Objective: To investigate the effects of chronic iodine excess on thyroid function, thyroid peroxidase (TPO) activity, and expression of sodium-iodide symporter (NIS).
Methods: 500 Wistar rats were randomly exposed to 4 doses of iodine 4 microg/d (G0, control), 6 microg/d (G1), 12 microg/d (G2), and 24 microg/d (G3) for 1, 2, 4 and 8 months. The urine iodine and tissue iodine was determined by arsenic/cerium catalyzing spectrophotograph. Radioimmunoassays were used to detect thyrotropin (TSH), free thyroxin (FT4), free triiodothyronine (FT3), total thyroxin (TT4), and total triiodothyronine (TT3). Guaiacol reaction method and potassium iodide oxygenation method were used to determine the activity of TPO. Suspension of single cells from thyroid tissue was made and the positive rate of NIS was determined by flow cytometry. The expression of NIS protein was assayed by immunohistochemistry.
Results: The urine iodine levels of G1, G2, and G3 were 1.5, 3, and 6 times of G0 respectively. FT4, FT3, and total iodine were found progressively accumulated in thyroid tissue with the elevation of iodine intake. The TPO activities of G2 and G3 at the 8th month were 0.17 +/- 0.04 and 0.15 +/- 0.03 respectively, both significantly lower than that of G0 (0.4 +/- 0.23, P < 0.05). The levels of iodine intake at different time points of G1-3 were significantly reduced in a iodine-dose dependent manner (r = -0.63 to -0.78, P < 0.01). The 131I intake at month 8 of G1, G2, and G3 were 56%, 49%, and 39% that of G0 respectively. At month 8 the NIS positive rates of G2 and G3 were significantly lower than that of G0 (both P < 0.05). The NIS protein positive rate was positively correlated with NIS protein expression intensity (r = 0.7-0.72, P < 0.01). The iodine content of thyroid tissue was negatively correlated with TPO activity, iodine intake rate, NIS protein positive rate and expression intensity (r = -0.62 to -0.88, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Moderate iodine excess continuously suppresses the thyroid iodine uptake and organification, which presents a mechanism for iodine-induced thyroid failure.