Thyroid hormone is important for development of various tissues, in particular brain, and for regulation of metabolic processes throughout life. The follicular cells of the thyroid gland produce predominantly T4 (thyroxine), but the biological activity of thyroid hormone is largely exerted by T3 (3,3′,5-tri-iodothyronine). The deiodinases involved in T4-to-T3 conversion or T4 and T3 degradation, as well as the T3 receptors, are located intracellularly. Therefore the action and metabolism of thyroid hormone require transport of iodothyronines across the cell membrane via specific transporters. Recently, a number of transporters capable of cellular uptake of iodothyronines have been identified. The most specific transporters identified so far are OATP1C1 and MCT8, which appear to be involved in T4 transport across the blood-brain barrier, and in T3 transport into brain neurons, respectively. The MCT8 gene is located on human chromosome Xq13, and mutations in MCT8 are associated with X-linked severe psychomotor retardation and elevated serum T3 levels.

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Biochemical Society Transactions
Department of Internal Medicine

Friesema, E., Jansen, J., & Visser, T. (2005). Thyroid hormone transporters. In Biochemical Society Transactions (Vol. 33, pp. 228–232). doi:10.1042/BST0330228