Iodine Study Unit, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, and Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Ireland. email@example.com
The role played in thyroid hormonogenesis by iodide oxidation to iodine (organification) is well established. Iodine deficiency may produce conditions of oxidative stress with high TSH producing a level of H_2O_2, which because of lack of iodide is not being used to form thyroid hormones. The cytotoxic actions of excess iodide in thyroid cells may depend on the formation of free radicals and can be attributed to both necrotic and apoptotic mechanisms with necrosis predominating in goiter development and apoptosis during iodide induced involution. These cytotoxic effects appear to depend on the status of antioxidative enzymes and may only be evident in conditions of selenium deficiency where the activity of selenium containing antioxidative enzymes is impaired. Less compelling evidence exists of a role for iodide as an antioxidant in the breast. However the Japanese experience may indicate a protective effect against breast cancer for an iodine rich seaweed containing diet. Similarly thyroid autoimmunity may also be associated with improved prognosis. Whether this phenomenon is breast specific and its possible relationship to iodine or selenium status awaits resolution.