Regional physiological adaptation of the central nervous system deiodinases to iodine deficiency

Robin Peeters, Csaba Fekete, Carla Goncalves, Gabor Legradi, Helen M. Tu, John W. Harney, Antonio C. Bianco, Ronald M. Lechan, P. Reed Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The goal of the present investigation was to analyze the types 2 (D2) and 3 (D3) iodothyronine deiodinases in various structures within the central nervous system (CNS) in response to iodine deficiency. After 5-6 wk of low-iodine diet (LID) or LID + 2 μg potassium iodide/ml (LID+KI; control), rats' brains were processed for in situ hybridization histochemistry for D2 and D3 mRNA or dissected, frozen in liquid nitrogen, and processed for and D3 activities. LID did not affect weight gain or serum triiodothyronine, but plasma thyroxine (T4) was undetectable. In the LID+KI animals, D3 activities were highest in the cerebral cortex (CO) and hippocampus (HI), followed by the olfactory bulb and was lowest in cerebellum (CE). Iodine deficiency decreased D3 mRNA expression in all CNS regions, and these changes were accompanied by three- to eightfold decreases in D3 activity. In control animals, D2 activity in the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH) was similar to that in pituitary gland. Of the CNS D2-expressing regions analyzed, the two most responsive to iodine deficiency were the CO and HI, in which an ∼20-fold increase in D2 activity occurred. Other regions, i.e., CE, lateral hypothalamus, MBH, and pituitary gland, showed smaller increases. The distribution of and changes in D2 mRNA were similar to those of D2 activity. Our results indicate that decreases in the expression of D3 and increases in D2 are an integral peripheral component of the physiological response of the CNS to iodine deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E54-E61
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1 44-1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Development
  • Goiter
  • Growth
  • Nutrition
  • Selenium
  • Thyroid
  • Trace element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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