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1.  Adipose tissues and thyroid hormones 
The maintenance of energy balance is regulated by complex homeostatic mechanisms, including those emanating from adipose tissue. The main function of the adipose tissue is to store the excess of metabolic energy in the form of fat. The energy stored as fat can be mobilized during periods of energy deprivation (hunger, fasting, diseases). The adipose tissue has also a homeostatic role regulating energy balance and functioning as endocrine organ that secretes substances that control body homeostasis. Two adipose tissues have been identified: white and brown adipose tissues (WAT and BAT) with different phenotype, function and regulation. WAT stores energy, while BAT dissipates energy as heat. Brown and white adipocytes have different ontogenetic origin and lineage and specific markers of WAT and BAT have been identified. “Brite” or beige adipose tissue has been identified in WAT with some properties of BAT. Thyroid hormones exert pleiotropic actions, regulating the differentiation process in many tissues including the adipose tissue. Adipogenesis gives raise to mature adipocytes and is regulated by several transcription factors (c/EBPs, PPARs) that coordinately activate specific genes, resulting in the adipocyte phenotype. T3 regulates several genes involved in lipid mobilization and storage and in thermogenesis. Both WAT and BAT are targets of thyroid hormones, which regulate genes crucial for their proper function: lipogenesis, lipolysis, thermogenesis, mitochondrial function, transcription factors, the availability of nutrients. T3 acts directly through specific TREs in the gene promoters, regulating transcription factors. The deiodinases D3, D2, and D1 regulate the availability of T3. D3 is activated during proliferation, while D2 is linked to the adipocyte differentiation program, providing T3 needed for lipogenesis and thermogenesis. We examine the differences between BAT, WAT and brite/beige adipocytes and the process that lead to activation of UCP1 in WAT and the presence of BAT in humans and its relevance.
PMCID: PMC4263094  PMID: 25566082
BAT; thermogenesis; adipogenesis; lipogenesis; lipolysis; deiodinases; brite adipocytes; “browning”
2.  American Thyroid Association Guide to Investigating Thyroid Hormone Economy and Action in Rodent and Cell Models 
Thyroid  2014;24(1):88-168.
Background: An in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles that regulate thyroid hormone homeostasis is critical for the development of new diagnostic and treatment approaches for patients with thyroid disease.
Summary: Important clinical practices in use today for the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or thyroid cancer are the result of laboratory discoveries made by scientists investigating the most basic aspects of thyroid structure and molecular biology. In this document, a panel of experts commissioned by the American Thyroid Association makes a series of recommendations related to the study of thyroid hormone economy and action. These recommendations are intended to promote standardization of study design, which should in turn increase the comparability and reproducibility of experimental findings.
Conclusions: It is expected that adherence to these recommendations by investigators in the field will facilitate progress towards a better understanding of the thyroid gland and thyroid hormone dependent processes.
PMCID: PMC3887458  PMID: 24001133
3.  Gestational and early postnatal hypothyroidism alters VGluT1 and VGAT bouton distribution in the neocortex and hippocampus, and behavior in rats 
Thyroid hormones are fundamental for the expression of genes involved in the development of the CNS and their deficiency is associated with a wide spectrum of neurological diseases including mental retardation, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders. We examined in rat whether developmental and early postnatal hypothyroidism affects the distribution of vesicular glutamate transporter-1 (VGluT1; glutamatergic) and vesicular inhibitory amino acid transporter (VGAT; GABAergic) immunoreactive (ir) boutons in the hippocampus and somatosensory cortex, and the behavior of the pups. Hypothyroidism was induced by adding 0.02% methimazole (MMI) and 1% KClO4 to the drinking water starting at embryonic day 10 (E10; developmental hypothyroidism) and E21 (early postnatal hypothyroidism) until day of sacrifice at postnatal day 50. Behavior was studied using the acoustic prepulse inhibition (somatosensory attention) and the elevated plus-maze (anxiety-like assessment) tests. The distribution, density and size of VGluT1-ir and VGAT-ir boutons in the hippocampus and somatosensory cortex was abnormal in MMI pups and these changes correlate with behavioral changes, as prepulse inhibition of the startle response amplitude was reduced, and the percentage of time spent in open arms increased. In conclusion, both developmental and early postnatal hypothyroidism significantly decreases the ratio of GABAergic to glutamatergic boutons in dentate gyrus leading to an abnormal flow of information to the hippocampus and infragranular layers of the somatosensory cortex, and alter behavior in rats. Our data show cytoarchitectonic alterations in the basic excitatory hippocampal loop, and in local inhibitory circuits of the somatosensory cortex and hippocampus that might contribute to the delayed neurocognitive outcome observed in thyroid hormone deficient children born in iodine deficient areas, or suffering from congenital hypothyroidism.
PMCID: PMC4330898  PMID: 25741243
cerebral cortex; iodine deficiency; attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder; autism; schizophrenia; prepulse inhibition; anxiety-like; seizures
4.  Abnormal Motor Phenotype at Adult Stages in Mice Lacking Type 2 Deiodinase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103857.
Thyroid hormones have a key role in both the developing and adult central nervous system and skeletal muscle. The thyroid gland produces mainly thyroxine (T4) but the intracellular concentrations of 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3; the transcriptionally active hormone) in the central nervous system and skeletal muscle are modulated by the activity of type 2 deiodinase (D2). To date no neurological syndrome has been associated with mutations in the DIO2 gene and previous studies in young and juvenile D2-knockout mice (D2KO) did not find gross neurological alterations, possibly due to compensatory mechanisms.
This study aims to analyze the motor phenotype of 3-and-6-month-old D2KO mice to evaluate the role of D2 on the motor system at adult stages in which compensatory mechanisms could have failed.
Motor abilities were explored by validated tests. In the footprint test, D2KO showed an altered global gait pattern (mice walked slower, with shorter strides and with a hindlimb wider base of support than wild-type mice). No differences were detected in the balance beam test. However, a reduced latency to fall was found in the rotarod, coat-hanger and four limb hanging wire tests indicating impairment on coordination and prehensile reflex and a reduction of muscle strength. In histological analyses of cerebellum and skeletal muscle, D2KO mice did not present gross structural abnormalities. Thyroid hormones levels and deiodinases activities were also determined. In D2KO mice, despite euthyroid T3 and high T4 plasma levels, T3 levels were significantly reduced in cerebral cortex (48% reduction) and skeletal muscle (33% reduction), but not in the cerebellum where other deiodinase (type 1) is expressed.
The motor alterations observed in D2KO mice indicate an important role for D2 in T3 availability to maintain motor function and muscle strength. Our results suggest a possible implication of D2 in motor disorders.
PMCID: PMC4118963  PMID: 25083788
5.  Cerebral Cortex Hyperthyroidism of Newborn Mct8-Deficient Mice Transiently Suppressed by Lat2 Inactivation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96915.
Thyroid hormone entry into cells is facilitated by transmembrane transporters. Mutations of the specific thyroid hormone transporter, MCT8 (Monocarboxylate Transporter 8, SLC16A2) cause an X-linked syndrome of profound neurological impairment and altered thyroid function known as the Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome. MCT8 deficiency presumably results in failure of thyroid hormone to reach the neural target cells in adequate amounts to sustain normal brain development. However during the perinatal period the absence of Mct8 in mice induces a state of cerebral cortex hyperthyroidism, indicating increased brain access and/or retention of thyroid hormone. The contribution of other transporters to thyroid hormone metabolism and action, especially in the context of MCT8 deficiency is not clear. We have analyzed the role of the heterodimeric aminoacid transporter Lat2 (Slc7a8), in the presence or absence of Mct8, on thyroid hormone concentrations and on expression of thyroid hormone-dependent cerebral cortex genes. To this end we generated Lat2-/-, and Mct8-/yLat2-/- mice, to compare with wild type and Mct8-/y mice during postnatal development. As described previously the single Mct8 KO neonates had a transient increase of 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine concentration and expression of thyroid hormone target genes in the cerebral cortex. Strikingly the absence of Lat2 in the double Mct8Lat2 KO prevented the effect of Mct8 inactivation in newborns. The Lat2 effect was not observed from postnatal day 5 onwards. On postnatal day 21 the Mct8 KO displayed the typical pattern of thyroid hormone concentrations in plasma, decreased cortex 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine concentration and Hr expression, and concomitant Lat2 inactivation produced little to no modifications. As Lat2 is expressed in neurons and in the choroid plexus, the results support a role for Lat2 in the supply of thyroid hormone to the cerebral cortex during early postnatal development.
PMCID: PMC4018440  PMID: 24819605
6.  Obesity-associated insulin resistance is correlated to adipose tissue vascular endothelial growth factors and metalloproteinase levels 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:4.
The expansion of adipose tissue is linked to the development of its vasculature, which appears to have the potential to regulate the onset of obesity. However, at present, there are no studies highlighting the relationship between human adipose tissue angiogenesis and obesity-associated insulin resistance (IR).
Our aim was to analyze and compare angiogenic factor expression levels in both subcutaneous (SC) and omentum (OM) adipose tissues from morbidly obese patients (n = 26) with low (OB/L-IR) (healthy obese) and high (OB/H-IR) degrees of IR, and lean controls (n = 17). Another objective was to examine angiogenic factor correlations with obesity and IR.
Here we found that VEGF-A was the isoform with higher expression in both OM and SC adipose tissues, and was up-regulated 3-fold, together with MMP9 in OB/L-IR as compared to leans. This up-regulation decreased by 23% in OB/-H-IR compared to OB/L-IR. On the contrary, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGF-D, together with MMP15 was down-regulated in both OB/H-IR and OB/L-IR compared to lean patients. Moreover, MMP9 correlated positively and VEGF-C, VEGF-D and MMP15 correlated negatively with HOMA-IR, in both SC and OM.
We hereby propose that the alteration in MMP15, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGF-D gene expression may be caused by one of the relevant adipose tissue processes related to the development of IR, and the up-regulation of VEGF-A in adipose tissue could have a relationship with the prevention of this pathology.
PMCID: PMC3382430  PMID: 22471305
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Metalloproteinase; Obesity; Insulin Resistance; Omentum Adipose Tissue; Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue
7.  Generation and Characterization of dickkopf3 Mutant Mice 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(6):2317-2326.
dickkopf (dkk) genes encode a small family of secreted Wnt antagonists, except for dkk3, which is divergent and whose function is poorly understood. Here, we describe the generation and characterization of dkk3 mutant mice. dkk3-deficient mice are viable and fertile. Phenotypic analysis shows no major alterations in organ morphology, physiology, and most clinical chemistry parameters. Since Dkk3 was proposed to function as thyroid hormone binding protein, we have analyzed deiodinase activities, as well as thyroid hormone levels. Mutant mice are euthyroid, and the data do not support a relationship of dkk3 with thyroid hormone metabolism. Altered phenotypes in dkk3 mutant mice were observed in the frequency of NK cells, immunoglobulin M, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels, as well as lung ventilation. Furthermore, dkk3-deficient mice display hyperactivity.
PMCID: PMC1430294  PMID: 16508007

Results 1-7 (7)