Strain differences among rats in response to Remington iodine-deficient diets

Endocrinology. 1981 Aug;109(2):458-63. doi: 10.1210/endo-109-2-458.


Male rats of five different strains (Simonsen albino, Wistar, Long-Evans, Holtzman Sprague-Dawley, and Charles River Sprague-Dawley) were tested for their response to the U.S. Biochemical Corp. Remington low iodine diet containing 15-18 microgram I/kg. Measurements made after the diet had been fed for 28-30 days indicated that Simonsen albino and Wistar strains consistently showed the greatest response, based on degree of thyroid enlargement, depletion of thyroidal iodine, reduction in serum T4, and elevation of serum TSH. Long-Evans and Holtzman Sprague-Dawley rats responded relatively poorly to the low iodine diet. One experiment included female rats, and the limited data suggested that within a given strain there was no significant sex difference. With more prolonged feeding (84 days), the difference between a rapidly responding strain (Simonsen albino) and a more slowly responding strain (Holtzman Sprague-Dawley) was not so marked. Our results indicate that given sufficient time and a diet sufficiently low in iodine, even a more slowly responding strain will ultimately develop signs of extreme iodine deficiency. However, it is inconvenient and expensive to maintain rats on a Remington low iodine diet for 3 months, and studies on the effect of severe iodine deficiency are much more rapidly performed using a rapidly responding strain such as the Simonsen albino. Our observation that rats of different strains differ markedly in their responses to an iodine-deficient diet suggests that hereditary factors play an important role in this response.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Iodine / metabolism
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Rats
  • Species Specificity
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Thyrotropin
  • Iodine
  • Thyroxine