Thyroid hormone binds to nuclear receptors and regulates gene transcription. Here we report that in mice, at around the first day of life, there is a transient surge in hepatocyte type 2 deiodinase (D2) that activates the prohormone thyroxine to the active hormone triiodothyronine, modifying the expression of 165 genes involved in broad aspects of hepatocyte function, including lipid metabolism. Hepatocyte-specific D2 inactivation (ALB-D2KO) is followed by a delay in neonatal expression of key lipid-related genes and a persistent reduction in peroxisome proliferator-Activated receptor-γ expression. Notably, the absence of a neonatal D2 peak significantly modifies the baseline and long-Term hepatic transcriptional response to a high-fat diet (HFD). Overall, changes in the expression of approximately 400 genes represent the HFD response in control animals toward the synthesis of fatty acids and triglycerides, whereas in ALB-D2KO animals, the response is limited to a very different set of only approximately 200 genes associated with reverse cholesterol transport and lipase activity. A whole genome methylation profile coupled to multiple analytical platforms indicate that 10-20% of these differences can be related to the presence of differentially methylated local regions mapped to sites of active/suppressed chromatin, thus qualifying as epigenetic modifications occurring as a result of neonatal D2 inactivation. The resulting phenotype of the adult ALB-D2KO mouse is dramatic, with greatly reduced susceptibility to diet-induced steatosis, hypertriglyceridemia, and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14018-14023
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 10 2015


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