Thyroid hormone metabolism and the developing human lung

Biol Neonate. 2001 May:80 Suppl 1:18-21. doi: 10.1159/000047172.


Thyroid hormones are involved in the regulation of fetal lung development, and maturation is accelerated in animal models by antepartum exposure to raised concentrations of the receptor-active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine and glucocorticoids. It is essential that the nature of the regulation of the spatial and temporal metabolism of iodothyronines in the human fetus and infant is known before effective therapies can be developed to modify human lung maturation. Thyroid hormone bioavailability to the human fetus is regulated in part by enzymatic deiodination and reversible sulfation of iodothyronines, with contributions from other factors such as fetomaternal and fetoamniotic hormone transfers, fetal thyroid gland production, and the activities of plasma membrane transporters mediating uptake of iodothyronines from plasma into tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arylsulfatases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetal Organ Maturity
  • Humans
  • Iodide Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Lung / embryology*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sulfates / metabolism
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Hormones / pharmacology


  • Sulfates
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Iodide Peroxidase
  • Sulfotransferases
  • Arylsulfatases