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The thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), are tyrosine-based hormones produced by the thyroid gland. An important component in the synthesis is iodine. The major form of thyroid hormone in the blood is thyroxine (T4). The ratio of T4 to T3 released in the blood is roughly 20 to 1. Thyroxine is converted to the active T3 (three to four times more potent than T4) within cells by deiodinases (5'-iodinase). These are further processed by decarboxylation and deiodination to produce iodothyronamine (T1a) and thyronamine (T0a).
Most of the thyroid hormone circulating in the blood is bound to transport proteins. Only a very small fraction of the circulating hormone is free (unbound) and biologically active, hence measuring concentrations of free thyroid hormones is of great diagnostic value.
|bound to thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG)||70%|
|bound to transthyretin or "thyroxine-binding prealbumin" (TTR or TBPA)||10-15%|
|unbound T4 (fT4)||0.03%|
|unbound T3 (fT3)||0.3%|
T1a and T0a are positively charged and do not cross the membrane; they are believed to function via the trace amine-associated receptor TAAR1 (TAR1, TA1), a G-protein-coupled receptor located in the cell membrane.
Another critical diagnostic tool is measurement of the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that is present.
The thyronines act on the body to increase the basal metabolic rate, affect protein synthesis and increase the body's sensitivity to catecholamines (such as adrenaline) by permissiveness. The thyroid hormones are essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energetic compounds. They also stimulate vitamin metabolism. Numerous physiological and pathological stimuli influence thyroid hormone synthesis.
Thyroid hormone leads to heat generation in humans. However, the thyronamines function via some unknown mechanism to inhibit neuronal activity; this plays an important role in the hibernation cycles of mammals and the moulting behaviour of birds. One effect of administering the thyronamines is a severe drop in body temperature.
Related diseases Edit
Both excess and deficiency of thyroxine can cause disorders.
- Thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism (an example is Graves Disease) is the clinical syndrome caused by an excess of circulating free thyroxine, free triiodothyronine, or both. It is a common disorder that affects approximately 2% of women and 0.2% of men.
- Hypothyroidism (an example is Hashimoto's thyroiditis) is the case where there is a deficiency of thyroxine, triiodiothyronine, or both.
- Clinical depression can sometimes be caused by hypothyroidism. Some research has shown that T3 is found in the junctions of synapses, and regulates the amounts and activity of serotonin, norepinephrine, and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
Medical use of thyroid hormones Edit
Both T3 and T4 are used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency (hypothyroidism). They are both absorbed well by the gut, so can be given orally. Levothyroxine, the most commonly used synthetic thyroxine form, is a stereoisomer of physiological thyroxine, which is metabolised more slowly and hence usually only needs once-daily administration. Natural desiccated thyroid hormones, also under the commercial name Armour Thyroid, is derived from pig thyroid glands, it is a "natural" hypothyroid treatment containing 20% T3 and traces of T2, T1 and calcitonin. Also available are synthetic combinations of T3/T4 in different ratios (such as Thyrolar) and pure-T3 medications (Cytomel).
Thyronamines have no medical usages yet, though their use has been proposed for controlled induction of hypothermia which causes the brain to enter a protective cycle, useful in preventing damage during ischemic shock.
Production of the thyroid hormones Edit
Thyroxine (3,5,3',5'-tetraiodothyronine) is produced by follicular cells of the thyroid gland. It is produced as the precursor thyroglobulin (this is not the same as TBG), which is cleaved by enzymes to produce active T4.
Thyroxine is produced by attaching iodine atoms to the ring structures of tyrosine molecules. Thyroxine (T4) contains four iodine atoms. Triiodothyronine (T3) is identical to T4, but it has one less iodine atom per molecule.
Iodide is actively absorbed from the bloodstream by a process called 'iodine trapping' and concentrated in the thyroid follicles. (If there is a deficiency of dietary iodine, the thyroid enlarges in an attempt to trap more iodine, resulting in goitre.) Via a reaction with the enzyme thyroperoxidase, iodine is covalently bound to tyrosine residues in the thyroglobulin molecules, forming monoiodotyrosine (MIT) and diiodotyrosine (DIT). Linking two moieties of DIT produces thyroxine. Combining one particle of MIT and one particle of DIT produces triiodothyronine.
- DIT + MIT → r-T3 (biologically inactive)
- MIT + DIT → triiodothyronine (usually referred to as T3)
- DIT + DIT → thyroxine (referred to as T4)
Proteases digest iodinated thyroglobulin, releasing the hormones T4 and T3, the biologically active agents central to metabolic regulation. Thyroxine is supposedly a prohormone and a reservoir for the most active and main thyroid hormone T3. T4 is converted as required in the tissues by deiodinases. Deficiency of deiodinase can mimic an iodine deficiency. T3 is more active than T4 and is the final form of the hormone, though it is present in less quantity than T4.
Anti-thyroid drugs Edit
Iodine uptake against a concentration gradient is mediated by a sodium iodine symporter. Perchlorate and thiocyanate are drugs that can compete with iodine at this point.
Effects of thyroxine Edit
- Increases cardiac output
- Increases heart rate
- Increases ventilation rate
- Increases basal metabolic rate
- Potentiates the effects of catecholamines (i.e increases sympathetic activity)
- Potentiates brain development
- Thickens endometrium in females
- ↑ Kirkegaard C, Faber J (1998). The role of thyroid hormones in depression. Eur J Endocrinol 138 (1): 1–9.
- ↑ Dratman M, Gordon J (1996). Thyroid hormones as neurotransmitters. Thyroid 6 (6): 639–47.
See also Edit
- Thyroid gland
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone
- Thyronamines, metabolites of the thyroid hormones that act at the trace amine-associated receptor TAAR1 (TAR1)
- Graves-Basedow disease
- Collection of medical articles on Thyroid disease including the hormones
- Find TH response elements in DNA sequences.
- Collection of references to articles comparing different treatment methods of hypothyroidism
|Hormones and endocrine glands - edit|
Hypothalamus: - TRH - CRH - GnRH - GHRH - somatostatin - dopamine | Posterior pituitary: vasopressin - oxytocin - lipotropin | Anterior pituitary: GH - ACTH - TSH - LH - FSH - prolactin - MSH - endorphins - lipotropin
Thyroid: T3 and T4 - calcitonin | Parathyroid: PTH | Adrenal medulla: epinephrine - norepinephrine | Adrenal cortex: aldosterone - cortisol - DHEA | Pancreas: glucagon- insulin - somatostatin | Ovary: estradiol - progesterone - inhibin - activin | Testis: testosterone - AMH - inhibin | Pineal gland: melatonin | Kidney: renin - EPO - calcitriol - prostaglandin | Heart atrium: ANP
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