Iodine deficiency and subclinical hypothyroidism are common in cystic fibrosis patients

J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2013 Apr;27(2):122-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


Background: Disorders of thyroid function have been inconsistently described in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and in CF transmembrane regulator protein knockout animals. The literature lacks reports on iodine status of CF individuals. We hypothesize, that iodine deficiency is common in CF and account for abnormal thyroid function in CF patients.

Methods: We investigated 129 children, adolescents, and adults with CF, who were living in the northern part of Bavaria/Germany. Malnutrition and lung function were analyzed. Urinary iodine excretion, TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), and ft4 (free thyroxine) were measured and set in relation to population-based, age-adjusted reference ranges.

Results: Subclinical hypothyroidism (normal fT4, elevated TSH) was found in 11.6% of subjects, and iodine deficiency in 83.7%. No correlations were found with age, BMI, status of malnutrition, or lung function.

Conclusion: Dramatic iodine deficiency was found in our cohort of CF patients. This condition can cause subclinical hypothyroidism; therefore, an individual iodine supplementation program is necessary and should be started immediately.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / blood
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / blood
  • Hypothyroidism / etiology*
  • Hypothyroidism / urine
  • Infant
  • Iodides / urine
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Male
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Iodides
  • Thyrotropin
  • Iodine
  • Thyroxine