Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association vol:16 issue:1 pages:25-35
Because the avian thyroid gland secretes almost exclusively thyroxine (T4), the availability of receptor-active 3,3',5-triiodothyronine (T3) has to be regulated in the extrathyroidal tissues, essentially by deiodination. Like mammals and most other vertebrates, birds possess three types of iodothyronine deiodinases (D1, D2, and D3) that closely resemble their mammalian counterparts, as shown by biochemical characterization studies in several avian species and by cDNA cloning of the three enzymes in chicken. The tissue distribution of these deiodinases has been studied in detail in chicken at the level of activity and mRNA expression. More recently specific antibodies were used to study cellular localization at the protein level. The abundance and distribution of the different deiodinases shows substantial variation during embryonic development and postnatal life. Deiodination in birds is subject to regulation by hormones from several endocrine axes, including thyroid hormones, growth hormone and glucocorticoids. In addition, deiodination is also influenced by external parameters, such as nutrition, temperature, light and also a number of environmental pollutants. The balance between the outer and inner ring deiodination resulting from the impact of all these factors ultimately controls T3 availability.