Recombinant human thyrotropin is a potent stimulator of thyroid function in normal subjects

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Osmolar Concentration; Recombinant Proteins; Reference Values; Thyroglobulin; Thyroid Gland; Thyrotropin; Thyroxine; Triiodothyronine


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) is known to stimulate 131I uptake and thyroglobulin (Tg) release from the postoperative remnant and metastases in thyroid cancer patients, but its effects on serum thyroid hormone and Tg concentrations in normal subjects have not been reported. Before using rhTSH in the management of thyroid disorders other than cancer, the thyroid response to rhTSH in normal subjects must be assessed. Six subjects, two men and four women, without evidence of thyroid disease, including normal serum free T4 index and TSH concentrations and negative tests for antithyroid peroxidase and Tg, were studied. Each received 0.1 mg rhTSH, im, 11% of the lowest dose that has been administered to thyroid cancer patients. Blood was obtained before; 2, 4, and 8 h after; and 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and about 3 weeks after rhTSH administration. Serum TSH significantly increased at 2 h (mean +/- SE, 2.4 +/- 0.9 to 40.7 +/- 7.4 mU/mL), peaked at 4 h (50.9 +/- 9.3), remained significantly elevated for 1 day, and was significantly below baseline (0.8 +/- 0.5) 7 days after rhTSH administration. Serum T3 increased significantly at 4 h (115 +/- 4 to 190 +/- 14 ng/dL), peaked at 24 h (217 +/- 23 ng/dL), and remained significantly elevated for 3 days (151 +/- 12 ng/dL). Serum T4 increased significantly at 8 h (7.3 +/- 0.2 to 9.8 +/- 0.4 micrograms/dL), peaked at 24 h (11.2 +/- 0.5 micrograms/dL), and remained significantly elevated for 4 days (9.4 +/- 0.5 micrograms/dL). Serum Tg did not change for the first 8 h, increased significantly at 1 day (15.9 +/- 3.9 to 34.7 +/- 6.0 ng/mL), peaked at 2 days (44.2 +/- 7.0 ng/mL), and remained significantly elevated for 4 days (37.7 +/- 13.7 ng/mL). All values returned to baseline at 3 weeks. TSH antibodies were not detected at 3 weeks. A single dose of 0.1 mg rhTSH is a potent stimulator of thyroid function in normal subjects. rhTSH may be a useful agent to test thyroid reserve and for use in clinical settings that require direct thyroid stimulation.

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Sep;82(9):2836-9.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

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