Triiodothyronine and thyroxine in the serum and thyroid glands of iodine-deficient rats.J Clin Invest. 1973 Oct; 52(10):2522-31.JCI
Triiodothyronine (T(3)) and thyroxine (T(4)) were measured by immunoassay in the serum and thyroid hydrolysates of control (group A), mildly iodine-deficient (group B), and severely iodine-deficient rats (group C). These results were correlated with changes in thyroidal weight, (131)I uptake and (127)I content as well as with the distribution of (131)I in Pronase digests of the thyroid. There was a progressive increase in thyroid weight and (131)I uptake at 24 h with decrease in iodine intake. The (127)I content of the thyroids of the group B animals was 44% and that of the group C animals 2% of that in group A. The mean labeled monoiodotyrosine/diiodotyrosine (MIT/DIT) and T(3)/T(4) ratios in group A were 0.42+/-0.07 (SD) and 0.12+/-0.01, 0.59+/-0.06 and 0.11+/-0.03 in group B, and 2.0+/-0.3 and 1.8+/-0.9 in the group thyroid digests.Mean serum T(4) concentration in the control rats was 4.2+/-0.6 (SD) mug T(4)/100 ml, 4.5+/-0.3 mug/100 ml in group B animals, and undectectable (<0.5 mu(4)/100 ml) in group C animals. There was no effect of iodine deficiency on serum T(3) concentrations, which were 44+/-9 (Mean+/-SD) ng/100 ml in A animals, 48+/-6 ng/100 ml n B animals, and 43+/-6 ng/100 ml in the C group. Thyroidal digest T(3) and T(4) concentrations were 39 and 400 ng/mg in group A animals and were reduced to 5 and 1% of this, respectively, in group C. The molar ratio of T(3)/T(4) in the thyroid digests of the groups A and B animals was identical to the ratio of labeled T(3)/T(4) and was slightly less (1.0+/-0.9) than the labeled T(3)/T(4) ratio in the group C animals. The mean ratio of labeled T(4) to labeled T(3) in the serum of the severely iodine-deficient animals 24 h after isotope injection was 11+/-1 (SEM). With previously published values, it was possible to correlate the ratio of labeled T(4)/T(3) in the thyroid digest with the labeled T(4)/T(3) ratio in the serum of each iodine-deficient animal. This analysis suggested that the labeled thyroid hormones in the severely iodine-deficient rat were secreted in the ratio in which they are present in the gland. Kinetic analysis of total iodothyronine turnover indicated that two-thirds of the T(3) utilized per day by the iodine-sufficient rat arises from T(4). If the T(4)-T(3) conversion ratio remains the same in iodine deficiency, then the analysis suggests that about 90% of the T(3) arises directly from the thyroid. Therefore, it would appear that absolute T(3) secretion by the thyroid increases severalfold during iodine deficiency. The fact that serum T(3) remains constant and T(4) decreases to extremely low levels, combined with previous observations that iodine-deficient animals appear to be euthyroid, is compatible with the hypothesis that T(4) in the normal rat serves primarily as a precursor of T(3).