Reduced affinity for thyroxine in two of three structural thyroxine-binding prealbumin variants associated with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy

Samuel Refetoff, Francis E. Dwulet, Merrill D. Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


T4-binding prealbumin (TBPA), a protein synthesized by the liver, circulates as a tetramer and transports 15-20% of T4. We studied 3 variants of the TBPA monomer recently identified in serum and amyloid fibrils of patients affected by familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP). They represent single amino acid substitutions at positions 30 (type I), 60 (Appalachian), and 84 (type II). Tests of thyroid function and the apparent association constant (Ka) of T4 binding to TBPA were measured in whole serum from 14 carriers of FAP identified clinically, by amino acid sequence analysis, or by DNA restriction fragment analysis. Significant reduction of Ka was found in subjects with FAP types I and II, but not in subjects with the Appalachian type. Mean (±SD) values of 0.24 ± 0.08 × 107 M−1 for type I and 0.26 ± 0.10 × 107 M-1 for type II were significantly (P < 0.0001) lower than those for normal relatives (1.39 ± 0.30 × 107 M−1) or unrelated normal subjects (1.41 ± 0.18 × 07 M−1). The mean Ka value for the five subjects with FAP of the Appalachian type was slightly but not significantly reduced (1.08 ± 0.11 × 107 M−1). There was no overlap of individual Ka values of subjects with types I and II TBPA with those of subjects from all other groups. Abnormalities of thyroid function included slight but significant reductions of the mean total serum T4 concentration in the subjects with type II FAP and the mean serum total T3 concentration in those with type I FAP. Four subjects with FAP (two type II and two of the Appalachian type) had biochemical evidence of hypothyroidism. The three subjects with total serum T3 levels below the limit of normal had amyloid cardiomyopathy. These results indicate that TBPAs from subjects with FAP types I and II have relatively lower affinity for T4. Although none of the substituted amino acids in these variant TBPAs contribute directly to the surface of the putative T4-binding site, the side chains of amino acids 30 and 84, but not 60, interact with internal residues of the β-structure which forms the presumed binding site, in agreement with our results of Ka measurements. The high incidence of hypothyroidism is due to the probably fortuitous occurrence of Hashimoto's thyroiditis as well as to partial destruction of the thyroid gland by amyloid deposits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1432-1437
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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