The transport of thyroxine from the bloodstream to the brain and the synthesis and secretion of transthyretin (formerly called prealbumin) were studied in rats and in sheep choroid plexus perfused in vitro. Rat choroid plexus contained 4.4 micrograms and rat liver 0.39 micrograms transthyretin mRNA per gram wet tissue. The specific radioactivity of transthyretin isolated from cerebrospinal fluid of rats 60 min after intravenous injection of [14C]leucine was greater than 50 times that of transthyretin from serum. After adding [14C]leucine to the perfusion medium of an in vitro perfused sheep choroid plexus, highly radioactive transthyretin was isolated from freshly secreted cerebrospinal fluid collected from the exposed choroid plexus surface. Secretion of newly synthesized transthyretin into the perfusion medium could not be demonstrated. After intravenous injection of [125I]-thyroxine into rats, a maximum in the curve of radioactivity in tissue plotted against time after injection was observed first for choroid plexus, thereafter for cerebrospinal fluid, and still later for cortex and striatum. Based on the obtained data, a hypothesis is derived for the mechanism of the transport of thyroid hormones from the bloodstream to the brain involving transthyretin synthesized in choroid plexus and secreted into the cerebrospinal fluid.
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