Effects of thyroid hormone on development of the brain have been documented for over a century. Although in many respects the hypothyroid brain appears morphalogically normal, functional impairments include mental retardation, ataxia and spasticity. Keyed by the discovery of nuclear receptors for thyroid hormone that function as transcription factors, recent work has examined the mechanism of thyroid hormone action in brain development. The prediction that gene expression regulated by thyroid hormone is important for mediating brain development has spurred the search for thyroid hormone-responsive genes. Here we review some of the identified genes whose expression patterns correlate with the functional deficits observed in the hypothyroid brain. Recently identified thyroid hormone-responsive genes include synaptotagmin-related gene 1 (Srg1), a putative mediator of synaptic structure and/or activity, and hairless, a transcriptional cofactor that may influence the expression of other thyroid hormone-responsive genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience