Thyroglobulin biosynthesis was studied in thyroid glands of rats treated during 30 days with a daily dose of propranolol, a non-selective beta-adrenergic blocking drug. Studies were carried out by extraction of soluble proteins from homogenates after incubation of the glands in presence of [3H]-4,5-L-leucine and [3H]-D-1-galactose. Thyroglobulin 19S, 12S and 4-8S soluble proteins were separated and identified by ultracentrifugation in a saccharose gradient. The glands of rats treated with propranolol showed a decreased amount of soluble proteins as well as a decreased incorporation of [3H] labeled markers. 19S thyroglobulin is poorly represented, but very large amounts of the 12S monomer are present; this suggests an impairment in the dimerization of the 12S subunit, absent in normal controls. This impairment could be due to a structure modification. Propranolol reduces the biosynthesis of thyroglobulin in thyroid gland as well as the formation of T3 from T4 in peripheral tissues; its therapeutical use against thyrotoxicosis is thus justified. The study of its action on the dimerisation of the 12S subunit could be of interest to clear the mechanism of thyroglobulin biosynthesis.
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