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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;2(2):59-69.

Thyroid hormone, neural tissue and mood modulation.

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Neuropsychiatric Institute & Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 2330, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The successful treatment of affective disorders with thyroid hormone exemplifies the suggested inter-relationship between endocrine and neuronal systems in these disorders. Thyroid hormones have a profound influence on behaviour and appear to be capable of modulating the phenotypic expression of major affective illness. Specifically, there is good evidence that triiodothyronine (T3) may accelerate the antidepressant response to tricylic antidepressants, and some studies suggest that T3 may augment the therapeutic response to antidepressants in refractory depressed patients. Open studies have also indicated that adjunctive supraphysiological doses of thyroxine (T4) can ameliorate depressive symptomatology and help stabilize the long-term course of illness in bipolar and unipolar patients, especially women refractory to standard medications. Despite acceptance of the essential role of thyroid hormone on brain maturation and differentiation, and the clinical and therapeutic observations in association with mood disorders, the molecular action that may underlie the mood-modulating properties of thyroid hormone in the adult brain has only recently become the focus of research. The identification of nuclear T3 receptors, the region-specific expression of deiodinase isoenzymes and the molecular analyses of thyroid-responsive genes in the adult brain have provided the biological bases for a better understanding of thyroid hormone action in mature neurons. Also the influence of thyroid hormones on the putative neurotransmitter systems that regulate mood and behaviour, serotonin and norepinephrine, may be helpful in explaining their mood-modulating effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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