A high-affinity subtype-selective agonist ligand for the thyroid hormone receptor

Grazia Chiellini, James W. Apriletti, Hikari Al Yoshihara, John D. Baxter, Ralff C.J. Ribeiro, Thomas S. Scanlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Background: Thyroid hormones regulate many different physiological processes in different tissues in vertebrates. Most of the actions of thyroid hormones are mediated by the thyroid hormone receptor (TR), which is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription regulators. There are two different genes that encode two different TRs, TRα and TRβ, and these two TRs are often co-expressed at different levels in different tissues. Most thyroid hormones do not discriminate between the two TRs and bind both with similar affinities. Results: We have designed and synthesized a thyroid hormone analog that has high affinity for the TRs and is selective in both binding and activation functions for TRβ over TRα. The compound, GC-1, was initially designed to solve synthetic problems that limit thyroid hormone analog preparation, and contains several structural changes with respect to the natural hormone 3,5,3'-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3). These changes include replacement of the three iodines with methyl and isopropyl groups, replacement of the biaryl ether linkage with a methylene linkage, and replacement of the amino-acid sidechain with an oxyacetic-acid sidechain. Conclusions: The results of this study show that GC-1 is a member of a new class of thyromimetic compounds that are more synthetically accessible than traditional thyromimetics and have potentially useful receptor binding and activation properties. The TRβ selectivity of GC-1 is particularly interesting and suggests that GC-1 might be a useful in vivo probe for studying the physiological roles of the different thyroid hormone receptor isoforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Biaryl alcohol
  • Selective alkylation
  • Subtype selectivity
  • Thyroid hormone receptor
  • Thyromimetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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