The specific thyroid hormone transporter, MCT8, located on the X chromosome, has led to the identification a novel syndrome. The objective is to relate phenotype with several tissue-specific thyroid functions. A 1-year-old boy, who had severe psychological damage and low serum T4, had received l-T4 for 3 months. At admission, body length was normal but weight was low. Off therapy, serum TSH was mildly elevated, serum T4 and free T4 were low, and serum T3 and free T3 were high. Direct sequencing of the MCT8 gene revealed a single nucleotide change that resulted in a novel nonsense mutation at codon 261 (Q261X) in exon 3. Since serum T3 was high, peripheral markers of hyperthyroidism were looked for. Bone age was advanced, despite the presence of malnutrition and low T4. Serum SHBG, a marker of thyroid hormone action in liver, was markedly elevated. Markers of skeletal muscle catabolism, ammonemia and lactic acid, were found to be elevated. The phenotype of MCT 8 mutation might be explained by differences in the entry of thyroid hormones into different cells. In the presence of an inactive MCT8 transporter, the high blood T3 levels might not be enough to prevent brain damage early in life, while they seem to be able to induce a postnatal state of peripheral hyperthyroidism in other tissues, such as liver, bone and skeletal muscle.
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