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New compound may act to keep thyroid activity in check

PORTLAND, Ore. Researchers have isolated a naturally occurring, thyroid hormone-derived compound that produces an inactive, torpid-like state in rodents and could someday help doctors stabilize surgical and trauma patients.

Although the compound, 3-iodothyronamine T1 amine, for short is a derivative of thyroxine, an essential thyroid hormone that influences development, body temperature, metabolic rate and cardiac performance, it has the opposite effect of thyroxine, according to a study by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Universita di Pisa, Italy.

The new findings suggest that T1 amine affects several organ systems. Consequently, if its molecular and cellular actions can be precisely described, physicians will be in a better position to treat a variety of cardiovascular and endocrine diseases, as well as mental health disorders, said David Grandy, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and pharmacology, and cell and developmental biology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

"Here we thought we knew thyroid hormone so well, only to find out there's this whole new aspect of it," said Grandy, co-author of a study published in today's online edition of the journal Nature Medicine. T1 amine's "normal function in the body may be to counteract, or keep in check, thyroid hormone's actions."

In mice, T1 amine can induce profound hypothermia, slow heart rate and drop blood pressure, suggesting that it, or related molecules, might provide a valuable new means by which physicians can stabilize patients during surgery and trauma, Grandy said. Within minutes of administering T1 amine, mice appear to go into a "hypometabolic state."

"Although they're inactive and appear to be unmotivated, they definitely are not anesthetized. It almost looks like they're playing dead and have stopped responding to their environment," Grandy said.

T1 amine has a "profound" effe
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Contact: Jonathan Modie
modiej@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
16-May-2004


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