Klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Thyroid hormone action on intermediary metabolism

Part I: Respiration, thermogenesis and carbohydrate metabolism
  • M. J. Müller
  • H. J. Seitz


The effect of thyroid hormones on mitochondrial respiration are summarized: T3 directly stimulates mitochondrial respiration and the synthesis of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP). Cytosolic ATP availability is increased by a thyroid hormone-induced increase in adenine nucleotide translocation across the mitochondrial membrane; the steady state ATP concentration and the cytosolic ATP/adenosine 5′-diphosphate (ADP) ratio is even decreased in hyperthyroid tissues because of the simultaneous stimulation of the synthesis and consumption of ATP. With regard to the thyroid hormone-induced energy wasting processes, heart work, intra- and interorgan futile cycling and Na+/K+-ATPase are involved to varying degrees. As a consequence of the thyroid hormone-induced hydrolysis of ATP, thermogenesis is increased in hyper- and decreased in hypothyroidism. Despite an increased rate of glucose utilization, clinical and experimental hyperthyroidism is often characterized by an abnormal oral glucose tolerance test. This finding is due to the thyroid hormone-induced increase in intestinal glucose absorption as well as the still enhanced endogenous glucose production in the liver. Hypothyroid patients show a reduced glucose tolerance test because of a decrease in intestinal glucose absorption and a sometimes reduced glucose turnover. The thyroid hormone-induced alterations in glucose metabolism are most probably not due to alterations in serum insulin levels and/or to a peripheral insulin resistance at the receptor level.

Key words

Thyroid hormones Intermediary metabolism Respiration Thermogenesis Carbohydrate metabolism 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Müller
    • 1
  • H. J. Seitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologische ChemieUniversitäts-Krankenhaus EppendorfGermany

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