The serum concentrations of tri-iodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), and thyrotrophin (TSH) were measured in 10 term newborn infants between birth and the age of 2 days by radioimmunoassay. The mean concentration of T3 in maternal serum was 1.62 mug/l, and it increased from the low cord blood level of 0-63 mug/l to the peak value of 1-76 mug/l within the first 2 hours of life. Mean serum T4 concentrations increased from the cord blood level of 145 mug/l to the peak value of 205 mug/l within the first 24 hours of life. The postnatal increase of the mean serum TSH concentrations from the cord blood level of 5-7 mU/l to the peak value of 20-6 mU/l within 2 hours was similar to the increase of T3. These data confirm earlier reports which show that T3 secretion is low at birth and TSH secretion is stimulated strongly but transiently after birth, and that the low T3 secretion is rapidly normalized in 2 hours along with the TSH release. Because of these strong and rapid changes, we recommend screening of the function of the pituitary-thyroid axis in neonates after the age of 24 hours.
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