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Toxicol Ind Health. 1998 Jan-Apr;14(1-2):85-101.

Resistance to thyroid hormone: implications for neurodevelopmental research on the effects of thyroid hormone disruptors.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, USA.


Thyroid hormones are essential for normal behavioral, intellectual, and neurological development. Congenital hypothyroidism, if not treated, can result in irreversible mental retardation, whereas thyroid diseases with more moderate impairment of thyroid function, such as resistance to thyroid hormone, cause less severe intellectual and behavioral abnormalities, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There is increasing evidence that exposure to certain synthetic compounds, including dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), during the perinatal period can also impair learning, memory, and attentional processes in offspring. Animal and human studies suggest that exposure to these environmental toxicants impair normal thyroid function. Although the precise mechanisms of action of the adverse effects these toxicants have on neurodevelopment have not yet been elucidated, it is possible that they are partially or predominantly mediated by alterations in hormone binding to the thyroid hormone receptor. The convergence of studies that examine the neurodevelopmental consequences of moderate impairment of thyroid function, such as is found in resistance to thyroid hormone, with those studies that demonstrate the adverse behavioral and cognitive effects of perinatal exposure to dioxins and PCBs serves to generate new hypotheses to test in a research setting. Such studies may provide new insights into the basic pathogenesis of developmental neurotoxicity following exposure to thyroid-disrupting synthetic compounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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