Horm Metab Res 2011; 43(2): 130-134
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1267997
Humans, Clinical

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

T3/rT3-Ratio is Associated with Insulin Resistance Independent of TSH

S. Ruhla1 , 2 , A. M. Arafat1 , 2 , M. O. Weickert2 , 3 , M. Osterhoff1 , 2 , F. Isken1 , 2 , * , J. Spranger1 , 2 , C. Schöfl1 , 4 , A. F. H. Pfeiffer1 , 2 , M. Möhlig1 , 2
  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany
  • 2Department of Clinical Nutrition, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal, Germany
  • 3Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Coventry, United Kingdom
  • 4Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Medicine I, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
  • *Deceased
Further Information

Publication History

received 29.06.2010

accepted 20.10.2010

Publication Date:
22 November 2010 (online)


Thyroid dysfunction has been shown to be associated with insulin resistance (IR). This may involve peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism, which is assumed to be reflected by the ratio triiodothyronine/reverse triiodothyronine (T3/rT3-ratio). To explore a potential association between the T3/rT3-ratio and IR we investigated pairs which differed in IR, but were matched by sex, age, body mass index (BMI), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). For this purpose, matched pair analyses were embedded into a cross sectional study group. 22 pairs were matched from either the first or the third tertile of HOMA%S of a cohort of 353 euthyroid subjects with normal glucose metabolism who did not take any medication. The T3/rT3-ratio was compared in the matched pairs. The T3/rT3-ratio was significantly increased in the insulin resistant subjects compared to their insulin sensitive partners (8.78±0.47 vs. 7.33±0.33, p=0.019). Furthermore the T3/rT3-ratio was lower in men compared to women (p for the within-subject effect=0.046) both in the insulin sensitive and the insulin resistant subjects. Here we show that the T3/rT3-ratio, which is supposed to reflect the tissue thyroid hormone metabolism, is significantly increased in insulin resistant subjects. This further supports a link between thyroid function and IR.



M. MöhligMD 

Department of Endocrinology

Diabetes and Nutrition

Charité-University Medicine


Campus Benjamin Franklin

Hindenburgdamm 30

12200 Berlin


Phone: +49/30/8445 2114

Fax: +49/30/8445 4204

Email: matthias.moehlig@charite.de