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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Thyroid Metabolic Hormones

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Effect of Thyroid Hormone on Growth

Thyroid hormone has both general and specific effects on growth.

Effect of Thyroid Hormone on Growth

Thyroid hormone has both general and specific effects on growth. For instance, it has long been known that thyroid hormone is essential for the metamorphic change of the tadpole into the frog.

In humans, the effect of thyroid hormone on growth is manifest mainly in growing children. In those who are hypothyroid, the rate of growth is greatly retarded. In those who are hyperthyroid, excessive skeletal growth often occurs, causing the child to become con-siderably taller at an earlier age. However, the bones also mature more rapidly and the epiphyses close at an early age, so that the duration of growth and the eventual height of the adult may actually be shortened.

An important effect of thyroid hormone is to promote growth and development of the brain during fetal life and for the first few years of postnatal life.

If the fetus does not secrete sufficient quantities of thyroid hormone, growth and maturation of the brain both before birth and afterward are greatly retarded, and the brain remains smaller than normal. Without specific thyroid therapy within days or weeks after birth, the child without a thyroid gland will remain mentally deficient throughout life.

 

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