Send to

Choose Destination
Thyroid. 2016 Dec;26(12):1674-1680. Epub 2016 Oct 25.

Circulating 3-T1AM and 3,5-T2 in Critically Ill Patients: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study.

Author information

1 Clinical Division and Laboratory of Intensive Care Medicine, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, KU Leuven , Leuven, Belgium .
2 Institut für Experimentelle Endokrinologie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin , Berlin, Germany .



Critical illness is hallmarked by low circulating thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations, in the presence of elevated reverse T3 (rT3) and low-normal thyrotropin (TSH), referred to as nonthyroidal illness (NTI). Thyroid hormone (TH) metabolism is substantially increased during NTI, in part explained by enhanced deiodinase 3 (D3) activity. T4- and T3-sulfate concentrations are elevated, due to suppressed D1 activity in the presence of unaltered sulfotransferase activity, and 3,3'-diiodothyronine (3,3'-T2) concentrations are normal. To elucidate further the driving forces behind increased TH metabolism during NTI, two other potential T4 metabolites-3,5-diiodothyronine (3,5-T2) and 3-iodothyronamine (3-T1AM)-were measured and related to their potential TH precursors.


Morning blood samples were collected cross-sectionally from 83 critically ill patients on a University Hospital intensive care unit and from 38 demographically matched healthy volunteers. Serum TH and binding proteins were quantified with commercial assays, and 3,5-T2 and 3-T1AM with in-house developed immunoassays.


Critically ill patients revealed, besides the NTI, a median 44% lower serum 3-T1AM concentration (p < 0.0001) and a 30% higher serum 3,5-T2 concentration (p = 0.01) than healthy volunteers did. Non-survivors and patients diagnosed with sepsis upon admission to the intensive-care unit had significantly higher 3,5-T2 (p ≤ 0.01) but comparable 3-T1AM (p > 0.2) concentrations than other patients did. Multivariable linear regression analysis adjusted for potential precursors revealed that the reduced serum 3-T1AM was positively correlated with the low serum T3 (p < 0.001) but unrelated to serum T4 or rT3. The elevated 3,5-T2 concentration did not independently correlate with TH.


Increased TH metabolism during NTI could not be explained by increased conversion to 3-T1AM, as circulating 3-T1AM was suppressed in proportion to the concomitantly low T3 concentrations. Increased conversion of T4 and/or T3 to 3,5-T2 could be possible, as serum 3,5-T2 concentrations were elevated. Whether 3-T1AM or 3,5-T2 plays a functional role during critical illness needs further investigation.


NTI; critical illness; metabolites; sepsis; thyroid hormones

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center