The roles of thyroid and thyroid hormone in pancreas: Physiology and pathology

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It is widely accepted that thyroid hormones (THs), secreted from the thyroid, play important roles in energy metabolism. It is also known that THs also alter the functioning of other endocrine glands; however, their effects on pancreatic function have not yet been reviewed. One of the main functions of the pancreas is insulin secretion, which is altered in diabetes. Diabetes, therefore, could be related to thyroid dysfunction. Earlier research on this subject focused on TH regulation of pancreas function (such as insulin secretion) or on insulin function through TH-mediated increase of energy metabolism. Afterwards, epidemiological investigations and animal test research found a link between autoimmune diseases, thyroid dysfunction, and pancreas pathology; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that THs also play important roles in pancreas development and on islet pathology, both in diabetes and in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, an overview of the effects of thyroid and THs on pancreas physiology and pathology is presented. The topics contained in this review include a summary of the relationship between autoimmune thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune pancreas lesions and the effects of THs on pancreas development and pancreas pathology (diabetes and pancreatic cancer).




Chen, C., Xie, Z., Shen, Y., & Xia, S. F. (2018). The roles of thyroid and thyroid hormone in pancreas: Physiology and pathology. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2018.

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