Thyroid hormone regulates essential processes in early brain development such as neural cell migration, differentiation, signaling, and myelination, particularly during the early stages of gestation. During this time, fetal thyroid hormone accessibility depends on the placental transfer of thyroid hormones. Deficiency of thyroid hormone during fetal and postnatal periods may lead to permanent mental retardation and neurological deficits. Clinical studies have been conducted demonstrating links between maternal hypothyroidism and numerous neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, lower IQ, behavioral disorders, and psychiatric disorders. To investigate the effects of thyroid hormone actions on perinatal brain development potentially present in ASD, a literature review was conducted using PubMed, UCF EBSCOhost, and Google Scholar to obtain relevant papers for analysis. Across the board, abnormal maternal thyroid function, especially suboptimal maternal free thyroxine hormone, was associated with increased risk for neurological disorders, including ASD. The implications of this study emphasize the importance of managing maternal hypothyroidism during pregnancy to possibly reduce the incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Medicine
Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences
Hobson, Caroline R., "Effects of Maternal Thyroid Hypofunction on Fetal Brain Development During Pregnancy: Possible Links to Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 808.