Impact of local thyroid hormone availability on cardio-metabolic structure and function.
Thyroid hormones are important for controlling energy use in the body. Levels of thyroid hormones in each tissue are finely controlled by a complex system that is under the control of specific genes. Natural differences in these genes may cause subtle changes in thyroid hormone availability in these tissues. But, not enough is known about these genes and the effects of these differences in genes controlling thyroid hormones on risk of developing common conditions such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Aims: to study the effects of differences in thyroid hormone levels locally on the heart and other major organs.
Scientific rationale: it is not well understood how changes in thyroid hormones inside the tissue can affect the function of important organs such as the heart and liver. Natural differences in the genes that control thyroid hormone levels inside tissues is known to be a valid method to study changes at the tissue level. This study will explore how these differences in various genes controlling tissue thyroid hormone levels from a large number of individuals from the UK Biobank cohort affects the structure and working of the heart as well as the liver. The results from this study will increase our knowledge about the effects of thyroid hormones inside each tissue and also may help to facilitate special drugs to be used that can selectively target these tissues without causing damage elsewhere due to either excessive or too little thyroid hormone.
Project duration: It is anticipated that the project will last for 36 months.
Public health impact: Heart disease and other common conditions such as type 2 diabetes and fatty liver are the main causes of death and illness in most parts of the world. Changes in lifestyle are mainly responsible for the increase in these conditions and several new treatments have been introduced in the recent past. Thyroid hormones are important for controlling energy and play a crucial role in the normal functioning of each tissue. But, the factors that affect thyroid hormone levels inside tissues are not well understood. It is likely that tissue-level changes in thyroid hormones could be an important treatment area that can be used to manage these lifestyle-related diseases.