3-Iodothyronamine-A Thyroid Hormone Metabolite With Distinct Target Profiles and Mode of Action

Endocr Rev. 2019 Apr 1;40(2):602-630. doi: 10.1210/er.2018-00182.


The rediscovery of the group of thyronamines (TAMs), especially the first detailed description of their most prominent congener 3-iodothyronamine (3T1AM) 14 years ago, boosted research on this thyroid hormone metabolite tremendously. TAMs exert actions partly opposite to and distinct from known functions of thyroid hormones. These fascinating metabolic, anapyrexic, cytoprotective, and brain effects quickly evoked the hope to use hormone-derived TAMs as a therapeutic option. The G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) TAAR1, a member of the trace amine-associated receptor (TAAR) family, was identified as the first target and effector of TAM action. The initial enthusiasm on pharmacological actions of exogenous TAMs elicited many questions, such as sites of biosynthesis, analytics, modes of action, inactivation, and role of TAMs in (patho)physiology. Meanwhile, it became clear that TAMs not only interact with TAAR1 or other TAAR family members but also with several aminergic receptors and non-GPCR targets such as transient receptor potential channels, mitochondrial proteins, and the serum TAM-binding protein apolipoprotein B100, thus classifying 3T1AM as a multitarget ligand. The physiological mode of action of TAMs is still controversial because regulation of endogenous TAM production and the sites of its biosynthesis are not fully elucidated. Methods for 3T1AM analytics need further validation, as they revealed different blood and tissue concentrations depending on detection principles used such as monoclonal antibody-based immunoassay vs liquid chromatography- matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry or time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In this review, we comprehensively summarize and critically evaluate current basic, translational, and clinical knowledge on 3T1AM and its main metabolite 3-iodothyroacetic acid, focusing on endocrine-relevant aspects and open but highly challenging issues.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Thyronines / metabolism*


  • 3-iodothyroacetic acid
  • 3-iodothyronamine
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Thyronines
  • Trace amine-associated receptor 1