Thyroid Hormones and Derivatives: Endogenous Thyroid Hormones and Their Targets

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1801:85-104. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7902-8_9.


More than a century after the discovery of L-Thyroxine, the main thyroid hormone secreted solely by the thyroid gland, several metabolites of this iodinated, tyrosine-derived ancestral hormone have been identified. These are utilized as hormones during development, differentiation, metamorphosis, and regulation of most biochemical reactions in vertebrates and their precursor species. Among those metabolites are the thyromimetically active 3,3',5-Triiodo-L-thyronine (T3) and 3,5-Diiodo-L-thronine, reverse-T3 (3,3',5'-Triiodo-L-thyronine) with still unclear function, the recently re-discovered thyronamines (e.g., 3-Iodo-thyronamine), which exert in part T3-antagonistic functions, the thyroacetic acids (e.g., Tetrac and Triac), as well as various sulfated or glucuronidated metabolites of this panel of iodinated signaling compounds. In the blood most of these hydrophobic metabolites are tightly bound to the serum distributor proteins thyroxine binding globulin (TBG), transthyretin (TTR), albumin or apolipoprotein B100. Cellular import and export of these charged, highly hydrophobic amino acid derivatives requires a number of cell-membrane transporters or facilitators such as MCT8 or MCT10 and members of the OATP and LAT families of transporters. Depending on their structure, the thyroid hormone metabolites exert their cellular action by binding and thus modulating the function of various receptors systems (e.g., ανβ3 integrin receptor and transient receptor potential channels (TRPM8) of the cell membrane), in part linked to intracellular downstream kinase signaling cascades, and several isoforms of membrane-associated, mitochondrial or nuclear thyroid hormone receptors (TR), which are members of the c-erbA family of ligand-modulated transcription factors. Intracellular deiodinase selenoenzymes, which obligatory are membrane integrated enzymes, ornithine decarboxylase and monoamine oxidases control local availability of biologically active thyroid hormone metabolites. Inactivation of thyroid hormone metabolites occurs mainly by deiodination, sulfation or glucuronidation, reactions which favor their renal or fecal elimination.

Keywords: Analogue; Conjugation; Deiodinase; Immunoassay; Inhibitor; Iodothyronine; Mass spectrometry; Monoamine oxidase; Ornithine decarboxylase; Thyroacetic acid; Thyroid hormone; Thyronamine; Thyronome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Iodide Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormones / chemistry
  • Thyroid Hormones / genetics
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Thyronines / metabolism


  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyronines
  • thyronamine
  • Iodide Peroxidase