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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 218145, 15 pages
Review Article

The Role of Thyroid Hormones as Inductors of Oxidative Stress and Neurodegeneration

Departamento de Fisiología, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, IPN. Prol. Carpio y Plan de Ayala, s/n, 11340 México City, DF, Mexico

Received 18 September 2013; Accepted 8 November 2013

Academic Editor: Sathyasaikumar V. Korrapati

Copyright © 2013 I. Villanueva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are oxidizing agents amply implicated in tissue damage. ROS production is inevitably linked to ATP synthesis in most cells, and the rate of production is related to the rate of cell respiration. Multiple antioxidant mechanisms limit ROS dispersion and interaction with cell components, but, when the balance between ROS production and scavenging is lost, oxidative damage develops. Many traits of aging are related to oxidative damage by ROS, including neurodegenerative diseases. Thyroid hormones (THs) are a major factor controlling metabolic and respiratory rates in virtually all cell types in mammals. The general metabolic effect of THs is a relative acceleration of the basal metabolism that includes an increase of the rate of both catabolic and anabolic reactions. THs are related to oxidative stress not only by their stimulation of metabolism but also by their effects on antioxidant mechanisms. Thyroid dysfunction increases with age, so changes in THs levels in the elderly could be a factor affecting the development of neurodegenerative diseases. However, the relationship is not always clear. In this review, we analyze the participation of thyroid hormones on ROS production and oxidative stress, and the way the changes in thyroid status in aging are involved in neurodegenerative diseases.