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Endocrinology. 2001 May;142(5):2123-8.

The type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase is expressed in the rat uterus and induced during pregnancy.

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Departments of Physiology and Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire 03756, USA.


Thyroid hormones are of considerable importance for vertebrate reproductive function and during development. To further assess the role of these compounds in this capacity, we examined the expression pattern of the type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (D2), which converts T(4) to the more active hormone T(3), in the rat uterus in both the nonpregnant and the pregnant state. D2 activity was identified as the predominant, if not only, 5'-deiodinase in the nonpregnant rat uterus. The expression of D2 messenger RNA was located by in situ hybridization to the endometrial stromal cells, where the signal was particularly enriched in the region adjacent to the epithelial cells of the uterine lumen. During pregnancy, D2 activity increased, peaking on day 17 of gestation (embryonic day 17). At that time, uterine D2 activity exceeded that in the placenta, as well as that in the fetal tissues. In the earlier stages of pregnancy before placental formation (e.g. embryonic days 10-11), D2 messenger RNA in the rat uterus was located outside the decidual tissue, which was observed, as in previous studies, to highly express the inactivating type 3 deiodinase. In summary, the rat uterus, particularly during pregnancy, seems to be a site of active thyroid hormone metabolism, presumably designed to maintain the optimal thyroid hormone environment for both the fetus and the maternal uterine tissue.

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