Thyroid UK

The Endocrine Society Centennial: The Thyroid Leads the Way

Thyroid is simple, just take your levothyroxine every day...

Ignore the exquisite control by deiodinases. In fact, ignore most of the 120 years of research and medical experience...

Still, it is good to see thyroid centre stage for a change.

The Endocrine Society Centennial: The Thyroid Leads the Way

Anthony N. Hollenberg



Received: November 23, 2015

Accepted: November 23, 2015

First Published Online: December 30, 2015

Emile Theodor Kocher's findings in Switzerland in the 1880s that the surgical removal of the entire thyroid gland led to severe physical and intellectual decline in patients made it clear that the thyroid produced a key substance necessary for normal human function. Indeed, this was confirmed by the British physician George Murray in 1891, who first successfully treated a patient with severe hypothyroidism with the sc injection of a sheep thyroid extract. Since these discoveries more than 120 years ago, much has been learned about the actions of thyroid hormones in humans. We now know that the thyroid secretes both T4 and T3 but that available cellular T3 can be exquisitely controlled by a family of deiodinase enzymes that either produce or consume T3. Furthermore, access of T4 and T3 to distinct cell types is mediated by cell surface transporters, the most well-described being the monocarboxylate 8 transporter. Mutations in this transporter in humans lead to a severe X-linked neurological syndrome termed the Allan-Herndon Dudley syndrome. Finally, since the identification of T3 by Pitt-Rivers in 1952, it has become clear that its actions in the nucleus via thyroid hormone receptors and their coregulators mediate the regulation of genomic programs that are key to the role of thyroid hormones systemically. Based on the discoveries over the last 120 years that have led to this understanding of thyroid hormone action, it is only fitting that to celebrate the centennial of The Endocrine Society, we review the impact of two key papers published in Endocrinology that led to the modern understanding of thyroid hormone action.

Rest of paper accessible here:

4 Replies

Oh, so when my endocrinologist said he didn't believe in t3, i could have just whacked him round the head with this paper could I?

well lets face it he is never going to read it. Nice find though..... Well worth hanging on to.,...

( unlike my endo, who i sacked)


How can you not believe in something that has been shown to exist? You can not believe in fairies or flying pigs, but T3 obviously exists.


Afraid i just stared at him, then i did the doctor rolls eyes and looks to the ceiling thing.. :-). Whilst making a note never to go back.


1 like

Thanks for the link helvella and, surprise, surprise, just imagine the Endocrinology are Celebrating a Centennial:- definition, pertaining to, or marking the completion of, a period of 100 years.

The fact the many of us on this forum believe they have gone backwards instead of forwards - dissatisfied with method of diagnosis - relying only upon the TSH etc etc etc.

Not having a choice of thyroid hormone replacements. Doctors unaware of clinical symptoms of a thyrod gland dysfunction and being kept on too low a dose.


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