Treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has been associated with alterations in circulating thyroid hormone levels, possibly related to perturbations in peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism. In this study, we evaluated the effect of the multi-kinase inhibitor vandetanib on the expression of the three deiodinase selenoenzymes, responsible for the thyroid hormone activation (type 1 and type 2 deiodinases) or for its inactivation (type 3 deiodinase). Here, we show that the multi-kinase inhibitor vandetanib determines a strong cell-specific downregulation of type 2 deiodinase (D2) expression and a significant reduction in D2 enzymatic activity. This occurs in the diffused population of fibro/adipogenic progenitors, which reside in different tissues – including the muscles – and normally express D2. Given the widespread diffusion of mesenchymal cells within the body, our results may explain at least partially the alterations in thyroid hormone levels that occur in vandetanib-treated patients. Our findings represent a step forward into the understanding of the mechanisms by which TKIs induce hypothyroidism and identify a resident cell population in which such an effect takes place.
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