The International Journal of Romanian Society of Endocrinology / Registered in 1938

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January - March 2016, Volume 12, Issue 1

Lazarus JH, Taylor PN

Hypothyroxinaemia and Brain Development

Acta Endo (Buc) 2016, 12 (1): 1-6
doi: 10.4183/aeb.2016.1

The aim of this review is to indicate the current position on the role of thyroxine (T4) and fetal brain development with particular relevance to the human situation. Adequate maternal iodine nutrition and maternal circulating thyroxine (T4) concentrations are essential to ensure optimum T4 placental passage which in turn will ensure transport of T4 into fetal brain cells. These processes are discussed and the role of thyroid hormone transporters is considered. The emphasis on isolated maternal hypothyroxinaemia (IH) as an important factor affecting brain development is discussed from the animal experimental point of view as well as in the clinical setting. There is evidence of neurocognitive impairment as assessed by different modalities in children up to the age of 8 years and some suggestion of increased psychiatric disorder in older persons whose mothers had IH during gestation. Although international guidelines have not in general recommended thyroxine therapy for IH the recent demonstration of adverse obstetric outcomes in women with isolated maternal hypothyroxinaemia may warrant a revision of this strategy.

Keywords: isolated hypothyroxinaemia, pregnancy, neurocognitive, animal, obstetric, guidelines.

Correspondence: John H Lazarus MD, Thyroid Research Group, Cardiff School of Medicine, Cardiff, United Kingdom, E-mail: