Associations between thyroid hormones and serum metabolite profiles in an euthyroid population

Carolin Jourdan, Jakob Linseisen, Christa Meisinger, Ann Kristin Petersen, Christian Gieger, Rajesh Rawal, Thomas Illig, Margit Heier, Annette Peters, Henri Wallaschofski, Matthias Nauck, Gabi Kastenmüller, Karsten Suhre, Cornelia Prehn, Jerzy Adamski, Wolfgang Koenig, Michael Roden, H. Erich Wichmann, Henry Völzke

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The aim was to characterise associations between circulating thyroid hormones-free thyroxine (FT4) and thyrotropin (TSH)-and the metabolite profiles in serum samples from participants of the German population-based KORA F4 study. Analyses were based on the metabolite profile of 1463 euthyroid subjects. In serum samples, obtained after overnight fasting (≥8), 151 different metabolites were quantified in a targeted approach including amino acids, acylcarnitines (ACs), and phosphatidylcholines (PCs). Associations between metabolites and thyroid hormone concentrations were analysed using adjusted linear regression models. To draw conclusions on thyroid hormone related pathways, intra-class metabolite ratios were additionally explored. We discovered 154 significant associations (Bonferroni p < 1.75 × 10-04) between FT4 and various metabolites and metabolite ratios belonging to AC and PC groups. Significant associations with TSH were lacking. High FT4 levels were associated with increased concentrations of many ACs and various sums of ACs of different chain length, and the ratio of C2 by C0. The inverse associations observed between FT4 and many serum PCs reflected the general decrease in PC concentrations. Similar results were found in subgroup analyses, e.g., in weight-stable subjects or in obese subjects. Further, results were independent of different parameters for liver or kidney function, or inflammation, which supports the notion of an independent FT4 effect. In fasting euthyroid adults, higher serum FT4 levels are associated with increased serum AC concentrations and an increased ratio of C2 by C0 which is indicative of an overall enhanced fatty acyl mitochondrial transport and β-oxidation of fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Epidemiology
  • Free thyroxine
  • Serum metabolites
  • Targeted metabolomics
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Thyrotropin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

Cite this

Jourdan, C., Linseisen, J., Meisinger, C., Petersen, A. K., Gieger, C., Rawal, R., Illig, T., Heier, M., Peters, A., Wallaschofski, H., Nauck, M., Kastenmüller, G., Suhre, K., Prehn, C., Adamski, J., Koenig, W., Roden, M., Wichmann, H. E., & Völzke, H. (2014). Associations between thyroid hormones and serum metabolite profiles in an euthyroid population. Metabolomics, 10(1), 152-164.