Thyroid hormone and the central control of homeostasis

    1. Jens Mittag
    1. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, von Eulers väg 3, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden
    1. (Correspondence should be addressed to J Mittag; Email: jens.mittag{at}


    It has long been known that thyroid hormone has profound direct effects on metabolism and cardiovascular function. More recently, it was shown that the hormone also modulates these systems by actions on the central autonomic control. Recent studies that either manipulated thyroid hormone signalling in anatomical areas of the brain or analysed seasonal models with an endogenous fluctuation in hypothalamic thyroid hormone levels revealed that the hormone controls energy turnover. However, most of these studies did not progress beyond the level of anatomical nuclei; thus, the neuronal substrates as well as the molecular mechanisms remain largely enigmatic. This review summarises the evidence for a role of thyroid hormone in the central autonomic control of peripheral homeostasis and advocates novel strategies to address thyroid hormone action in the brain on a cellular level.

    • Revision received 2 May 2012
    • Accepted 14 May 2012
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 14 May 2012
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