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J Endocrinol Invest. 2003 Oct;26(10):950-5.

In vitro assay of thyroid disruptors affecting TSH-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity.

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Department of Endocrinology, Centro di Eccellenza AmbiSEN, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


Several natural or synthetic chemicals have been indicated as potential thyroid disruptors. The development of in vitro assays has been recommended to comprehensively assess the potential thyroid disrupting activity of a substance or a complex mixture. In this study, 12 substances suspected for acting as thyroid disruptors were tested for their ability to inhibit TSH-stimulated cAMP production in vitro. Those substances producing an inhibition were further studied to establish the level at which they interfere with this step of thyroid cell function. Using Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO) transfected with the recombinant human TSH receptor, a dose-dependent inhibition of TSH-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity was produced by 1,1-bis-(4-chlorphenyl)-2,2,2-trichloroethan (DDT), Aroclor 1254 and Melissa Officinalis. All three substances also inhibited the cAMP production stimulated by TSH receptor antibody. Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH, while no significant changes were produced by Aroclor 1254 or DDT in these assays. These data suggest that principles contained in Melissa Officinalis may block the binding of TSH to its receptor by acting both on the hormone and the receptor itself, while DDT and Aroclor 1254 affect cAMP production mainly at post-receptor step. In conclusion, we have developed a set of in vitro assays that allow investigation into the effect of thyroid disruptors on the TSH-mediated activation of the cAMP cascade. These assays may be useful to identify the mechanism of action of thyroid disruptors, coming beside and supporting animal studies or epidemiological surveys.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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