Polyamines such as putrescine, spermidine and spermine have been thought to play an important role in thyroid growth induced by goitrogens. Reduced biosynthesis of these polyamines might play a role in the antigoitrogenic effects of excess iodide. This study was designed to examine the effect of potassium iodide (KI) on ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), a rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of polyamines. Thyroidal ODC activity, protein content and mRNA were increased in rats made hypothyroid by 10 days of propylthiouracil treatment. The increase in ODC activity was suppressed after subcutaneous injection of KI (13 mg/kg body weight); the apparent half-life of ODC activity after the treatment was estimated to be 19 min and the maximum suppression (90%) was seen 60 min after the treatment. On the other hand, administration of iodine-containing compounds including l-thyroxine, l-di-iodotyrosine, amiodarone, iopanoic acid and erythrosine showed no significant effect on ODC activity. The inhibitory effect of excess iodide was not reversed by pretreatment with dibutyryl cAMP and theophylline. The amount of immunoreactive ODC protein was reduced by iodide treatment (40%). However, the decrease was not as great as the decrease in ODC activity (90%). No significant change in thyroidal ODC mRNA content was seen 1 and 3 h following KI treatment. These results suggest that excess iodide reduces ODC activity in the rat thyroid gland by a post-transcriptional mechanism.
Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 369–376