AIMS--To examine the possible consequences of high plasma concentrations of bromine on thyroid hormone. METHODS--Bromine was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in the plasma of 799 patients consulting for thyroid disorders. Because the mean (SD) bromine concentration in the plasma of healthy subjects is 4 (1) mg/l, concentrations above 6 mg/l were regarded as outside the normal range. Bromine, free thyroxine (FT4), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) values were compared. RESULTS--The percentage of patients with normal, low, and high FT4 and TSH plasma activities, measured separately, did not differ between patients with low and high bromine concentrations. The percentage of patients with high TSH but normal FT4 values was significantly higher in the group with bromine values of more than 6 mg/l than in the group with bromine concentrations below this (p < 0.02). CONCLUSION--An increase in plasma bromine could potentiate an increase in plasma TSH concentration, probably as a consequence of a minor inhibitory effect on thyroid activity.
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