BACKGROUND: A relationship between exposure to sexual violence and thyroid hormone alterations has been observed among women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Women with borderline personality disorder (BPD) report a high estimate of childhood trauma.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to assess relationships between thyroid hormone measures and exposure to violence in childhood in women with BPD.
METHOD: A total of 92 clinically euthyroid women with BPD (53% with comorbid PTSD) diagnosis and at least two prior suicide attempts were assessed with the Karolinska Interpersonal Violence Scales (KIVS). The KIVS contains four subscales with concrete examples of exposure to violence and expressed violent behavior in childhood (aged 6-14 years) and during adult life (15 years or older). Baseline thyroid function was evaluated by measuring plasma free and bound triiodothyronine (FT3 and T3), thyroxine (FT4 and T4), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) with immunoassays. The FT3/FT4 ratio was used to estimate peripheral deiodination. Plasma cortisol was also assessed.
RESULTS: Sixty-seven percent of patients reported medium high or high level of exposure to interpersonal violence as a child. The FT3/FT4 ratio showed a significant negative correlation with exposure to violence as a child. Patients with PTSD had significantly higher plasma cortisol levels. An ad hoc analysis revealed that the correlation between KIVS exposure to interpersonal violence as a child and FT3/FT4 ratio was significant only in patients with comorbid PTSD. Altered thyroid activity, especially FT3/FT4, levels was associated with exposure to violence in childhood in women with BPD.
CONCLUSION: Severe childhood trauma-related stress may promote lasting altered thyroid levels and/or contribute to the development of psychopathology associated with BPD traits or PTSD.
2014. Vol. 5, 23911- p.