The type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (D2) is essential for feedback regulation of TSH by T4. We genetically inactivated in vivo D2 in thyrotrophs using a mouse model of Cga-driven cre recombinase. Pituitary D2 activity was reduced90%in the Cga-cre D2 knockout (KO) mice compared with control Dio2fl/fl mice. There was no growth or reproductive phenotype. Basal TSH levels were increased 1.5- to 1.8-fold, but serum T4 and T3 were not different from the controls in adult mice. In hypothyroid adult mice, suppression of TSH by T4, but not T3, was impaired. Despite mild basal TSH elevation, the TSH increase in response to hypothyroidism was 4-fold reduced in the Cga-cre D2KO compared with control mice despite an identical level of pituitary TSH α- and α-subunit mRNAs. In neonatal Cga-cre D2KO mice, TSH was also 2-fold higher than in the controls, but serum T4 was elevated. Despite a constant TSH, serum T4 increased 2-3-fold between postnatal day (P) 5 and P15 in both genotypes. The pituitary, but not cerebrocortical, D2 activity was markedly elevated in P5 mice decreasing towards adult levels by P17. In conclusion, a congenital severe reduction of thyrotroph D2 causes a major impairment of the TSH response to hypothyroidism. This would be deleterious to the compensatory adaptation of the thyroid gland to iodine deficiency.
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