Iodine-Induced Thyroid Disease

  • Elio Roti
  • Lewis E. Braverman
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE, volume 2)


Iodine is an essential requirement for thyroid hormone synthesis. The recommended daily iodine intake is variable, depending on the age of the subjects: 40 mg/d during the neonatal period and 150 mg/d in the adult. The iodine requirement increases to approx 200 mg/d during pregnancy. Severe iodine deficiency leading to various degrees of cretinism is the major cause of mental and physical retardation in many developing countries and its eradication is currently being activity addressed by International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, UNICEF, and WHO. Mild to moderate iodine deficiency, ranging from 40 to 80 mg iodine daily, also is prevalent including most of continental Western Europe. In the United States, the average iodine intake is approx 200 µg/d and may reach as much as 500 µg. The thyroid gland has intrinsic regulatory mechanisms, which maintain normal thyroid function even in the presence of iodine excess. When large amounts of iodine are given to subjects with normal thyroid function, a transient decrease in the synthesis of the thyroid hormones occurs for approx 48 h. This acute inhibitory effects of iodine on thyroid hormone synthesis is termed the acute Wolff-Chaikoff effect and is due to increased intrathyroid iodine concentrations (1). Thyroid hormone synthesis then resumes normally in spite of continued administration of pharmacological quantities of iodine (2),thereby maintaining euthyroidism. The most likely explanation of this escape from or adaptation to the acute Wolff-Chaikoff effect is a decrease in the thyroid iodide trap, thereby decreasing the intrathyroid iodide concentration (3). Very recently, Carrasco and colleagues have cloned and characterized the thyroid iodide transporter (the Na+ /I symporter) (4) and changes in this symporter may be involved in the escape phenomenon.


Iodine Deficiency Iodine Intake Subclinical Hypothyroidism Urinary Iodine Excretion Subacute Thyroiditis 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elio Roti
  • Lewis E. Braverman

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