Neonatal thyroxine activation modifies epigenetic programming of the liver

Nat Commun. 2021 Jul 21;12(1):4446. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24748-8.


The type 2 deiodinase (D2) in the neonatal liver accelerates local thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) production and expression of T3-responsive genes. Here we show that this surge in T3 permanently modifies hepatic gene expression. Liver-specific Dio2 inactivation (Alb-D2KO) transiently increases H3K9me3 levels during post-natal days 1-5 (P1-P5), and results in methylation of 1,508 DNA sites (H-sites) in the adult mouse liver. These sites are associated with 1,551 areas of reduced chromatin accessibility (RCA) within core promoters and 2,426 within intergenic regions, with reduction in the expression of 1,363 genes. There is strong spatial correlation between density of H-sites and RCA sites. Chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) data reveals a set of 81 repressed genes with a promoter RCA in contact with an intergenic RCA ~300 Kbp apart, within the same topologically associating domain (χ2 = 777; p < 0.00001). These data explain how the systemic hormone T3 acts locally during development to define future expression of hepatic genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Iodide Peroxidase / genetics
  • Iodide Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Liver / growth & development
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Triiodothyronine / metabolism*


  • Chromatin
  • Triiodothyronine
  • iodothyronine deiodinase type II
  • Iodide Peroxidase