Scope and limitations of iodothyronine deiodinases in hypothyroidism

Balázs Gereben, Elizabeth A. McAninch, Miriam O. Ribeiro, Antonio C. Bianco

Research output: Review article

51 Citations (Scopus)


The coordinated expression and activity of the iodothyronine deiodinases regulate thyroid hormone levels in hypothyroidism. Once heralded as the pathway underpinning adequate thyroid-hormone replacement therapy with levothyroxine, the role of these enzymes has come into question as they have been implicated in both an inability to normalize serum levels of tri-iodothyronine (T 3) and the incomplete resolution of hypothyroid symptoms. These observations, some of which were validated in animal models of levothyroxine monotherapy, challenge the paradigm that tissue levels of T 3 and thyroid-hormone signalling can be fully restored by administration of levothyroxine alone. The low serum levels of T 3 observed among patients receiving levothyroxine monotherapy occur as a consequence of type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO2) in the hypothalamus being fairly insensitive to ubiquitination. In addition, residual symptoms of hypothyroidism have been linked to a prevalent polymorphism in the DIO2 gene that might be a risk factor for neurodegenerative disease. Here, we discuss how these novel findings underscore the clinical importance of iodothyronine deiodinases in hypothyroidism and how an improved understanding of these enzymes might translate to therapeutic advances in the care of millions of patients with this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-652
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Endocrinology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - nov. 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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