Tissue-Specific Inactivation of Type 2 Deiodinase Reveals Multilevel Control of Fatty Acid Oxidation by Thyroid Hormone in the Mouse

  1. Antonio C. Bianco1
  1. 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL
  2. 2Biophysics Institute and School of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  3. 3Department of Endocrine Neurobiology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
  1. Corresponding author: Antonio C. Bianco, abianco{at}
  1. T.L.F. and J.P.W.-D.-C. contributed equally to the manuscript.


Type 2 deiodinase (D2) converts the prohormone thyroxine (T4) to the metabolically active molecule 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3), but its global inactivation unexpectedly lowers the respiratory exchange rate (respiratory quotient [RQ]) and decreases food intake. Here we used FloxD2 mice to generate systemically euthyroid fat-specific (FAT), astrocyte-specific (ASTRO), or skeletal-muscle-specific (SKM) D2 knockout (D2KO) mice that were monitored continuously. The ASTRO-D2KO mice also exhibited lower diurnal RQ and greater contribution of fatty acid oxidation to energy expenditure, but no differences in food intake were observed. In contrast, the FAT-D2KO mouse exhibited sustained (24 h) increase in RQ values, increased food intake, tolerance to glucose, and sensitivity to insulin, all supporting greater contribution of carbohydrate oxidation to energy expenditure. Furthermore, FAT-D2KO animals that were kept on a high-fat diet for 8 weeks gained more body weight and fat, indicating impaired brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis and/or inability to oxidize the fat excess. Acclimatization of FAT-D2KO mice at thermoneutrality dissipated both features of this phenotype. Muscle D2 does not seem to play a significant metabolic role given that SKM-D2KO animals exhibited no phenotype. The present findings are unique in that they were obtained in systemically euthyroid animals, revealing that brain D2 plays a dominant albeit indirect role in fatty acid oxidation via its sympathetic control of BAT activity. D2-generated T3 in BAT accelerates fatty acid oxidation and protects against diet-induced obesity.


  • Received November 19, 2013.
  • Accepted January 26, 2014.

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This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 63 no. 5 1594-1604 This previous version was published on April 22, 2014
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