Thyroid hormone (TH) has diverse effects on mitochondria and energy expenditure (EE), generating great interest and research effort into understanding and harnessing these actions for the amelioration and treatment of metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes. Direct effects on ATP utilization are a result of TH’s actions on metabolic cycles and increased cell membrane ion permeability. However, the majority of TH induced EE is thought to be a result of indirect effects, which, in turn, increase capacity for EE. This review discusses the direct actions of TH on EE, and places special emphasis on the indirect actions of TH, which include mitochondrial biogenesis and reduced metabolic efficiency through mitochondrial uncoupling mechanisms. TH analogs and the metabolic actions of T2 are also discussed in the context of targeted modulation of EE. Finally, clinical correlates of TH actions on metabolism are briefly presented.
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