Effects of oral erythrosine (2′,4′,5′,7′-tetraiodofluorescein) on thyroid function in normal men Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Erythrosine (Er), a tetraiodinated derivative of fluorescein, is a coloring agent widely used in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. Because of its high iodine content and previous reports demonstrating an inhibitory effect of erythrosine on hepatic 5'-monodeiodination, we studied the effects of this compound on thyroid function and serum and urinary iodide concentrations in normal subjects. Thirty normal men, equally divided into three treatment groups, each received a 14-day course of oral Er in doses of 20, 60, or 200 mg/day. Serum thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), reverse T3 (rT3), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), protein-bound iodide (PBI), and total iodide concentrations, serum T3-charcoal uptake, and 24-hour urinary iodide excretion were measured on Days 1, 8, and 15. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) tests were performed on Days 1 and 15. There were no significant changes in serum T4, T3, rT3, and T3-charcoal uptake values at any dose. In men receiving 200 mg Er/day, the mean basal serum TSH concentration increased significantly from 1.7 +/- 0.1 (SE) on Day 1 to 2.2 +/- 0.1 microU/ml on Day 15 (p less than 0.05), and the mean peak TSH increment after TRH increased from 6.3 +/- 0.5 to 10.5 +/- 1.0 microU/ml (p less than 0.05). There were no significant changes in basal or peak TSH responses in the men receiving 20 or 60 mg Er/day. Significant dose-related increases in serum total iodide and PBI concentrations occurred during all three doses, and significant dose-related increases in urinary iodide excretion occurred during the 60 and 200 mg/day Er doses. These data suggest that the increase in TSH secretion induced by Er was related to the antithyroid effect of increased serum iodide concentrations, rather than a direct effect of Er on thyroid hormone secretion or peripheral metabolism.


  • Gardner, David F
  • Utiger, Robert D
  • Schwartz, Sorell L
  • Witorsch, Philip
  • Meyers, Brandon
  • Braverman, Lewis E
  • Witorsch, Raphael J

publication date

  • December 1987