Mutations of the human thyrotrophin receptor (TSH-R) are a cause of thyroid adenomas and hyperthyroidism. Here we study mechanisms of receptor activation in a genomic TSH-R variant V509A located in transmembrane helix (TMH) 3, which we identify in a family with congenital hyperthyroidism, multiple adenomas and follicular thyroid cancer. Using molecular modelling and dynamic simulation, we predicted the release of amino acid residue A593 (located opposite in domain TMH5) from a tight ‘knob-and-hole’ interaction with TMH3, physiologically constrained in the native receptor state by the bulky side chain of V509. To experimentally validate this concept, we generated mutant TSH-R expression constructs for functional in vitro studies. TSH-R mutant V509A showed a 2.8-fold increase in basal cAMP production, confirming constitutive TSH-R activation. The addition of a second site suppressor mutant A593V to TSH-R V509A resulted in the normalization of basal cAMP release, and the dose-responsiveness to TSH ligand was maintained. These data thus demonstrate that TSH-R V509A activation is caused by the release of TMH3–TMH5 interhelical constraints, while the native TSH-R conformation is re-stabilized by the introduction of a spacious valine residue at position 593. In conclusion, we delineate a novel mechanism of constitutive TSH-R activation, leading to thyroid hyperfunction and neoplasia.
Beate Karges, Gerd Krause, Janos Homoki, Klaus-Michael Debatin, Nicolas de Roux and Wolfram Karges
G. E. BEAUMONT, E. C. DODDS and J. D. ROBERTSON
The object of the experiments described was to determine whether the decalcification occurring in the human skeleton in thyrotoxicosis can be attributed to thyroxine or to some other factor.
A probable relationship between the thyroid gland and calcium and phosphorus metabolism has been suggested by many workers who have based their evidence on clinical grounds, the radiological study of bones, biochemical analyses on blood-serum, calcium and phosphorus balance experiments, and finally the post-mortem appearance of the skeleton.
Evidence of Decalcification in Thyrotoxicosis
Von Jaksch & Rotky [1908–9] reported softening and bending of the bones in a girl of 20 suffering from hyperthyroidism, and Bernhardt  observed a similar case. These authors suggested that the osteomalacia resulted from a decalcification of the skeleton, and this was attributed to thyrotoxicosis.
X-ray appearance of bones
Kummer  appears to be among the first observers to draw attention to the occurrence of
Shuang-Xia Zhao, Shanli Tsui, Anthony Cheung, Raymond S Douglas, Terry J Smith and J Paul Banga
The TSH receptor (TSHR) is the critical target for antibody production in Graves' disease (GD). Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) has been proposed as a second autoantigen in complications of GD such as orbitopathy. We attempted to induce orbital tissue remodeling in mice undergoing immunizations with plasmids encoding TSHR and IGF1R delivered by in vivo skeletal muscle electroporation, a procedure known to give a sustained, long-term antibody response. Female BALB/c mice were challenged with TSHR A-subunit or IGF1Rα subunit plasmid by injection and electroporation. Mice challenged with TSHR A-subunit plasmid resulted in high frequency (75%) of hyperthyroidism and thyroid-stimulating antibodies. But strikingly, immunization with TSHR A-subunit plasmid also elicited antibody to IGF1Rα subunit. Mice challenged in the same manner with IGF1Rα subunit plasmid produced strong antibody responses to IGF1R, but did not undergo any changes in phenotype. Simultaneous challenge by double antigen immunization with the two plasmids in distant anatomical sites reduced the incidence of hyperthyroidism, potentially as a consequence of antigenic competition. Thyroid glands from the TSHR A-subunit plasmid-challenged group were enlarged with patchy microscopic infiltrates. Histological analysis of the orbital tissues demonstrated moderate connective tissue fibrosis and deposition of Masson's trichrome staining material. Our findings imply that immunization with TSHR A-subunit plasmid leads to generation of IGF1R antibodies, which together with thyroid-stimulating antibodies may precipitate remodeling of orbital tissue, raising our understanding of its close association with GD.
T Mokuno, K Uchimura, R Hayashi, N Hayakawa, M Makino, M Nagata, H Kakizawa, Y Sawai, M Kotake, N Oda, A Nakai, A Nagasaka and M Itoh
The deterioration of glucose metabolism frequently observed in hyperthyroidism may be due in part to increased gluconeogenesis in the liver and glucose efflux through hepatocyte plasma membranes. Glucose transporter 2 (GLUT 2), a facilitative glucose transporter localized to the liver and pancreas, may play a role in this distorted glucose metabolism. We examined changes in the levels of GLUT 2 in livers from rats with l-thyroxine-induced hyperthyroidism or methimazole-induced hypothyroidism by using Western blotting to detect GLUT 2. An oral glucose tolerance test revealed an oxyhyperglycemic curve (impaired glucose tolerance) in hyperthyroid rats (n=7) and a flattened curve in hypothyroid rats (n=7). GLUT 2 levels in hepatocyte plasma membranes were significantly increased in hyperthyroid rats and were not decreased in hypothyroid rats compared with euthyroid rats. The same results were obtained with a densitometric assay. These findings suggest that changes in the liver GLUT 2 concentration may contribute to abnormal glucose metabolism in thyroid disorders.
Takao Ando, Rauf Latif and Terry F Davies
The post-translational processing of the TSH receptor (TSHR) includes intra-molecular cleavage with the loss of a 50 amino acid ectodomain region and the formation of two subunits (α and β), followed by likely α subunit shedding. TSHR antibodies (TSHR-Abs), which are directed at the ectodomain, may influence thyroid function by stimulating or inhibiting TSHR signaling or may bind without any such influence (the neutral group of antibodies). When we examined the characteristics of a series of monoclonal TSHR-Abs, we found that many were able to inhibit receptor cleavage and enhance TSHR expression. This was especially apparent with the neutral type of TSHR-Abs directed to the cleaved region of the ectodomain (aa 316–366). Indeed, such inhibition appeared to be epitope dependent with TSHR-Abs directed to regions after residues 335–354 showing no such activity. We propose that this aberrant process, whereby TSHR-Abs influence antigen processing, is a novel mechanism for the maintenance and exacerbation of autoimmune thyroid disease.
M Theodoropoulou, T Arzberger, Y Gruebler, Z Korali, P Mortini, W Joba, AE Heufelder, GK Stalla and L Schaaf
Thyrotrophin (TSH) synthesis and secretion is under the positive control of thyrotrophin releasing hormone and under the negative control of the thyroid hormones. However, it is hypothesised that TSH has a direct effect on the regulation of its own synthesis through an intrapituitary loop mediated by pituitary TSH receptors (TSH-R). The aim of this investigation was to study the expression of TSH-R in normal human pituitary at mRNA and protein levels, and to compare the pattern of protein expression between different pituitary adenomas. Using RT-PCR we were able to detect TSH-R mRNA in the normal pituitary, and immunohistochemical studies showed TSH-R protein expression in distinct areas of the anterior pituitary. Double immunostaining with antibodies against each of the intrapituitary hormones and S100 revealed that TSH-R protein is present in thyrotrophs and folliculostellate cells. Examination of 58 pituitary adenomas, including two clinically active and two clinically inactive thyrotroph adenomas, revealed TSH-R immunopositivity in only the two clinically inactive thyrotroph adenomas. This study shows, for the first time, the presence of TSH-R protein in the normal anterior pituitary and in a subset of thyrotroph adenomas. The expression of TSH-R in the thyrotroph and folliculostellate cell subpopulations provides preliminary evidence of a role for TSH in autocrine and paracrine regulatory pathways within the anterior pituitary gland.
S. Iossa, G. Liverini and A. Barletta
We have examined the relationship between the changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR) and those in hepatic metabolism induced by hyperthyroidism and fasting for 24 h. We found that hyperthyroidism induced a significant increase in RMR, while fasting for 24 h reduced RMR in euthyroid but not in hyperthyroid rats. We have also measured oxygen consumption in isolated hepatocytes from euthyroid and hyperthyroid rats, fed or fasted for 24 h. Hyperthyroidism induced an increase in oxygen consumption in rat liver cells; fasting for 24 h increased respiratory rates in isolated liver cells from euthyroid but not from hyperthyroid rats.
The findings showed that hyperthyroidism and fasting for 24 h have opposite effects on RMR but similar effects on hepatic metabolism. The results also indicated that the increase in RMR found in hyperthyroid rats is partly due to an increase in hepatic metabolism, while no correlation exists between variations in resting and hepatic metabolism induced by 24-h fasting.
Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 135, 45–51
S G Watson, A D Radford, A Kipar, P Ibarrola and L Blackwood
Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrinopathy in cats, and is both clinically and histopathologically very similar to human toxic nodular goitre (TNG). Molecular studies on human TNG have revealed the presence of mis-sense mutations in the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) gene, most frequently in exon 10. Our hypothesis was that similar mutations exist in hyperthyroid cats. Genomic DNA was extracted from 134 hyperplastic/ adenomatous nodules (from 50 hyperthyroid cats), and analysed for the presence of mutations in exon 10 of the TSHR gene. 11 different mutations were detected, one silent and 10 mis-sense, of which nine were somatic mutations. 28 of the 50 cats (67/134 nodules) had at least one mis-sense mutation. The mis-sense mutations were Met-452→Thr in 17 cats (35 nodules), Ser-504→Arg (two different mutational forms) in two cats (two nodules), Val-508→Arg in one cat (three nodules), Arg-530→Gln in one cat (two nodules), Val-557→Leu in 13 cats (36 nodules), Thr-631→Ala or Thr-631→Phe (each mutation seen in one nodule of one cat), Asp-632→Tyr in six cats (10 nodules) and Asp-632→His in one cat (one nodule). Five of these mutations have been associated previously with human hyperthyroidism. Of the 41 cats for which more than one nodule was available, 14 had nodules with different mutations. The identification of a potential genetic basis for feline hyperthyroidism is novel, increases our understanding of the pathogenesis of this significant feline disease, and confirms its similarity to TNG.
ST Chen, JD Lin and KH Lin
The expression of TSH receptor (TSHR) gene is frequently lost in thyroid cancers during the process of dedifferentiation that involves perturbation of several nuclear transcription factors. We have established that thyroid hormone receptor beta1 (TRbeta1) is associated with the loss of TSHR gene expression in an anaplastic human thyroid cancer cell line, ARO. To demonstrate that TRbeta1 regulates TSHR gene expression, we performed electrophoresis mobility shift and 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3) transactivation assays. As expected, TRbeta1 bound the synthesized oligomer containing TSHR promoter sequence by heterodimerizing with retinoid X receptor. When a chimeric reporter pTRCAT5'-146 enclosing the minimal TSHR promoter was applied for T3 transactivation assay, two TRbeta1-overexpressing transfectants of ARO cells (ARO1 and ARO2) demonstrated higher basal activity than their parental cells. Consequentially, T3 suppressed the reporter gene activity only in ARO1 and ARO2, but not in ARO cells. A point mutation creating a cAMP response element (CRE) in the reporter pTRCAT5'-146 CRE led to T3-induced suppression of the reporter gene in ARO cells without changing the basal or T3-induced activities in ARO1 and ARO2 cells. We conclude that the regulatory effect of T3 on TSHR gene expression is TR- and promoter DNA sequence-determined.
C Voigt, HP Holzapfel, S Meyer and R Paschke
G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) are implicated in the pathophysiology of human diseases such as arterial hypertension, heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. While G-protein-coupled receptor kinases 2 and 5 have been shown to be involved in the desensitization of the rat thyrotropin receptor (TSHR), their role in the pathophysiology of hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules (HTNs) is unknown. Therefore, we analyzed the expression pattern of the known GRKs in human thyroid tissue and investigated their function in the pathology of HTNs. The expression of different GRKs in human thyroid and HTNs was measured by Western blotting. The influence of GRK expression on TSHR function was analyzed by coexpression experiments in HEK 293 cells. We demonstrate that in addition to GRKs 2, 5 and 6, GRKs 3 and 4 are also expressed in the human thyroid. GRKs 2, 3, 5 and 6 are able to desensitize the TSHR in vitro. This GRK-induced desensitization is amplified by the additional over-expression of beta-arrestin 1 or 2. We did not find any mutations in the GRKs 2, 3 and 5 from 14 HTNs without TSHR mutations and Gsalpha mutations. The expression of GRKs 3 and 4 was increased in HTNs independently from the existence of TSHR mutations or Gsalpha mutations. In conclusion, the increased expression of GRK 3 in HTNs and the ability of GRK 3 to desensitize the TSHR in vitro, suggest a potential role for GRK 3 as a negative feedback regulator for the constitutively activated cAMP pathway in HTNs.