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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Developmental iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism impair neural development in rat hippocampus: involvement of doublecortin and NCAM-180

Jian Gong1, Wanyang Liu1, Jing Dong1, Yi Wang1, Hongde Xu1, Wei Wei1, Jiapeng Zhong1, Qi Xi12 and Jie Chen1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Shenyang, PR China

2 Department of Physiology, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2010, 11:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-50

Published: 23 April 2010



Developmental iodine deficiency results in inadequate thyroid hormone (TH), which damages the hippocampus. Here, we explored the roles of hippocampal doublecortin and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM)-180 in developmental iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism.


Two developmental rat models were established with either an iodine-deficient diet, or propylthiouracil (PTU)-adulterated water (5 ppm or 15 ppm) to impair thyroid function, in pregnant rats from gestational day 6 until postnatal day (PN) 28. Silver-stained neurons and protein levels of doublecortin and NCAM-180 in several hippocampal subregions were assessed on PN14, PN21, PN28, and PN42.


The results show that nerve fibers in iodine-deficient and 15 ppm PTU-treated rats were injured on PN28 and PN42. Downregulation of doublecortin and upregulation of NCAM-180 were observed in iodine-deficient and 15 ppm PTU-treated rats from PN14 on. These alterations were irreversible by the restoration of serum TH concentrations on PN42.


Developmental iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism impair the expression of doublecortin and NCAM-180, leading to nerve fiber malfunction and thus impairments in hippocampal development.