The effect of recombinant human TSH on the thyroid 123I uptake in iodide treated normal subjects

J. E. Lawrence, C. H. Emerson, S. L. Sullaway, L. E. Braverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Radioactive iodine therapy is often successful in the treatment of toxic or non-toxic multinodular goiter. However, when the patient has been exposed to iodine in the form of medication or radiocontrast agents prior to therapy, the thyroid radioactive iodine is often too low for successful ablation. Recently, administration of 0.9 mg of recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) has been shown to nearly double the 24-hour thyroid radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) in euthyroid men living in the United States. In addition, 0.01 to 0.03 mg rhTSH administered 24 hours prior to 131I in patients with a history of non-toxic multinodular goiter residing in an area of modestly low iodine intake, has also been shown to increase the 24-hour thyroid radioactive iodine uptake. We now have determined whether rhTSH administration prior to 123I would increase the low thyroid RAIU in subjects treated with sodium iodide. Nine euthyroid men were given 15 mg iodide daily for 7 days. There was a marked increase in serum TSH values 8 and 24 hours after rhTSH administration, which induced elevated serum T4 and T3 concentrations. A 16 hour thyroid RAIU was measured at baseline, after 5 days of iodide administration, and either 8 or 32 hours after intramuscular administration of rhTSH. Administration of rhTSH 8 hours before 123I to 4 subjects increased the 16 hour thyroid RAIU by 62% above the low post iodide thyroid RAIU. Administration of rhTSH 32 hours before 123I administration to 5 subjects increased the 16 hour thyroid RAIU by 97% above the low iodide induced RAIU. Thus, the overall increase in the thyroid RAIU was 88% in the 9 subjects. Conclusion: Recombinant TSH moderately increased the thyroid RAIU in subjects with depressed thyroid RAIU's during iodide administration and thus may be useful in preparing patients with non-toxic or toxic goiters and low thyroid RAIU's due to excess iodine for radioactive iodine treatment. Further studies to determine the optimal protocol to enhance the effect of rhTSH will be carried out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-440
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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