Priority Programme: THYROID TRANS ACT
Translation of Thyroid Hormone Actions beyond Classical Concepts

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dagmar Führer

Molecular mechanisms of age- and gender-dependent thyroid hormone action on target tissues

This project aims to decipher the influence of age and gender on thyroid hormone (TH) action in an adult organism. It is widely accepted that TH responsiveness of target tissues is attenuated in older age, but the precise molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Some tissues such as brain and heart may show more age-modulation in TH action than others. Furthermore, clinical practice suggests that there is a narrower therapeutic range in treatment of dysfunction in elderly patients, which may be attributed to underlying yet unknown aging processes in the TH target organs.

Despite the fact that women are more prone to develop thyroid dysfunction than man, gender in general exhibits a great impact on thyroid function. There is evidence that TSH levels are associated with gender differences. Furthermore, studies suggest that there is a gender-specific response to TH with aging.

In this project we will challenge and transfer these clinical perceptions to the cellular molecular level thereby encompassing the role of classical and non-classical TH and the novel concepts of TH action in relation to gender and aging.

We will ask the following questions:

  1. Do age / gender affect the ratio between serum levels of classical TH (T4 and T3) versus non-classical TH (rT3, T2 and thyronamines) and is there an age- / gender-specific alteration in states of hypo- and hyperthyroidism (normal and diseased serum "T4-T0" status)?
  2. Do age / gender modulate "T4-T0" action across the plasma membrane?
  3. Are non-classical aspects of intracellular TH signaling altered with age / gender?
  4. Which molecular mechanisms account for age- / gender-related differences in organ specific response in situations of high or low TH availability?

Back to project list

Project Coordinator(s):

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dagmar Führer
Universitätsklinikum Essen, Klinik für Endokrinologie und Stoffwechselerkrankungen
Zentrallabor - Bereich Forschung und Lehre
Hufelandstr. 55
45147 Essen
Phone: +49 201 723 6400
Fax: +49 201 723 5972
dagmar.fuehrer@uk-essen.de