Sobetirome and its Amide Prodrug Sob-AM2 Exert Thyromimetic Actions in Mct8-Deficient Brain

Soledad Bárez-López, Meredith D. Hartley, Carmen Grijota-Martínez, Thomas S. Scanlan, Ana Guadaño-Ferraz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Loss of function mutations in the thyroid hormone (TH)-specific cell membrane transporter, the monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8), lead to profound psychomotor retardation and abnormal TH serum levels, with low thyroxine (T4) and high triiodothyronine (T3). Several studies point to impaired TH transport across brain barriers as a crucial pathophysiological mechanism resulting in cerebral hypothyroidism. Treatment options for MCT8-deficient patients are limited and are focused on overcoming the brain barriers. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of the TH analog sobetirome and its prodrug Sob-AM2 to access the brain and exert thyromimetic actions in the absence of Mct8. Methods: Juvenile wild-type (Wt) mice and mice lacking Mct8 and deiodinase type 2 (Mct8/Dio2KO) were treated systemically with daily injections of vehicle, 1 mg of sobetirome/kg body weight/day, or 0.3 mg of Sob-AM2/kg body weight/day for seven days. Sobetirome content was measured using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and T4 and T3 levels by specific radioimmunoassays. The effect of sobetirome treatment in the expression of T3-dependent genes was measured in the heart, liver, and cerebral cortex by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results: Sob-AM2 treatment in Mct8/Dio2KO animals led to 1.8-fold more sobetirome content in the brain and 2.5-fold less in plasma in comparison to the treatment with the parent drug sobetirome. Both sobetirome and Sob-AM2 treatments in Mct8/Dio2KO mice greatly decreased plasma T4 and T3 levels. Dio1 and Ucp2 gene expression was altered in the liver of Mct8/Dio2KO mice and was not affected by the treatments. In the heart, Hcn2 but not Atp2a2 expression was increased after treatment with the analogs. Interestingly, both sobetirome and Sob-AM2 treatments increased the expression of several T3-dependent genes in the brain such as Hr, Abcd2, Mme, and Flywch2 in Mct8/Dio2KO mice. Conclusions: Sobetirome and its amide prodrug Sob-AM2 can access the brain in the absence of Mct8 and exert thyromimetic actions modulating the expression of T3-dependent genes. At the peripheral level, the administration of these TH analogs results in the depletion of circulating T4 and T3. Therefore, sobetirome and Sob-AM2 have the potential to address the cerebral hypothyroidism and the peripheral hyperthyroidism characteristic of MCT8 deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1220
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Mct8 deficiency
  • Sob-AM2
  • brain
  • sobetirome
  • thyromimetic actions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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