Neural Alterations and Hyperactivity of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis in Oatp1c1 Deficiency

Inbal Admati, Talya Wasserman-Bartov, Adi Tovin, Rotem Rozenblat, Einat Blitz, David Zada, Tali Lerer-Goldshtein, Lior Appelbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The thyroid hormones (THs) triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are crucial regulators of brain development and function. Cell-specific transporter proteins facilitate TH uptake and efflux across the cell membrane, and insufficient TH transport causes hypothyroidism and mental retardation. Mutations in the TH transporters monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8, SLC16A2) and the organic anion-transporting polypeptide 1C1 (OATP1C1, SLCO1C1) are associated with the psychomotor retardation Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome and juvenile neurodegeneration, respectively. Methods: To understand the mechanisms and test potential treatments for the recently discovered OATP1C1 deficiency, we established an oatp1c1 mutant (oatp1c1-/-) zebrafish. Results: oatp1c1 is expressed in endothelial cells, neurons, and astrocytes in zebrafish. The activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and behavioral locomotor activity increased in oatp1c1-/- larvae. Neuropathological analysis revealed structural alteration in radial glial cells and shorter neuronal axons in oatp1c1-/- larvae and adults. Notably, oatp1c1-/- and oatp1c1-/-Xmct8-/- adults exhibit an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). Pharmacological assays showed that TH analogs, but not THs, can reduce the size and improve the color of the thyroid gland in adult mutant zebrafish. Conclusion: These results establish a vertebrate model for OATP1C1 deficiency that demonstrates endocrinological, neurological, and behavioral alterations mimicking findings observed in an OATP1C1-deficient patient. Further, the curative effect of TH analogs in the oatp1c1-/- zebrafish model may provide a lead toward a treatment modality in human patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-174
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2020.


  • goiter
  • hypothyroidism
  • thyroid
  • thyroid-transporters
  • zebrafish


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