Circadian Gating of Thyroid Hormone Action in Hepatocytes

Cells. 2024 Jun 14;13(12):1038. doi: 10.3390/cells13121038.


Thyroid hormones, thyroxin (T4) and the biologically active triiodothyronine (T3), play important roles in liver metabolic regulation, including fatty acid biosynthesis, beta-oxidation, and cholesterol homeostasis. These functions position TH signaling as a potential target for the treatment of metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD). Elevated T3 levels in the circulation are associated with increased hepatic lipid turnover, which is also under the control of the circadian clock system. In this study, we developed a cell system to study the impact of hepatocyte circadian rhythms on the metabolic response to T3 treatment under control and steatotic conditions. Synchronized AML-12 circadian reporter hepatocytes were treated with T3 at different circadian phases and metabolic conditions. T3 treatment increased metabolic activity in a dose-independent fashion and had no significant effect on circadian rhythms in AML-12 cells. T3 had marked time-of-treatment-dependent effects on metabolic transcript expression. Steatosis induction altered metabolic transcript expression in AML-12 cells. In this condition, the circadian rhythm period was lengthened, and this effect was independent of T3. Under steatotic conditions, T3 had marked time-of-treatment dependent effects on metabolic transcript expression, which differed from those observed under control conditions. These findings reveal a time-of-day-dependent response of hepatocytes to T3, which is further modulated by the metabolic state. Our data suggest that time has a strong influence on liver TH action, which might be considered when treating MASLD.

Keywords: circadian clock; endocrinology; fatty liver; lipid metabolism; thyroid hormones.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Hepatocytes* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine* / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine* / pharmacology


  • Triiodothyronine
  • Thyroid Hormones