The effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interferon gamma (IFNgamma) were studied on the activity of type 2,5'-deiodinase and on the binding of [125I] T(4) to proteins in human thyroid cytosolic (supernatant) and membrane (pellet) fractions. The activity of thyroid type 2,5'-deiodinase was measured by iodothyronine outer ring deiodinase assay. The binding of [125I] T(4) to the proteins of thyroid cytosolic and membrane fractions was determined by autoradiography. The results showed that thyroid type 2,5'-deiodinase activity could be detected also in the cytosolic fraction, not only in the membrane. TNFalpha, IL-6 and IFNgamma could inhibit the type 2 deiodinase activity in vitro. The dose-dependent binding of [125I] T(4) to the proteins of 29, 66 and 200 kDa could be observed both in the cytosolic and membrane fractions. TNFalpha and IFNgamma inhibited the binding of [125I] T(4) to the two characteristic proteins of type 2,5'-deiodinase, to proteins of 29 and/or 200 kDa, both in the cytosolic and membrane fractions. We conclude that TNFalpha, IL-6 and IFNgamma can inhibit the activity of type 2,5'-deiodinase. Furthermore, TNFalpha and IFNgamma can still also decrease the binding of [125I] T(4) to the enzyme in vitro. It can be suggested that the increased level of these cytokines can be one of the reasons in the induction of the clinical symptoms in nonthyroidal illness associated with low levels of T(3).