Advances related to thyrotropin during 1999 included better understanding of the genetic basis of pituitary development and genetic advances in identifying clinical entities and their mechanisms and enabling new therapies. Initial clinical use of recombinant thyrotropin in evaluation of thyroid cancer recurrence was described. The importance of glycosylation pattern was clarified including the role of thyrotropin-releasing hormone in synthesis of thyrotropin molecules with mature glycosylation, and the impact of abnormal glycosylation in loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations of the thyrotropin receptor. Causes of excessive thyrotropin secretion were evaluated, including pituitary thyrotropin-secreting adenomas. The fairly common causes of central hypothyroidism including ischemic injury, cranial irradiation, psychiatric conditions, or medical illness were assessed. The action of thyrotropin at the thyroid cell was assessed as a growth factor and as an influence on tyrosine sulfate content of thyroglobulin. Such basic and clinical science advances are rapidly affecting clinical care.