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Placenta. 2001 Apr;22(4):353-9.

Thyroid hormone receptor expression in rat placenta.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Endocrinology, UCL Medical School, Mortimer Street, London W1N 8AA, UK.


The expression of c- erbAalpha and -beta encoded thyroid hormone receptors (TR) was investigated in rat placenta between 16 and 21 days of gestation (dg), and in fetal liver and brain at 16 dg, using semi-quantitative RT-PCR and nuclear 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T(3)) binding. TRalpha1, TRbeta1, c- erbAalpha 2 and c- erbAalpha 3 mRNA abundance was unchanged in placenta between 16 and 21 dg, as was the dissociation constant (K(d)) of T(3) binding. The maximal T(3) binding capacity (B(max)) in placenta doubled over this period, suggesting placental TR binding activity is post-transcriptionally regulated. Transcript abundance in tissues at 16 dg can be summarized: TRalpha1, placenta=fetal liver<fetal brain; TRbeta1, placenta=fetal liver>fetal brain; c- erbAalpha 2 and alpha3, placenta=fetal liver<fetal brain; TRbeta2; none detected. T(3)binding in fetal liver and brain exhibited equivalent K(d) and B(max), the K(d) being less than 50 per cent of that in placenta, though B(max) was unchanged. The higher K(d)in placenta may reflect tissue-specific patterns of TR modification. In conclusion, rat placenta expresses significant levels of c- erbAalpha and -beta transcripts and protein, providing a possible mechanism of action for T(3) of maternal and fetal origin in this tissue.

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