Thyroid hormones and fetal brain development

Helen Pemberton, Jayne Franklyn, Mark Kilby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


Thyroid hormones are intricately involved in the developing fetal brain. The fetal central nervous system is sensitive to the maternal thyroid status. Critical amounts of maternal T3 and T4 must be transported across the placenta to the fetus to ensure the correct development of the brain throughout ontogeny. Severe mental retardation of the child can occur due to compromised iodine intake or thyroid disease. This has been reported in areas of the world with iodine insufficiency, New Guinea, and also in mother with thyroid complications such as hypothyroxinaemia and hyperthyroidism. The molecular control of thyroid hormones by deiodinases for the activation of thyroid hormones is critical to ensure the correct amount of active thyroid hormones are temporally supplied to the fetus. These hormones provide timing signals for the induction of programmes for differentiation and maturation at specific stages of development. Understanding these molecular mechanisms further will have profound implications in the clinical management of individuals affected by abnormal maternal of fetal thyroid status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-78
Number of pages12
JournalMinerva ginecologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005


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