Iodide Transport Defect and Breast Milk Iodine

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Iodide transport defect (ITD) is a dyshormonogenetic congenital hypothyroidism caused by sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) gene mutations. In the lactating mammary gland, iodide is concentrated by NIS, and iodine for thyroid hormone synthesis is thereby supplied to the infant in the breast milk.

Case Description:

A 34-year-old Japanese woman was diagnosed with ITD caused by a homozygous NIS gene mutation T354P. She had begun treatment of primary hypothyroidism with levothyroxine at the age of 5. She delivered a baby at the age of 36. The iodine concentration in her breast milk was 54 μg/l. She took a 50-mg potassium iodide tablet daily to supply iodine in the breast milk, starting on the 5th day postpartum. Her breast milk iodine concentration increased to 90 μg/l (slightly above the minimum requirement level). The patient weaned her baby and stopped taking the daily potassium iodide tablet 6 weeks postpartum, and the baby began to be fed with relatively iodine-rich formula milk. The baby's thyroid function remained normal from birth until 6 months of age.


Possible iodine deficiency in the infant breast-fed by an ITD patient should be kept in mind. Prophylactic iodine supplementation is essential for such infants in order to prevent severe iodine deficiency.

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