Selenium deficiency and type II 5'-deiodinase regulation in the euthyroid and hypothyroid rat: evidence of a direct effect of thyroxine

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Department of Nuclear Medicine; Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism

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Animals; Body Weight; Brain; Cerebral Cortex; Glutathione Peroxidase; Hypothyroidism; Iodide Peroxidase; Isoenzymes; Male; Pituitary Gland; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Selenium; Thyroidectomy; Thyrotropin; Thyroxine; Triiodothyronine


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Selenium deficiency in rats is characterized by elevated serum T4 and decreased serum T3 concentrations, and low liver type I (5'D-I) and brain type II (5'D-II) iodothyronine 5'-deiodinase activities. These findings are partially explained by the demonstration that type I 5'D is a selenoprotein; however, 5'D-II does not contain selenium. Since 5'D-II varies inversely with serum T4 concentrations, and serum T4 is elevated in selenium deficiency, the decreased cerebrocortical 5'D-II activity may be secondary to the increased serum T4 levels. To determine the mechanism(s) by which selenium influences 5'D-II activity, we examined the effects of altered selenium intake on brain 5'D-II levels and enzyme turnover in euthyroid and thyroidectomized rats. Rats were fed a selenium-supplemented or selenium-deficient diet for 5 weeks from weaning; half of the animals were also thyroidectomized 3 weeks before death. Selenium deficiency was confirmed by decreased liver and brain glutathione peroxidase activities. In euthyroid rats, selenium deficiency caused a 38% increase in serum T4, and 91% and 39% decreases in 5'D-I and 5'D-II, respectively, compared to those in selenium-supplemented rats. In the thyroidectomized hypothyroid rats, selenium deficiency caused a 60% decrease in 5'D-I, but had no effect on 5'D-II activity, fractional turnover of the enzyme, or the calculated enzyme synthesis rate. The lack of effect of selenium deficiency on 5'D-II levels in hypothyroid rats is consistent with the finding that 5'D-II is not a seleno-enzyme. Thus, the decrease in brain and pituitary 5'D-II activity in selenium-deficient euthyroid rats is due to the T4-dependent increase in the turnover of the enzyme polypeptide.


Endocrinology. 1992 Jul;131(1):479-84.

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