ABSTRACT: The ontogeny of thyroxine distributor proteins in serum of the marsupial Macropus eugenii (tammar wallaby) was investigated from day 3 after birth until adulthood. The thyroxine distributor proteins in the serum of adult M. eugenii are transthyretin and albumin. Northern analysis of RNA prepared from liver showed that transthyretin mRNA levels were initially high (about adult levels at the earliest ages tested), reduced to about 60% adult levels (between days 50 and 150), and then steadily increased to adult levels (by days 200 to 250). Albumin mRNA levels were initially about 50% of adult levels (day 3) and steadily rose to 90% of adult levels by days 175 to 220. A globulin, "wallaby thyroxine-binding protein" (W-TBP), bound [(125)I]thyroxine from day 3 until about day 200. Of the protein-bound thyroxine, the proportion bound by transthyretin had a similar pattern to the transthyretin mRNA levels. From day 26 onward, about half of the protein-bound thyroxine was bound to albumin. On day 3, less than 10% was bound to W-TBP and the proportion steadily increased to a maximum of about 46% by about day 120 and then reduced to undetectable levels by around day 250. The developmentally regulated W-TBP was present throughout pouch life, when the pouch young is dependent on obtaining thyroxine required for normal growth and development from the mother. After the young tammar wallaby leaves its mother's pouch, a time when it has reached a level of physiological development approximately equivalent to that at the time of birth in precocious eutherian mammals such as cattle and sheep, W-TBP was no longer detected as a thyroxine distributor protein in serum.
General and Comparative Endocrinology 02/2002; 125(1):92-103. · 3.27 Impact Factor