Research Output

Thyroid hormone signaling in human ovarian surface epithelial cells.

  Ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells express multiple nuclear hormone receptor genes, including those encoding thyroid hormone and estrogen receptors (TR and ER, respectively). Ovarian cancer is hormone-dependent, and epidemiological evidence links hyperthyroidism, inflammation of the ovarian surface, and increased risk of ovarian cancer.

The objective of this study was to assess T3 action on human OSE cells in vitro, asking 1) is there evidence for (pre)receptor control, 2) is T3 inflammatory, and 3) does T3 affect ER expression?

Immunohistochemical analysis of fixed human ovaries and in vitro analysis of human OSE primary cell cultures were performed.

Twelve women aged 29–50 yr (median, 41 yr) undergoing elective gynecological surgery for nonmalignant conditions were studied.

Messenger RNA transcripts for TR1, TR2, TRß1, and T3 activating deiodinase 2 and inactivating deiodinase 3 were present in primary OSE cell cultures by RT-PCR. TR and TRß proteins were also localized to intact OSE by immunohistochemistry. Treatment of OSE cell cultures for 24 h with T3 caused dose-dependent mRNA expression of inflammation-associated genes: cyclooxygenase-2, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and 11ßhydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, determined by quantitative RT-PCR. Finally, treatment with T3 dose dependently stimulated ER mRNA expression without affecting ERß1 or ERß2.

The ovarian surface is a potential T3 target. T3 exerts direct inflammatory effects on OSE cell function in vitro. OSE cell responses to T3 include increased expression of ER mRNA, which encodes the ER isoform most strongly associated with ovarian cancer. This could help explain suggested epidemiological links between hyperthyroidism and ovarian cancer.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 January 2007

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  • Publisher

    The Endocrine Society

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:



Rae, M. T., Gubbay, O., NaKostogiannou, A., Price, D., Critchley, H. O. D. & Hillier, S. G. (2007). Thyroid hormone signaling in human ovarian surface epithelial cells. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 92, 322-327. doi:10.1210/jc.2006-1522. ISSN 0021-972X



Hyperthyroidism; Thyroid hormone; Ovarian surface epithelium; TR receptors; Inflammation; Ovarian cancer;

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