Sulfation of thyroid hormone by estrogen sulfotransferase

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Jul;84(7):2577-80. doi: 10.1210/jcem.84.7.5975.


Sulfation is one of the pathways by which thyroid hormone is inactivated. Iodothyronine sulfate concentrations are very high in human fetal blood and amniotic fluid, suggesting important production of these conjugates in utero. Human estrogen sulfotransferase (SULT1E1) is expressed among other tissues in the uterus. Here we demonstrate for the first time that SULT1E1 catalyzes the facile sulfation of the prohormone T4, the active hormone T3 and the metabolites rT3 and 3,3'-diiodothyronine (3,3'-T2) with preference for rT3 approximately 3,3'-T2 > T3 approximately T4. Thus, a single enzyme is capable of sulfating two such different hormones as the female sex hormone and thyroid hormone. The potential role of SULT1E1 in fetal thyroid hormone metabolism needs to be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diiodothyronines / metabolism
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estrone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfates / metabolism*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Thyroxine / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine, Reverse / metabolism


  • Diiodothyronines
  • Isoenzymes
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sulfates
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Estrone
  • Estradiol
  • Triiodothyronine, Reverse
  • 3,3'-diiodothyronine
  • Sulfotransferases
  • estrone sulfotransferase
  • Thyroxine