Increased expression of the Na+/I- symporter in cultured human thyroid cells exposed to thyrotropin and in Graves' thyroid tissue

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Oct;82(10):3331-6. doi: 10.1210/jcem.82.10.4269.


The Na+/I- symporter (NIS) is important in hormone synthesis in the thyroid gland. NIS activity, as reflected by I- uptake, was increased by TSH (1 mU/mL) or forskolin (10 mumol/L) in primary cultured human thyroid cells. Northern blot analysis revealed that incubation of these cells with TSH or forskolin for 24 h increased the abundance of NIS messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) 2.3- and 2.5-fold, respectively. Immunoblot analysis revealed 2.7- and 2.4-fold increases, respectively, in the amount of NIS protein after 48 h, suggesting that elevated levels of intracellular cAMP induced the expression of NIS in human thyrocytes. We then studied the levels of NIS mRNA and protein in Graves' thyroid tissue and found that the amount of NIS mRNA in thyroid tissue from individuals with Graves' disease (n = 5) was 3.8 times that in normal thyroid tissue (n = 5). The abundance of NIS mRNA was significantly correlated with that of thyroid peroxidase or thyroglobulin mRNAs, but not with that of TSH receptor mRNA, in the Graves' and normal thyroid tissue specimens. The amount of NIS protein was also increased 3.1-fold in Graves' thyroid tissue compared with that in normal thyroid tissue. The increased expression of NIS may thus contribute to the development of Graves' disease.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Graves Disease / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Iodides / pharmacokinetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reference Values
  • Symporters*
  • Thyroid Gland / cytology
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects*
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism*
  • Thyrotropin / pharmacology*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Iodides
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Symporters
  • sodium-iodide symporter
  • Thyrotropin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/D87920