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EMBO J. 1998 Jan 15;17(2):455-61.

Abnormal heart rate and body temperature in mice lacking thyroid hormone receptor alpha 1.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Thyroid hormone, acting through several nuclear hormone receptors, plays important roles in thermogenesis, lipogenesis and maturation of the neonatal brain. The receptor specificity for mediating these effects is largely unknown, and to determine this we developed mice lacking the thyroid hormone receptor TR alpha 1. The mice have an average heart rate 20% lower than that of control animals, both under normal conditions and after thyroid hormone stimulation. Electrocardiograms show that the mice also have prolonged QRS- and QTend-durations. The mice have a body temperature 0.5 degrees C lower than normal and exhibit a mild hypothyroidism, whereas their overall behavior and reproduction are normal. The results identify specific and important roles for TR alpha 1 in regulation of tightly controlled physiological functions, such as cardiac pacemaking, ventricular repolarisation and control of body temperature.

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