Thyroid hormone receptors (TR) are members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. There are at least two TR isoforms, TRalpha and TRbeta, which act as mediators of thyroid hormone in tissues. However, the relative expression of each TR isoform in target tissues is still elusive. Herein, we have developed an RT-PCR and restriction enzyme digestion method to determine the expression of TRalpha1 and TRbeta1. We analyzed the expression of TR isoforms in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes induced to differentiate by an adipogenic cocktail in the presence or absence of 100 nM triiodothyronine (T(3)). The TRalpha1 isoform was predominantly expressed in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, and its expression was increased at the stage of development concomitant with the emergence of lipid droplets. Little, if any, TRbeta1 mRNA was detected in adipocytes. Administration of T(3) to the differentiating 3T3-L1 cells enhanced the accumulation of triglyceride. The expression profile of TRalpha1 in T(3)-treated adipocytes was similar to that in non-treated cells. The transcripts of adipogenic factors, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), were not altered by T(3). Lipid binding protein, aP2, that is downstream of these transcription factors was also unaffected by T(3). In contrast, the lipogenic enzyme, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase mRNA was significantly increased in the presence of T(3). Therefore, T(3) appears to be a hormone capable of modulating the expression of lipogenic enzyme and augments the accumulation of lipid droplets. We conclude that the TRalpha isoform might play an important role in the generation and maintenance of the mature adipocyte phenotype, regulating the expression of lipogenic enzymes.
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