Elevated serum tetrac in graves disease: Potential pathogenic role in thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy

Roshini Fernando, Ekaterina Placzek, Edmund A. Reese, Andrew T. Placzek, Samantha Schwartz, Aaron Trierweiler, Leslie M. Niziol, Nupur Raychaudhuri, Stephen Atkins, Thomas S. Scanlan, Terry J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Context: The sources and biological impact of 3,30,5,50 tetraiodothyroacetic acid (TA4) are uncertain. CD34+ fibrocytes express several proteins involved in the production of thyroid hormones. They infiltrate the orbit in Graves disease (GD), an autoimmune process known as thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy. It appears that the thyrotropin receptor plays an important role in the pathogenesis of thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy. Objective: To quantify levels of TA4 in healthy participants and those with GD, determine whether fibrocytes generate this thyroid hormone analogue, and determine whether TA4 influences the actions of thyroid-stimulating hormone and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins in orbital fibroblasts. Design/Setting/Participants: Patients with GD and healthy donors in an academic medical center clinical practice were recruited. Main Outcome Measures: Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, autoradiography, real-time polymerase chain reaction, hyaluronan immunoassay. Results: Serum levels of TA4 are elevated in GD. TA4 levels are positively correlated with those of thyroxine and negatively correlated with serum levels of triiodothyronine. Several cell types in culture generate TA4 from ambient thyroxine, including fibrocytes, HELA cells, human Müller stem cells, and retinal pigmented epithelial cells. Propylthiouracil inhibits TA4 generation. TA4 enhances the induction by thyrotropin and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins of several participants in the pathogenesis of thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy, including interleukin 6, hyaluronan synthase 1, prostaglandin endoperoxide H synthase 2, and haluronan production. Conclusion: TA4 may be ubiquitously generated in many tissues and enhances the biological impact of thyrotropin and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins in orbital connective tissue. These findings may identify a physiologically important determinant of extrathyroidal thyroid-stimulating hormone action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)776-785
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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