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Diagnostic and therapeutic use of radioiodine in the management of thyroid disorders depends on the ability of thyroid cells to concentrate radioiodine, a process regulated by thyrotropin and dependent on the intracellular increase in cAMP. We tested the ability of theophylline, a drug known to increase intracellular cAMP via inhibition of phosphodiesterase, to modulate the thyroidal radioiodine uptake in FRTL-5 cells, in mice and in humans. In FRTL-5 cells, theophylline increased the uptake of radioactive iodine and intracellular cAMP only at low concentrations (1 microM). In mice, theophylline increased slightly the radioiodine uptake, although this increase varied from 1.5- to 6.6-fold. In humans, theophylline decreased slightly the radioiodine uptake, a decrease that became more pronounced with time after radioiodine administration. These studies suggest that theophylline modulates the radioiodine uptake in a dose-dependent fashion, although the modulation is mild and probably not applicable to the clinical setting.


J M Lee, R L Zemans, M Hejazi, B B Chin, P W Ladenson, P Caturegli. Modulation of thyroidal radioiodine uptake by theophylline. Experimental and molecular pathology. 2004 Oct;77(2):116-20

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PMID: 15351234

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