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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Aug;1812(8):929-37. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2010.12.019. Epub 2010 Dec 29.

Role of thyroid receptor β in lipid metabolism.

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Division of Clinical Chemistry, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, S-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.


Thyroid hormones (THs) exert their actions by binding to thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) and thereby affect tissue differentiation, development, and metabolism in most tissues. TH-deficiency creates a less favorable lipid profile (e.g. increased plasma cholesterol levels), whereas TH-excess is associated with both positive (e.g. reduced plasma cholesterol levels) and negative (e.g. increased heart rate) effects. TRs are encoded by two genes, THRA and THRB, which, by alternative splicing, generate several isoforms (e.g. TRα1, TRα2, TRβ1, and TRβ2). TRα, the major TR in the heart, is crucial for heart rate and for cardiac contractility and relaxation, whereas TRβ1, the major TR in the liver, is important for lipid metabolism. Selective modulation of TRβ1 is thus considered as a potential therapeutic target to treat dyslipidemia without cardiac side effects. Several selective TH analogs have been tested in preclinical studies with promising results, but only a few of these compounds have so far been tested in clinical studies. This review focuses on the role of THs, TRs, and selective and non-selective TH analogs in lipid metabolism. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Translating nuclear receptors from health to disease.

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