Thyroid autonomy is a frequent cause of thyrotoxicosis in regions with iodine deficiency. Epidemiological data suggest that iodide may influence the course of pre-existing thyroid autonomy. Making use of FRTL-5 cells stably expressing a constitutively activating TSH receptor mutation as an in vitro model of thyroid autonomy, we investigated the impact of iodide on proliferation, function and changes in global gene expression. We demonstrate that iodine inhibits growth in TSHR WT and L629F mutant FRTL-5 cells and downregulates e.g. protocadherin cluster (Pcdha1-13) and thyroid responsive element (Thrsp). In addition functional genes e.g. iodotyrosine deiodinase (iyd) and oncogen junB are upregulated, while sodium-iodide-symporter (Nis) and thyroid peroxidase (Tpo) are downregulated by iodide. Iodide tunes down the biological activity of autonomous thyrocytes and may thus be of therapeutic benefit not only to prevent the occurrence of somatic TSHR mutations, causing thyroid autonomy, but also to slow down the development of clinically relevant disease.
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