Endocrinology pp 291-306 | Cite as

Thyroid Hormones (T4, T3)

  • Gregory Brent


Thyroid hormone is produced by all vertebrate. In mammals, the thyroid gland is derived embryologically from endoderm at the base of the tongue and develops into a bilobed structure lying anterior to the trachea. The structure and arrangement of thyroid tissue, however, vary significantly among species. The thyroid gland receives a rich blood supply, as well as sympathetic innervation, and is specialized to synthesize and secrete thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) into the circulation (Fig. 1). This process is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secreted from the pituitary, which is in turn stimulated by thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) from the hypothalamus. Both TSH and TRH are regulated in a negative-feedback loop by circulating T4 and T3. Iodine and the trace element selenium are essential for normal thyroid hormone metabolism. Regulatory mechanisms within the thyroid gland allow for continuous production of thyroid hormone despite variation in the supply of dietary iodine. Thyroid hormone regulates a wide range of processes, including amphibian metamorphosis, development, reproduction, growth, and metabolism. The specific processes that are regulated differ among species, tissues, and developmental phase.


Thyroid Hormone Iodine Deficiency Thyroid Hormone Receptor Thyroid Hormone Level Thyroid Peroxidase 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory Brent

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