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Aliases TG , AITD3, TGN, thyroglobulin
External IDs OMIM: 188450 MGI: 98733 HomoloGene: 2430 GeneCards: TG
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 8: 132.87 – 133.13 Mb Chr 15: 66.54 – 66.72 Mb
PubMed search [3] [4]
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Thyroglobulin (Tg) is a 660 kDa, dimeric glycoprotein produced by the follicular cells of the thyroid and used entirely within the thyroid gland. Tg is secreted and accumulated at hundreds of grams per litre in the extracellular compartment of the thyroid follicles, accounting for approximately half of the protein content of the thyroid gland. [5] Human TG (hTG) is a homodimer of subunits each containing 2768 amino acids as synthesized (a short signal peptide of 19 aminoacids may be removed from the N-terminus in the mature protein). [6]


Thyroglobulin is in all vertebrates the main precursor to thyroid hormones, which are produced when thyroglobulin's tyrosine residues are combined with iodine and the protein is subsequently cleaved. Each thyroglobulin molecule contains approximately 100–120 tyrosine residues, but only a small number (20) of these are subject to iodination by thyroperoxidase in the follicular colloid. Therefore, each Tg molecule forms approximately 10 thyroid hormone molecules. [5]


Thyroid hormone synthesis, this image traces thyroglobulin from production within the rough endoplasmic reticulum until proteolytic release of the thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone synthesis.png
Thyroid hormone synthesis, this image traces thyroglobulin from production within the rough endoplasmic reticulum until proteolytic release of the thyroid hormones.

Thyroglobulin (Tg) acts as a substrate for the synthesis of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), as well as the storage of the inactive forms of thyroid hormone and iodine within the follicular lumen of a thyroid follicle. [7]

Newly synthesized thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) are attached to thyroglobulin and comprise the colloid within the follicle. When stimulated by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), the colloid is endocytosed from the follicular lumen into the surrounding thyroid follicular epithelial cells. The colloid is subsequently cleaved by proteases to release thyroglobulin from its T3 and T4 attachments. [8]

The active forms of thyroid hormone: T3 and T4, are then released into circulation where they are either unbound or attached to plasma proteins, and thyroglobulin is recycled back into the follicular lumen where it can continue to serve as a substrate for thyroid hormone synthesis. [8]

Clinical significance

Half-life and clinical elevation

Metabolism of thyroglobulin occurs in the liver via thyroid gland recycling of the protein. Circulating thyroglobulin has a half-life of 65 hours. Following thyroidectomy, it may take many weeks before thyroglobulin levels become undetectable. Thyroglobulin levels may be tested regularly for a few weeks or months following the removal of the thyroid. [9] After thyroglobulin levels become undetectable (following thyroidectomy), levels can be serially monitored in follow-up of patients with papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma.[ clarification needed ]

A subsequent elevation of the thyroglobulin level is an indication of recurrence of papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma. In other words, a rise in thyroglobulin levels in the blood may be a sign that thyroid cancer cells are growing and/or the cancer is spreading. [9] Hence, thyroglobulin levels in the blood are mainly used as a tumor marker [10] [9] for certain kinds of thyroid cancer (particularly papillary or follicular thyroid cancer). Thyroglobulin is not produced by medullary or anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

Thyroglobulin levels are tested via a simple blood test. Tests are often ordered after thyroid cancer treatment. [9]

Thyroglobulin antibodies

In the clinical laboratory, thyroglobulin testing can be complicated by the presence of anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (ATAs, alternatively referred to as TgAb). Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies are present in 1 in 10 normal individuals, and a greater percentage of patients with thyroid carcinoma. The presence of these antibodies can result in falsely low (or rarely falsely high) levels of reported thyroglobulin, a problem that can be somewhat circumvented by concomitant testing for the presence of ATAs. The ideal strategy for a clinician's interpretation and management of patient care in the event of confounding detection of ATAs is testing to follow serial quantitative measurements (rather than a single laboratory measurement).

ATAs are often found in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Graves' disease. Their presence is of limited use in the diagnosis of these diseases, since they may also be present in healthy euthyroid individuals. ATAs are also found in patients with Hashimoto's encephalopathy, a neuroendocrine disorder related to—but not caused by—Hashimoto's thyroiditis. [11]


Thyroglobulin has been shown to interact with Binding immunoglobulin protein. [12] [13]

Related Research Articles

Thyroid Endocrine gland in the neck; secretes hormones that influence metabolism

The thyroid, or thyroid gland, is an endocrine gland in vertebrates. In humans it is in the neck and consists of two connected lobes. The lower two thirds of the lobes are connected by a thin band of tissue called the thyroid isthmus. The thyroid is located at the front of the neck, below the Adam's apple. Microscopically, the functional unit of the thyroid gland is the spherical thyroid follicle, lined with follicular cells (thyrocytes), and occasional parafollicular cells that surround a lumen containing colloid. The thyroid gland secretes three hormones: the two thyroid hormones – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) – and a peptide hormone, calcitonin. The thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate and protein synthesis, and in children, growth and development. Calcitonin plays a role in calcium homeostasis. Secretion of the two thyroid hormones is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is secreted from the anterior pituitary gland. TSH is regulated by thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which is produced by the hypothalamus.

Thyroid neoplasm Medical condition

Thyroid neoplasm is a neoplasm or tumor of the thyroid. It can be a benign tumor such as thyroid adenoma, or it can be a malignant neoplasm, such as papillary, follicular, medullary or anaplastic thyroid cancer. Most patients are 25 to 65 years of age when first diagnosed; women are more affected than men. The estimated number of new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States in 2010 is 44,670 compared to only 1,690 deaths. Of all thyroid nodules discovered, only about 5 percent are cancerous, and under 3 percent of those result in fatalities.

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (also known as thyrotropin, thyrotropic hormone, or abbreviated TSH) is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine (T4), and then triiodothyronine (T3) which stimulates the metabolism of almost every tissue in the body. It is a glycoprotein hormone produced by thyrotrope cells in the anterior pituitary gland, which regulates the endocrine function of the thyroid.

Triiodothyronine Chemical compound

Triiodothyronine, also known as T3, is a thyroid hormone. It affects almost every physiological process in the body, including growth and development, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate.

Thyroid follicular cell

Thyroid follicular cells (also called thyroid epithelial cells or thyrocytes) are the major cell type in the thyroid gland, and are responsible for the production and secretion of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). They form the single layer of cuboidal epithelium that makes up the outer structure of the almost spherical thyroid follicle.

Hashimotos thyroiditis Autoimmune disease

Hashimoto's thyroiditis, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis and Hashimoto's disease, is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed. Early on, symptoms may not be noticed. Over time, the thyroid may enlarge, forming a painless goiter. Some people eventually develop hypothyroidism with accompanying weight gain, fatigue, constipation, depression, hair loss, and general pains. After many years the thyroid typically shrinks in size. Potential complications include thyroid lymphoma. Furthermore, because it is common for untreated patients of Hashimoto's to develop hypothyroidism, further complications can include, but are not limited to, high cholesterol, heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, myxedema, and potential pregnancy problems.

Thyroid peroxidase

Thyroid peroxidase, also called thyroperoxidase (TPO) or iodide peroxidase, is an enzyme expressed mainly in the thyroid where it is secreted into colloid. Thyroid peroxidase oxidizes iodide ions to form iodine atoms for addition onto tyrosine residues on thyroglobulin for the production of thyroxine (T4) or triiodothyronine (T3), the thyroid hormones. In humans, thyroperoxidase is encoded by the TPO gene.

Papillary thyroid cancer Medical condition

Papillary thyroid cancer or papillary thyroid carcinoma is the most common type of thyroid cancer, representing 75 percent to 85 percent of all thyroid cancer cases. It occurs more frequently in women and presents in the 20–55 year age group. It is also the predominant cancer type in children with thyroid cancer, and in patients with thyroid cancer who have had previous radiation to the head and neck. It is often well-differentiated, slow-growing, and localized, although it can metastasize.

Thyrotropin receptor Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

The thyrotropin receptor is a receptor that responds to thyroid-stimulating hormone and stimulates the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The TSH receptor is a member of the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily of integral membrane proteins and is coupled to the Gs protein.

Annexin A5 Protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Annexin A5 is a cellular protein in the annexin group. In flow cytometry, annexin V is commonly used to detect apoptotic cells by its ability to bind to phosphatidylserine, a marker of apoptosis when it is on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. The function of the protein is unknown; however, annexin A5 has been proposed to play a role in the inhibition of blood coagulation by competing for phosphatidylserine binding sites with prothrombin and also to inhibit the activity of phospholipase A1. These properties have been found by in vitro experiments.

Sodium/iodide cotransporter Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

The sodium/iodide cotransporter, also known as the sodium/iodide symporter (NIS), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SLC5A5 gene. It is a transmembrane glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 87 kDa and 13 transmembrane domains, which transports two sodium cations (Na+) for each iodide anion (I) into the cell. NIS mediated uptake of iodide into follicular cells of the thyroid gland is the first step in the synthesis of thyroid hormone.

PAX8 Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Paired box gene 8, also known as PAX8, is a protein which in humans is encoded by the PAX8 gene.

Follicular thyroid cancer Medical condition

Follicular thyroid cancer accounts for 15% of thyroid cancer and occurs more commonly in women over 50 years of age. Thyroglobulin (Tg) can be used as a tumor marker for well-differentiated follicular thyroid cancer. Thyroid follicular cells are the thyroid cells responsible for the production and secretion of thyroid hormones.

FAM129A Protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Protein Niban is a protein that in humans is encoded by the FAM129A gene. Paralogs of this protein include FAM129B, and FAM129C.

Thyroid hormones Hormones produced by the thyroid gland

Thyroid hormones are two hormones produced and released by the thyroid gland, namely triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). They are tyrosine-based hormones that are primarily responsible for regulation of metabolism. T3 and T4 are partially composed of iodine. A deficiency of iodine leads to decreased production of T3 and T4, enlarges the thyroid tissue and will cause the disease known as simple goitre.

Autoimmune thyroiditis, is a chronic disease in which the body interprets the thyroid glands and its hormone products T3, T4 and TSH as threats, therefore producing special antibodies that target the thyroid's cells, thereby destroying it. It may present with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and with or without a goiter.

Iodotyrosine deiodinase

Iodotyrosine deiodinase, also known as iodotyrosine dehalogenase 1, is a type of deiodinase enzyme that scavenges iodide by removing it from iodinated tyrosine residues in the thyroid gland. These iodinated tyrosines are produced during thyroid hormone biosynthesis. The iodide that is scavenged by iodotyrosine deiodinase is necessary to again synthesize the thyroid hormones. After synthesis, the thyroid hormones circulate through the body to regulate metabolic rate, protein expression, and body temperature. Iodotyrosine deiodinase is thus necessary to keep levels of both iodide and thyroid hormones in balance.

Thyroid cancer Medical condition

Thyroid cancer is cancer that develops from the tissues of the thyroid gland. It is a disease in which cells grow abnormally and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms can include swelling or a lump in the neck. Cancer can also occur in the thyroid after spread from other locations, in which case it is not classified as thyroid cancer.

Antithyroid autoantibodies (or simply antithyroid antibodies) are autoantibodies targeted against one or more components on the thyroid. The most clinically relevant anti-thyroid autoantibodies are anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO antibodies, TPOAb), thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAb) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb). TRAb's are subdivided into activating, blocking and neutral antibodies, depending on their effect on the TSH receptor. Anti-sodium/iodide (Anti–Na+/I) symporter antibodies are a more recent discovery and their clinical relevance is still unknown. Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis are commonly associated with the presence of anti-thyroid autoantibodies. Although there is overlap, anti-TPO antibodies are most commonly associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and activating TRAb's are most commonly associated with Graves' disease. Thyroid microsomal antibodies were a group of anti-thyroid antibodies; they were renamed after the identification of their target antigen (TPO).

Noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP) is an indolent thyroid tumor that was previously classified as an encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma, necessitating a new classification as it was recognized that encapsulated tumors without invasion have an indolent behavior, and may be over-treated if classified as a type of cancer.


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Further reading