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Review Article

Impact of Antioxidant Natural Compounds on the Thyroid Gland and Implication of the Keap1/Nrf2 Signaling Pathway

[ Vol. 25 , Issue. 16 ]


Ana Paunkov, Dionysios V. Chartoumpekis, Panos G. Ziros, Niki Chondrogianni, Thomas W. Kensler and Gerasimos P. Sykiotis*   Pages 1828 - 1846 ( 19 )


Background: Natural compounds with potential antioxidant properties have been used in the form of food supplements or extracts with the intent to prevent or treat various diseases. Many of these compounds can activate the cytoprotective Nrf2 pathway. Besides, some of them are known to impact the thyroid gland, often with potential side-effects, but in other instances, with potential utility in the treatment of thyroid disorders.

Objective: In view of recent data regarding the multiple roles of Nrf2 in the thyroid, this review summarizes the current bibliography on natural compounds that can have an effect on thyroid gland physiology and pathophysiology, and it discusses the potential implication of the Nrf2 system in the respective mechanisms.

Methods & Results: Literature searches for articles from 1950 to 2018 were performed in PubMed and Google Scholar using relevant keywords about phytochemicals, Nrf2 and thyroid. Natural substances were categorized into phenolic compounds, sulfur-containing compounds, quinones, terpenoids, or under the general category of plant extracts. For individual compounds in each category, respective data were summarized, as derived from in vitro (cell lines), preclinical (animal models) and clinical studies. The main emerging themes were as follows: phenolic compounds often showed potential to affect the production of thyroid hormones; sulfur-containing compounds impacted the pathogenesis of goiter and the proliferation of thyroid cancer cells; while quinones and terpenoids modified Nrf2 signaling in thyroid cell lines.

Conclusion: Natural compounds that modify the activity of the Nrf2 pathway should be evaluated carefully, not only for their potential to be used as therapeutic agents for thyroid disorders, but also for their thyroidal safety when used for the prevention and treatment of non-thyroidal diseases.


Personalized nutrition, phytochemical, flavonoid, Nrf2, thyroid, goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism.


Service of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology Unit, Patras University Medical School, Patras, Service of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Institute of Biology, Medicinal Chemistry and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, Service of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism, University of Lausanne, Lausanne

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