Thyroid hormone and central nervous system development

This study demonstrates that subclinical hypothyroidism in women can result in neuropsychological deficits in their offspring, and thyroxine supplementation can improve the outcome even when supplementation is inadequate

S Chan; MD Kilby

2004

Scholarcy highlights

  • It is well established that the thyroid status of neonates and children has a significant long-term impact on their behaviour, locomotor ability, speech, hearing and cognition
  • This study demonstrates that subclinical hypothyroidism in women can result in neuropsychological deficits in their offspring, and thyroxine supplementation can improve the outcome even when supplementation is inadequate
  • Thyroid hormone concentrations in fetal brains. Both T3 and T4 can be detected in the first trimester brain before the fetal thyroid gland becomes active, possibly indicating that thyroid hormones transferred from the mother play an important role
  • There is strong evidence pointing towards a crucial role for thyroid hormones in fetal brain development
  • There needs to be caution when extrapolating these findings to humans
  • We know that some degree of compensation occurs if one or other is lacking, but differences in the neuropsychological development are still demonstrable in either case compared with euthyroid controls
  • More research is required to resolve these questions and show if thyroid hormone or iodide supplementation in hypothyroid mothers in the antenatal period and in premature neonates can reduce the prevalence of neurodevelopmental delay

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