheep included 10 females and 6 males stabled in a non-endemic goitre area (farm A: control group), and 16 females and 16 males stabled in an endemic goitre area (farm B: observational group). The goats included 6 females and 13 males stabled in a non-endemic goitre area (farm A: control group), and 16 females and 16 males stabled in an endemic goitre area (Farm B: observational group). The results showed lower T3 and higher fT4 (P<0.0001) levels in female and male sheep, and higher T4 levels in males (P<0.0001) stabled in farm B than in farm A. In comparison to farm A, goats stabled in farm B showed higher fT3 (P<0.0001) levels; males stabled in farm B showed lower T4 levels (P<0.0001), and females showed higher fT4 levels (P<0.0001). Significant effects of sex and of endemic goitre area on the total and free iodothyronines of sheep and goats were observed. The obtained data showed that an endemic goitre area for humans is not necessarily the same for ovine and caprine species, which seem to be able to adopt an adaptive strategy without presenting any clinical signs of thyroid disorders.

Key words: thyroid hormones; sheep; goat; endemic goitre area



Severovzhodna Sicilija je obmoÄje, kjer se redno pojavljajo motnje, povezane s pomanjkanjem joda pri ljudeh in živalih. Cilj raziskave je bil raziskati pojavnost endemiÄne golÅ¡avosti pri odraslih ovcah in kozah z merjenjem ravni jodotironinov na razliÄnih lokacijah na Siciliji. UpoÅ¡tevane so bile tudi razlike med spoloma. Skupno je bilo v raziskavo vkljuÄenih 48 ovc pasme comisana in 51 malteÅ¡kih koz. Pri ovcah je bilo vkljuÄenih 10 samic in 6 samcev z obmoÄij brez golÅ¡avosti (kmetija A: kontrolna skupina) ter po 16 samic in samcev iz endemiÄnih obmoÄij z golÅ¡avostjo (kmetija B: opazovana skupina). Pri kozah je bilo vkljuÄenih 6 samic in 13 samcev iz obmoÄij brez golÅ¡avosti (kmetija A: kontrolna skupina) in po 16 samic in samcev iz endemiÄnih obmoÄij z golÅ¡avostjo (kmetija B: opazovana skupina). Rezultati so pokazali nižje T3 in viÅ¡je T4 vrednosti (p <0,0001) pri samcih in samicah ovac in viÅ¡je ravni T4 pri samcih (p >< 0,0001), ki so bili nastanjeni na kmetiji B v primerjavi s kmetijo A. V primerjavi s kmetijo A so pri kozah, ki so bile nastanjene na kmetiji B, ugotovili viÅ¡je ravni prostega T3 (p < 0,0001), pri samcih na kmetiji B nižje ravni T4 (p < 0,0001), pri samicah pa viÅ¡jo raven prostega T4 (p < 0,0001). Ugotovljene so bile statistiÄno znaÄilne razlike med skupinami tako glede na spol kot glede na endemiÄnost podroÄja na ravni vezanih in prostih jodotironinov pri ovcah in kozah. Pridobljeni podatki so pokazali, da obmoÄja z endemiÄno golÅ¡avostjo pri ljudeh nimajo nujno enakega uÄinka pri ovcah in kozah, za katere se zdi, da so sposobne ustvariti prilagoditveno strategijo, zaradi katere se ne pokažejo kliniÄni znaki bolezni Å¡Äitnice.

KljuÄne besede: Å¡ÄitniÄni hormoni; ovce; koze; endemiÄna obmoÄja z golÅ¡avostjo

Full Text:



(1) Budge H, Edwards LJ, McMillen IC, et al. Nutritional manipulation of foetal adipose tissue deposition and uncoupling protein 1 messenger RNA abundance in the sheep: differential effects of timing and duration. Biol Reprod 2004; 71: 359–65.

(2) Darwish RA, Ashmawy TA. The impact of lambing stress on post-parturient behaviour of sheep with consequences on neonatal homeothermy and survival. Theriogenology 2011; 76: 999– 1005.

(3) Long DT, Voice TC. Role of exposure analysis solving the mystery of Balkan endemic nephropathy. Croat Med J 2007; 48: 300–11.

(4) Campbell AJ, Croser EL, Milne ME, Hodge PJ, Webb Ware JK. An outbreak of severe iodine-deficiency goitre in a sheep flock in northeast Victoria. Aust Vet J 2012; 90: 235–9.

(5) De Blasio MJ, Gatford KL, Robinson JS, Owens JA. Placental restriction alters circulating thyroid hormone in the young lamb postnatally. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2006; 201: R1016–24.

(6) Piosik PA, van Groenigen M, van Doorn J, Baas F, de Vijlder JJ. Effects of maternal thyroid status on thyroid hormones and growth in congenitally hypothyroid goat fetuses during the second half of gestation. Endocrinology 1997; 138: 5–11.

(7) Nudda A, Battacone G, Bomboi G, Floris B, Decandia M, Pulina G. Effect of dietary iodine on thyroid hormones and energy blood metabolites in lactating goats. Animal 2013; 7: 60–5.

(8) Slebodziński AB, Twardon J. Thyroid hormone (TH) and 5’-monodeiodinase (5’-MD) activity in goat’s milk from the early, mid- and late lactation period. Acta Vet Hung 2004; 52: 349–59.

(9) Meza-Herrera CA, Torres-Moreno M, Ló- pez-Medrano JI, et al. Glutamate supply positively affects serum release of triiodothyronine and insulin across time without increases of glucoses during the onset of puberty in female goats. Anim Reprod Sci 2011; 125: 74–80.

(10) Potter GB, Beaudoin GM 3rd, DeRenzo CL, Zarach JM, Chen SH, Thompson CC. The hairless gene mutated in congenital hair loss disorders encodes a novel nuclear receptor corepressor Genes Dev 2001; 15: 2687–701.

(11) Qin F, Li J, Zhu X, Zhou J, Yang J, Jia Z. Dietary iodine and selenium affected the mRNA expression levels of skin monodeiodinase (II, III) in Liaoning Cashmere goats. Biol Trace Elem Res 2013; 151: 360–4.

(12) Vermiglio F, Finocchiaro MD, Lo Presti VP, La Torre N, Nucifora M, Trimarchi F. Partial beneficial effects of the so called “silent iodine prophylaxis†on iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) in northeastern Sicily endemia. J Endocrinol Invest 1989; 12: 123–6.

(13) Maberly GF. Iodine deficiency disorders: contemporary scientific issues. J Nutr 1994; 124: 1473S–8S.

(14) Pugliese M, Medica P, Scardillo A, Parisi F, Fazio E. Thyroid function evaluation in Valle del Belice sheep affected by congenital hypotricosis. In: The 15th International Congress of Mediterranean Federation for Healthy Production of Ruminants. Kuşadasi, Tűrkiye, 2007: 244–9.

(15) Nazifi S, Saeb M, Abangah E, Karimi T. Studies on the relationship between thyroid hormones and some trace elements in the blood serum of Iranian fat-tailed sheep. Vet Arh 2008; 78: 159–65.

(16) Paulíková I, Seidel H, Nagy O, Tóthová C, KovÃ¡Ä G. Concentrations of thyroid hormones in various age categories of ruminants and swine. Acta Vet Beograde 2011; 61: 489–503.

(17) Nazifi S, Gheisari HR, Shaker F. Serum lipids and lipoproteins and their correlations with thyroid hormones in clinically healthy goats. Vet Arh 2002; 72: 249–57.

(18) Matamoros R, Contreras PA, Wittwer F, Mayorga MI. Hipotiroidismo en rumiantes. Arch Med Vet 2003; 35: 1–11.

(19) Todini L. Thyroid hormones in small ruminants: effects of endogenous, environmental and nutritional factors. Animal 2007; 1: 997–1008.

(20) Huszenicza Gy, Kulcsar M, Rudas P. Clinical endocrinology of thyroid gland function in ruminants. Vet Med Czech 2002; 47: 199–210.

(21) Kaplan MM. Regulatory influences on iodothyronine deiodination in animal tissues. In: Hennemann G, ed. Thyroid hormone metabolism. New York : Dekker, 1986: 231–53.

(22) Fazio E, Medica P, Cravana C, Messineo C, Ferlazzo A.Total and free iodothyronines levels of growing thoroughbred foals: effects of weaning and gender. Livest Sci 2007; 110: 207–13.

(23) Miller JK, Swanson EW, Spalding GE. Iodine absorption, excretion, recycling, and tissue distribution in the dairy cow. J Dairy Sci 1975; 58: 1578–93.

(24) TrávniÄek J, Kursa J. Iodine concentration in milk of sheep and goats from farms in South Bohemia. Acta Vet Brno 2001; 70: 35–42.

(25) Hernandez JA, Hallford DM, Wells NH. Ovarian cyclicity in thyroid-suppressed ewes treated with propylthiouracil immediately before onset of seasonal anestrus. J Anim Sci 2003; 81: 29–34.

(26) Anderson GM, Connors JM, Hardy SL, Valent M, Goodmann RL. Thyroid hormones mediate steroid-indipendent seasonal changes in luteinizing hormone pulsatility in the ewe. Biol Reprod 2002; 66: 701–6.

(27)Parkinson TJ, Douthwaite JA, Follett BK. Responses of prepubertal and mature rams to thyroidectomy. J Reprod Fertil 1995; 104: 51–6.

(28) Jana NR, Halder S, Bhattacharya S. Thyroid hormone induces a 52 kDa soluble protein in goat testis Leydig cell which stimulates androgen release. Biochim Biophys Acta 1986; 1292: 209–14.

(29) Aliefy MM, Zaki K, Abul-Fadle W, Ayoub L. Effects of season and sex on thyroid hormone level in the blood of Osimi sheep. Zentralbl Veterinärmed A 1970; 17: 476–80.

(30) Celi P, Seren E, Celi R, Parmeggiani A, Di Trana A. Relationships between blood hormonal concentrations and secondary fibre shedding in young cashmere-bearing goats at their first moult. Anim Sci 2003; 77: 371–81.

(31) Christianson D, Roti E, Vagenakis AG, Braverman LE. The sex-related difference in serum thyrotropin concentration is androgen mediated. Endocrinology 1981; 108: 529–35.

(32) Medica P, Fazio E, Cravana C, Ferlazzo A. Influence of endemic goitre areas on thyroid hormones in horses. Animal 2011; 5: 82–7.

(33) Duckett WM. Thyroid gland. In: Reed SM, Bayly WM, eds. Equine internal medicine. Philadelphia : Saunders , 1998: 917–23.

(34) Vigneri R. Studies on the goiter endemia in Sicily. J Endocrinol Invest 1988; 11: 831–43.

(35) Verheesen RH, Schweitzer CM. Iodine deficiency, more than cretinism and goiter. Med Hypotheses 2008; 71: 645–8.

(36) de Benoist B, Andersson M, Egli I, Takkouche B, Allen H, eds. Iodine status worldwide: WHO Global database on iodine deficiency. Geneva, Switzerland: Department of Nutrition for Health and Development World Health Organization, 2004: 1–47.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Our journal is indexed in:
Science Citation Index Expanded, Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Agris, Biomedicina Slovenica, CAB Abstracts, IVSI Urlich’s International Periodicals Directory
Gerbičeva 60, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, T: +386 (0)1 47 79 100, F: +386 (0)1 28 32 243, E:
Published by