The variable clinical phenotype in thyroid hormone resistance syndrome

P. Beck-Peccoz, V. K K Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thyroid hormone resistance syndrome (RTH) is a rare disorder characterized by elevated levels of circulating free thyroid hormones, inappropriate TSH secretion, and reduced peripheral tissue responses to iodothyronine action. On the basis of clinical features, at least two different forms of RTH have been described: generalized resistance (GRTH) in which patients are asymptomatic with few clinical signs and pituitary resistance (PRTH) where patients present with some signs and symptoms associated with thyrotoxicosis. However, a review of the literature and our own experience indicates that there is a wide overlap of symptoms and signs exhibited by individuals with GRTH or PRTH. Assessments using biochemical and physiological indices of thyroid hormone action are useful, but limited by their lack of precision and also show an overlap between values recorded in GRTH and PRTH. In addition, we have observed significant temporal variations in clinical signs as well as in parameters of thyroid hormone action in the same individuals, with no correlation with their subjective symptoms. Recent genetic analyses indicate that patients with either GRTH or PRTH are heterozygous for mutations in the thyroid hormone receptor β (TRβ) gene. Indeed, different clinical features have been observed in affected individuals within a kindred harboring the same Trβ mutation, and identical mutations have been identified in unrelated kindreds classified as GRTH or PRTH. These data support the view that GRTH and PRTH are variable manifestations of a single genetic entity. Nevertheless, this clinical distinction will remain useful as a guide to the most appropriate treatment. The variable phenotypic spectrum of thyroid hormone resistance may be related to factors other than mutations in Trβ that have yet to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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