Thyroid hormones, being hydrophobic, were thought to enter target cell membranes by passive diffusion. However, recent studies have documented the existence of numerous organic anion transport systems, about half of which also transport thyroid hormones into (and possibly out of) a variety of target cells. Several of the genes encoding thyroid hormone transporters have been characterized by means of molecular approaches. Here, we discuss the classification of thyroid hormone transporters, with emphasis on how they are influenced by their ionic milieu and what their symported organic anions are.
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