MCT8 - AHDS Foundation

Thyroid hormone transport in and out of cells

W. Edward Visser, Edith C.H. Friesema, Jurgen Jansen and Theo J. Visser

Thyroid hormone (TH) is essential for the proper development of numerous tissues, notably the brain. TH acts mostly intracellularly, which requires transport by TH transporters across the plasma membrane. Although several transporter families have been identified, only monocarboxylate transporter (MCT)8, MCT10 and organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP)1C1 demonstrate a high degree of specificity towards TH. Recently, the biological importance of MCT8 has been elucidated. Mutations in MCT8 are associated with elevated serum T3 levels and severe psychomotor retardation, indicating a pivotal role for MCT8 in brain development. MCT8 knockout mice lack neurological damage, but mimic TH abnormalities of MCT8 patients. The exact pathophysiological mechanisms in MCT8 patients remain to be elucidated fully. Future research will probably identify novel TH transporters and disorders based on TH transporter defects.