Euthyroid Sick Syndrome

Compr Physiol. 2016 Mar 15;6(2):1071-80. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c150017.


In this review, we discuss the characteristics, pathophysiology, and therapeutic implications of the euthyroid sick syndrome. Multiple mechanisms have been identified to contribute to the development of euthyroid sick syndrome, including alterations in the iodothyronine deiodinases, thyroid-stimulating hormone secretion, thyroid hormone binding to plasma protein, transport of thyroid hormone in peripheral tissues, and thyroid hormone receptor activity. The euthyroid sick syndrome appears to be a complex mix of physiologic adaptation and pathologic response to acute illness. The underlying cause for these alterations has not yet been elucidated. Treatment of the euthyroid sick syndrome with thyroid hormone to restore normal serum thyroid hormone levels in an effort to improve disease prognosis and outcomes continues to be a focus of many clinical studies, although currently available data do not provide evidence of a clear benefit of treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Euthyroid Sick Syndromes / drug therapy
  • Euthyroid Sick Syndromes / metabolism*
  • Euthyroid Sick Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Thyrotropin / metabolism


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyrotropin