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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 May;82(5):1535-42.

Elevated 3,5-diiodothyronine concentrations in the sera of patients with nonthyroidal illnesses and brain tumors.

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Department of Radiological Diagnostics and Nuclear Medicine, Universitätsklinikum Benjamin Franklin, Free University of Berlin, Germany.


This study reports the development of a highly sensitive and reproducible RIA for the measurement of 3,5-diiodothyronine (3,5-T2) in human serum and tissue. The RIA employs 3-bromo-5-[125I]iodo-L-thyronine (3-Br-5-[125I]T1) as tracer, which was synthesized carrier free by an interhalogen exchange from 3,5-dibromo-L-thyronine (3,5-Br2T0). The detection limits were 1.0 fmol/g and 0.8 pmol/L in human brain tissue and serum, respectively. T3, diiodothyroacetic acid, and 3-monoiodothyronine cross-reacted with a 3,5-T2 antibody to the extent of 0.06%, 0.13%, and 0.65%, respectively. Serum concentrations of 3,5-T2 were measured in 62 healthy controls and 4 groups of patients with nonthyroidal illness, i.e. patients with sepsis (n = 24), liver diseases (n = 23), head and/or brain injury n = 15), and brain tumors (n = 21). The mean serum level of 3,5-T2 in the healthy subjects was 16.2 +/- 6.4 pmol/L. Concentrations of 3,5-T2 were significantly elevated in patients with sepsis (46.7 +/- 48.8 pmol/L; P < 0.01), liver diseases (24.8 +/- 14.9 pmol/L; P < 0.01), head and/or brain injury (24.1 +/- 11.3 pmol/L; P < 0.05), and brain tumors (21.6 +/- 4.8 pmol/L; P < 0.01). In all 4 patient groups, serum levels of T3 were significantly reduced, confirming the existence of a low T3 syndrome in these diseases. Serum concentrations of 3,5-T2 were significantly elevated in patients with hyperthyroidism (n = 9) and were reduced in patients with hypothyroidism (n = 8). The levels of T4, T3, and 3,5-T2 were measured in normal human tissue samples from the pituitary gland and various brain regions and in brain tumors. In normal brain tissue, the concentrations of 3,5-T2 ranged between 70-150 fmol/g, and the ratio of T3 to 3,5-T2 was approximately 20:1. In brain tumors, however, T3 levels were markedly lower, resulting in a ratio of T3 to 3,5-T2 of approximately 1:1. Recent findings suggest a physiological, thyromimetic role of 3,5-T2, possibly stimulating mitochondrial respiratory chain activity. Should this prove to be correct, then the increased availability of 3,5-T2 in nonthyroidal illness may be one factor involved in maintaining clinical euthyroidism in patients with reduced serum levels of T3 during nonthyroidal illness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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