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Coupling Between Nutrient Availability and Thyroid Hormone Activation

Here we have an abstract about the effects of food on T4 -> T3 conversion - conversion is reduced during fasting and raised again with sufficient nutrients.

J Biol Chem. 2015 Oct 23. pii: jbc.M115.665505. [Epub ahead of print]

Coupling Between Nutrient Availability and Thyroid Hormone Activation.

Lartey LJ1, Werneck-de-Castro JP2, O-Sullivan I3, Unterman TG3, Bianco AC4.

Author information

1University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, United States;

2Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, United States;

3University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine, United States;

4Rush University Medical Center, United States


The activity of the thyroid gland is stimulated by food availability via leptin-induced TRH/TSH expression. Here we show that food availability also stimulates thyroid hormone activation by accelerating conversion of T4-to-T3 via type 2 deiodinase (D2) in mouse skeletal muscle and in a cell model transitioning from 0.1 to 10% FBS. The underlying mechanism is transcriptional de-repression of DIO2 through the mTORC2 pathway as defined in rictor knock down cells. In cells kept in 0.1% FBS there is DIO2 inhibition via FOXO1 binding to DIO2 promoter. Repression of DIO2 by FOXO1 was confirmed using its specific inhibitor AS1842856 or adenoviral infection of constitutively active FOXO1. ChIP studies indicate that 4h after 10% FBS-containing media FOXO1 binding markedly decreases and DIO2 promoter is activated. Studies in the insulin-receptor FOXO1 KO mouse indicate that insulin is a key signaling molecule in this process. We conclude that FOXO1 represses DIO2 during fasting and de-repression occurs via nutritional activation of the PI3K-mTORC2-Akt pathway.

Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


FOXO1; insulin; mTOR complex (mTORC); signal transduction; signaling; thyroid hormone; type 2 deiodinase

PMID: 26499800 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

5 Replies

Thanks ellismay - I meant to look for the full paper myself but other things got in the way.

Bianco is appearing in a succession of interesting thyroid papers - as are Midgley, Hoërmann, Deitrich, etc.

Fully agree about the desirability of a plain language summary.

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For those of us who struggle understanding the shopping list that we wrote half an hour ago, the simplified version that they've given is still too complex.

I'm going to have another look at this tomorrow when my brain might be more able to process it - it looks like it could be a really interesting bit of research.




The report is giving a very detailed account on the workings of a small part of what helps thyroid hormones work.

Basically it means make sure you eat nutritious foods at regular intervals as fasting will stop the precious T4-T3 conversion process that we all strive for.



Thank you Flower, that makes sense with lots of other things I've read and what we already know about little and often!


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Not terribly sure that I've understood it all, but are they saying that conversion always recovers when nutritional intake is restored? And when they say 'food', are they talking about the calorific value, or things like vitamins and minerals?

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