Beyond classic concepts in thyroid homeostasis: Immune system and microbiota

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2021 Aug 1:533:111333. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2021.111333. Epub 2021 May 25.


It has long been known that thyroid hormones have implications for multiple physiological processes and can lead to serious illness when there is an imbalance in its metabolism. The connections between thyroid hormone metabolism and the immune system have been extensively described, as they can participate in inflammation, autoimmunity, or cancer progression. In addition, changes in the normal intestinal microbiota involve the activation of the immune system while triggering different pathophysiological disorders. Recent studies have linked the microbiota and certain bacterial fragments or metabolites to the regulation of thyroid hormones and the general response in the endocrine system. Even if the biology and function of the thyroid gland has attracted more attention due to its pathophysiological importance, there are essential mechanisms and issues related to it that are related to the interplay between the intestinal microbiota and the immune system and must be further investigated. Here we summarize additional information to uncover these relationships, the knowledge of which would help establish new personalized medical strategies.

Keywords: Energy expenditure; Immune system; Microbiota; Thyroid homeostasis; Thyroid hormones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism*


  • Thyroid Hormones