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Exp Mol Pathol. 1986 Jun;44(3):259-71.

Direct toxic effect of iodide in excess on iodine-deficient thyroid glands: epithelial necrosis and inflammation associated with lipofuscin accumulation.


Involution of thyroid hyperplasia (induced by a low iodine diet and a goitrogen, propylthiouracil, PTU) was obtained in mice by administering a high or a moderate dose of iodide (HID or MID, respectively). In HID involuting glands, vasoconstriction was observed after 12 hr whereas necrosis and inflammation were very abundant as early as after 6 hr and maximal after 48 hr. They were not prevented by papaverine by which vasoconstriction was inhibited, but were inhibited by the continuation of PTU by which iodide oxidation and organification were inhibited. Lipofuscin inclusions in thyroid and inflammatory cells were always associated with necrosis. On the contrary, when involution was induced by MID or by HID + triiodothyronine (T3), or by T3 alone, neither necrosis nor inflammation occurred and apoptosis was the only mode of cell deletion. No lipofuscin inclusion occurred. Our results demonstrate that iodide in excess, after being oxidized or organified, is directly toxic for iodine-deficient thyroid cells. The presence of lipofuscin suggests that its toxicity is mediated by lipid peroxidation, a consequence of production of free radicals in excess.

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