As judged from both paper and column chromatography, slices or homogenates of liver from rats fasted for 48 h displayed a lesser rate of generation of 125I-labeled 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3) from 125I-labeled thyroxine (T4) added to incubation media than did preparations from normal chow-fed animals. A similar defect in the conversion of T4 to T3 in the livers of fasted animals was observed when preparations were incubated with substrate concentrations of T4 so that T3 generation could be assessed by radioimmunoassay. The effect of fasting could be prevented, wholly or in part, by administration of glucose in the drinking water to otherwise fasted animals, and the degree of prevention appeared to be proportional to the concentration of glucose employed. Diminished generation of T3 from T4 was similarly evident in the livers of animals with streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus, and this defect was overcome by the provision of insulin in vivo, but not in vitro. Decreased formation of T3 from T4 was also observed in preparations of liver from animals given dexamethasone, amiodarone, and propylthiouracil. In no case could these effects on the net formation of T3 from T4 be explained by effects of the experimental conditions on the degradation of the T3 generated, as judged from the rate of degradation of exogenous 125I-T3 measured in parallel incubates.
Alan Balsam, Sidney H. Ingbar, Franklin Sexton