Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 2952–2963 | Cite as

Hypothyroidism and Cognitive Disorders during Development and Adulthood: Implications in the Central Nervous System

  • Paulina Salazar
  • Pedro Cisternas
  • Milka Martinez
  • Nibaldo C. InestrosaEmail author


Thyroid hormones (THs) play a critical function in fundamental signaling of the body regulating process such as metabolism of glucose and lipids, cell maturation and proliferation, and neurogenesis, to name just a few. THs trigger biological effects both by directly affecting gene expression through the interaction with nuclear receptors (genomic effects) and by activating protein kinases and/or ion channels (short-term effects). For years, a close relationship between the THs hormones and the central nervous system (CNS) has been described, not only for neuronal cells but also for glial development and differentiation. A deficit in thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) is observed in the hypothyroid condition, generated by a iodine deficiency or an autoimmune response of the body. In the hypothyroid condition, several cellular deregulation and alterations have been described in dendrite spine morphology, cell migration and proliferation, and impaired synaptic transmission in the hippocampus, among others. The aim of this review is to describe the role of the thyroid hormones with focus in brain function and neurodegenerative disorders.


Thyroid hormones Brain function Neurodegenerative disease 



This work was supported by grants from the Basal Center of Excellence in Aging and Regeneration (CONICYT-AFB 170005) to N.C.I., FONDECYT (no. 1160724) to N.C.I., and FONDECYT (no. 11160651) to P.C. We also thank our special grant “Lithium in Health and Disease” from the Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE UC), Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Centro de Excelencia en Biomedicina de Magallanes (CEBIMA)Universidad de MagallanesPunta ArenasChile
  4. 4.CARE UC Biomedical Research Center, Faculty of Biological SciencesPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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