Working Group Prof. Dr. Josef Köhrle

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Field of Research

  • molecular aspects of the TH axis, TH biosynthesis and metabolism
  • Effects of endocrine active compounds upon the TH axis
  • interaction between trace elements and the endocrine system

About Prof. Köhrle

Prof. Köhrle (Seniorprofessor Molekulare Endokrinologie, Orcid: 0000-0002-9187-9078) is currently president of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Endokrinologie (DGE) .

He acts as Editor in Chief of Endocrine Connections , a gold open access journal of the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) and the Society for Endocrinlogy (SfE) and is member of several editorial boards of endocrinology-oriented journals.

Prof. Köhrle chairs the EDC working group of the European Society of Endocrinology and is member of the EU EDC task force of the Endocrine Society (


Publications see: köhrle / kohrle / koehrle / korhle / kohrl / köherle in pubmed


Recent Awards:

2016      Special Recognition Award European Society of Endocrinology (ESE)

2016      Honorary Member Polish Endocrine Society

2017      European Thyroid Journal Lecture Award (ETA)

2018      Peter Laurberg Prize Lecture 2018, Copenhagen (Danish Thyroid Association)

2019      Gabriel Bertrand Medal and Prize of the Federation of European Societies on Trace                        Elements and Minerals (FESTEM)



Main Topics

The Institute of Experimental Endocrinology (IEÉ) is dedicated to basic and translational science in the field of Endocrinology, with a strong focus on thyroid function and regulation, metabolism and action of thyroid hormones and their metabolits as well as interference of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) on the thyroid hormone system.

The Institute continues to develop new techniques, methods and assays to identify and quantify hormones, their metabolites and novel endocrine relevant ligands in human blood, body fluids, sera and tissues from animal experimental models and cell culture in vitro models. Measurement of such analytes may be useful in advancing endocrine clinical diagnostics, basic as well as translational endocrine research.


The following research projects are currently being publicly funded and processed

PI EU ATHENA (01/2019 until 12/2023): “ATHENA – Assays for the identification of thyroid hormone axis-disrupting chemicals: elaborating novel assessment strategies”.

In this project we will develop new in vitro assays for endocrine disruptor testing on various thyroid-axis-related endpoints (Dehalogenase, DIO2, OATP1C1) with a focus on thyroid and brain and on methods replacing radioisotope-based readouts by iodine detection using the Sandell-Kolthoff method ( We also will provide service tasks (determination of DIO and Dehal activities [e.g. liver, thyroid] and thyroid iodine content) for other consortium partners performing in vivo rat and mouse experiments on EDC.

Research activities at Charité relevant to ATHENA include

  • Development of new and optimized assays for endocrine disruptor (ED) testing on various thyroid-axis-related endpoints with a focus on methods and techniques replacing radioisotope-based  readouts, e.g. iodine detection by the Sandell-Kolthoff method or related photometric procedures.
  • Implementation and validation of novel LC-MS/MS based detection methods for the classical thyroid hormones T4 and T3 as well as for novel functionally and metabolically relevant TH metabolites, which occur at much lower concentrations in blood and tissue of humans and animals.
  • In cooperation with our Charité team partners Dr. Harald Stachelscheid (Berlin Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies and the director of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) Stem Cell Core Facility) and Dr. Philipp Mergenthaler (Inst. Experimental Neurology & Neurology) further paradigms will be established for application within and by the consortium partners:
  • Developing human 2D and 3D models of the brain to investigate cell death in the brain.
  • Developing human thyroid organoid models from human induced pluripotent stem cells (Einstein Foundation): VFV, HS, KR principal investigators.

Team: Prof. Josef Köhrle, Dr. Kostja Renko; Caroline Frädrich, MSc, PhD student; Gabi Böhm, technician

Cooperations: Dr.  Harald Stachelscheid, Dr. Philipp Mergenthaler


Publications (relevant to the project):

Renko K, Schache S, Hoefig CS, Welsink T, Schwiebert C, Braun D, Becker NP, Köhrle J, Schomburg L. 2015. An Improved Nonradioactive Screening Method Identifies Genistein and Xanthohumol as Potent Inhibitors of Iodothyronine Deiodinases. Thyroid 25: 962-89

Jayarama-Naidu R, Johannes J, Meyer F, Wirth EK, Schomburg L, Köhrle J, Renko K. 2015. A Nonradioactive Uptake Assay for Rapid Analysis of Thyroid Hormone Transporter Function. Endocrinology 156(7):2739-45.

Johannes J, Jayarama-Naidu R, Meyer F, Wirth EK, Schweizer U, Schomburg L, Köhrle J, Renko K. 2016. Silychristin, a Flavonolignan Derived From the Milk Thistle, Is a Potent Inhibitor of the Thyroid Hormone Transporter MCT8. Endocrinology 157: 1694-01.

Renko K, Hoefig CS, Hiller F, Schomburg L, Köhrle J. 2012. Identification of iopanoic acid as substrate of type 1 deiodinase by a novel nonradioactive iodide-release assay. Endocrinology 153: 2506-13.

Murk AJ, Rijntjes E, Blaauboer BJ, Clewell R, Crofton KM, Dingemans MM, Furlow JD, Kavlock R, Köhrle J, Opitz R, Traas T, Visser TJ, Xia M, Gutleb AC. 2013. Mechanism-based testing strategy using in vitro approaches for identification of thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals. Toxicol In Vitro 27(4):1320-46.

Hofmann P, Schomburg L, Köhrle J. (2009) Interference of endocrine disrupters with thyroid hormone receptor-dependent transactivation. Toxicol Sci 110(1):125-137

Köhrle J. 2008. Environment and endocrinology: the case of thyroidology. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 69(2):116-22.

Köhrle, J. 2019.  Endocrine Disruptors and Thyroid Function. In: Ilpo Huhtaniemi, (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Endocrine Diseases, Second Edition, vol. 1, pp. 787–792. Oxford; Academic Press. eBook ISBN: 9780128122006; Book ISBN: 9780128121993 Published Date: 1st October 2018; Page Count: 4252


The ATHENA projects are part of the EURION  ( which is a cluster group of eight research projects from the Call SC1-BHC-27-2018 „New testing and screening methods to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)“, each focusing on a different aspect of new testing and screening methods identifying EDCs.

Education & Teaching

Prof. Köhrle's research group is involved in the education and practical training of young scientists by supervising master's, diploma and doctoral theses in various curricula of the Charité and Berlin universities. International guest students, scientists, interns and guest students also participate in the research projects or learn new techniques and procedures developed at the institute. The staff of the Institute is involved in national and international scientific cooperation. 

Prof. Köhrle and his team are involved in the training of students in the standard course of study, reform course of study and model course of study in medicine, as well as in the Charité Master's programs in Molecular Medicine, Medical Neurosciences and Toxicology. The institute offers an internship for life science students of the FU, TU and HU on the topic "Methods of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology".

Prof. Köhrle is involved in the organization of the annual ESE Bregenz Summer School on Endocrinology as well as the Workshop Experimental Thyroid Research (AESF) and is active in the scientific societies DGE, GBM, GMS, ETA, ECE, FESTEM, ATA and Endocrine Society.

Prof. Köhrle is a member of the editorial board of various scientific journals in the field of hormones, endocrinology and trace elements, e.g. Endocrine Connections, Endocrinology, Thyroid, JTEMB, Endocrine Regulations.

Recent Publications

Johannes J*, Jayarama-Naidu R*, Meyer F, Wirth EK, Schweizer U, Schomburg L. Köhrle J, Renko K. (2016) Silychristin, a flavonolignan derived from the milk thistle is a potent inhibitor of the thyroid hormone transporter MCT8. Endocrinology 157(4):1694-701. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1933. Epub 2016 Feb 24. PMID: 26910310

Lietzow J, Golchert J, Homuth G, Völker U, Jonas W, Köhrle J. (2016) 3,5-T2 alters expression of murine genes relevant for xenobiotic, steroid and thyroid hormone metabolism. J Mol Endocrinol 56(4):311-23. doi: 10.1530/JME-15-0159. Feb 22. pii: JME-15-0159. Epub 2016 Feb 22. PMID: 26903510

Weiner J, Kranz M, Klöting N, Kunath A, Steinhoff K, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Zeisig V, Hankir M, Gebhardt C, Deuther-Conrad W, Heiker JT, Kralisch S, Stumvoll M, Blüher M, Sabri O, Hesse S, Brust P, Tönjes A, Krause K. (2016) Thyroid hormone status defines brown adipose tissue activity and browning of white adipose tissues in mice. Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 12; 6:38124. doi: 10.1038/srep38124. PMID: 27941950

Finan B, Clemmensen C, Zhu Z, Stemmer K, Gauthier K, Müller L, De Angelis M, Moreth K, Neff F, Perez-Tilve D, Fischer K, Lutter D, Sánchez-Garrido MA, Liu P, Tuckermann J, Malehmir M, Healy ME, Weber A, Heikenwalder M, Jastroch M, Kleinert M, Jall S, Brandt S, Flamant F, Schramm KW, Biebermann H, Döring Y, Weber C, Habegger KM, Keuper M, Gelfanov V, Liu F, Köhrle J, Rozman J, Fuchs H, Gailus-Durner V, Hrabě de Angelis M, Hofmann SM, Yang B, Tschöp MH, DiMarchi R, Müller TD. (2016) Chemical Hybridization of Glucagon and Thyroid Hormone Optimizes Therapeutic Impact for Metabolic Disease. Cell. 2016 Oct 20;167(3):843-857. e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.014. PMID: 27720451

Engels K, Rakov H, Zwanziger D, Hönes GS, Rehders M, Brix K, Köhrle J, Möller LC, Führer D. (2016) Efficacy of protocols for induction of chronic hyperthyroidism in male and female mice. Endocrine. 2016 Oct;54(1):47-54. Epub 2016 Jul 29. PMID: 27473100

Renko K, Hoefig CS, Dupuy C, Harder L, Schwiebert C, Köhrle J, Schomburg L. (2016) A Nonradioactive DEHAL Assay for Testing Substrates, Inhibitors, and Monitoring Endogenous Activity. Endocrinology 157(12):4516-4525. Epub 2016 Oct 12. PMID: 27732086

Rakov H, Engels K, Hönes GS, Strucksberg KH, Moeller LC, Köhrle J, Zwanziger D, Führer D. (2016) Sex-specific phenotypes of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in mice. Biol Sex Differ. 7(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s13293-016-0089-3. eCollection 2016. PMID: 27559466

Johannes J, Braun D, Kinne A, Rathmann D, Köhrle J, Schweizer U. (2016) Few Amino Acid Exchanges Expand the Substrate Spectrum of  Monocarboxylate Transporter 10. Mol Endocrinol. 30(7):796-808. doi: 10.1210/me.2016-1037. Epub 2016 May 31. PMID: 27244477

Massolt ET, van der Windt M, Korevaar TI, Kam BL, Burger JW, Franssen GJ, Lehmphul I, Köhrle J, Visser WE, Peeters RP. (2016) Thyroid hormone and its metabolites in relation to quality of life in patients treated for differentiated thyroid cancer. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 85(5):781-788. doi: 10.1111/cen.13101. Epub 2016 Jun 13. PMID: 27175823

Richards K, Rijntjes, E, Rathmann D, Köhrle, J (2017) Avoiding the pitfalls when quantifying thyroid hormones and their metabolites using mass spectrometric methods: The role of quality assurance. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 458; 44-56; pii: S0303-7207(17)30046-1. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.01.032.

Schanze N, Jacobi SF, Rijntjes E, Mergler S, Del Olmo M, Hoefig CS, Khajavi N, Lehmphul I, Biebermann H, Mittag J, Köhrle J. (2017) 3-Iodothyronamine Decreases Expression of Genes Involved in Iodide Metabolism in Mouse Thyroids and Inhibits Iodide Uptake in PCCL3 Thyrocytes. Thyroid. 27(1):11-22. doi: 10.1089/thy.2016.0182. PMID: 27788620

Hinz KM, Neef D, Rutz C, Furkert J, Köhrle J, Schülein R, Krause G. (2017) Molecular features of the L-type amino acid transporter 2 determine different import and export profiles for thyroid hormones and amino acids. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 443:163-174. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.01.024. PMID: 28108384

Renko K, Martitz J, Hybsier S, Heynisch B, Voss L, Everley RA, Gygi SP, Stoedter M, Wisniewska M, Köhrle J, Gladyshev VN, Schomburg L. (2017) Aminoglycoside-driven biosynthesis of selenium-deficient Selenoprotein P. Sci Rep. 7(1):4391. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04586-9. PMID: 28663583

Lehmphul I*, Hoefig CS*, Köhrle J (2018) 3-iodothyronamine reduces insulin secretion in vitro via a mitochondrial mechanism. Molecular Cellular Endocrinology 460:219-228. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.07.026.

Richards KH, Schanze N, Monk R, Rijntjes E, Rathmann D, Köhrle J. (2017) A validated LC-MS/MS method for cellular thyroid hormone metabolism: uptake and turnover of mono-iodinated thyroid hormone metabolites by PCCL3 thyrocytes. Plos One Aug 24;12(8):e0183482. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183482. eCollection 2017

Harder L, Schanze N, Sarsenbayeva A, Kugel F, Köhrle J, Schomburg L, Mittag J, Hoefig CS (2018) In vivo effects of repeated thyronamine (T0AM) administration in male C57BL/6J mice. ETJ, 7; 3-12; DOI: 10.1159/000481856

Šošić-Jurjević B., Lütjohann D., Jarić I., Miler M., Vojnović Milutinović D., Filipović B., Ajdžanović V., Renko K., Wirth E.K., Janković S., Kӧhrle J. & Milošević V. Effects of age and soybean isoflavones on hepatic cholesterol metabolism and thyroid hormone availability in acyclic female rats. Exp Gerontol. 2017;92:74-81.

Hönes GS , Rakov H, Logan J, Liao X-H, Werbenko E, Pollard AS , Præstholm SM, Siersbæk MS, Rijntjes E, Gassen J, Latteyer S, Engels K, Strucksberg KH, Zwanziger D, Rozman J, Klein-Hitpass L, Köhrle J, Armstrong DL, Grøntved L, Bassett JHD, Williams GR, Refetoff S, Führer D, Moeller LC. (2017) Non-canonical thyroid hormone signaling mediates cardiometabolic effects in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114 (52) E11323-E11332.

Rakov H, Engels K, Hönes GS, Brix K, Köhrle J, Möller LC, Zwanziger D, Führer D. (2017) Sex-specific phenotypes of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in aged mice. Biology of Sex Differences 2017 Dec 22;8(1):38. doi: 10.1186/s13293-017-0159-1.

Popławski P, Wiśniewski JR, Rijntjes E, Richards K, Rybicka B, Köhrle J, Piekiełko-Witkowska A. (2017) Restoration of DIO1 expression in renal cancer cells downregulates multiple oncoproteins and affects key metabolic pathways as well as anti-oxidative system. Short Title: Proteomic analysis of the effects of DIO1 restoration in renal cancer cells. PLoS One. 2017 Dec 22;12(12):e0190179. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190179. eCollection 2017.

Qatato M#, Szumska J#, Skripnik V, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Brix K. (2018) Canonical TSH regulation of cathepsin-mediated thyroglobulin processing in the thyroid gland of male mice requires Taar1 expression. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Mar 20;9:221. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00221. eCollection 2018.

Tsourdi E, Colditz E, Lademann F, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Niehrs C, Hofbauer LC, Rauner M. (2019) The role of Dickkopf-1 in thyroid hormone-induced changes of bone remodeling in male mice. Endocrinology 160(3):664-674. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-00998.

Engels* K, Rakov* H, Hönes GS, Brix K, Köhrle J, Zwanziger D, Moeller LC, Führer D. Aging alters phenotypic traits of thyroid dysfunction in male mice with divergent effects on complex systems but preserved thyroid hormone action in target organs. (2019) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019; 74(8):1162-1169. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz040.

Šošić-Jurjević B, Lütjohann D, Renko K, Filipovic B, Ajdzanovic V, Trifunovic S, Nestorovic N, Zivanovic J, Manojlović-Stojanoski M, Köhrle J, Milosevic V. (2019) The Isoflavones Genistein and Daidzein Increase Hepatic Concentration of Thyroid Hormones and Affect Cholesterol Metabolism in Middle-Aged Male Rats. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Mar 15;190:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2019.03.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Richards KH, Monk R, Renko K, Rathmann D, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J. (2019) A combined LC-MS/MS and LC-MS3 multi-method for the quantification of iodothyronines in human blood serum.Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 411(21):5605-5616. doi: 10.1007/s00216-019-01941-9.

Pietzner M, Köhrle J, Lehmphul I, Budde K, Kastenmüller G, Brabant G, Völzke H, Artati A,  Adamski J, Völker U, Nauck M, Friedrich N, Homuth G. (2019) A thyroid hormone-independent molecular fingerprint of 3,5-diiodothyronine suggests a strong relation with coffee metabolism in humans. Thyroid, 2019 Dec;29(12):1743-1754. doi: 10.1089/thy.2018.0549doi: 10.1089/thy.2018.0549.

Köhrle J, Lehmphul I, Pietzner M, Renko K, Rijntjes E, Richards K, Anselmo J, Danielsen M, Jonklaas J. (2020) 3,5-T2 – A Janus-Faced Thyroid Hormone Metabolite Exerts Both Canonical T3-Mimetic Endocrine And Intracrine Hepatic Action. Frontiers in Endocrinology, Thyroid Endocrinology. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00787

Selected Original Research Papers


Behne D, Kyriakopoulos A, Meinhold H, Köhrle J (1990) Identification of Type I Iodothyronine 5'-Deiodinase as a Selenoenzyme. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 173(3):1143-1149

Friesema ECH, Grueters A, Biebermann H, Krude H, Moers A von, Reeser M, Barrett TG, Mancilla EE, Svensson J, Kester MA, Kuiper GGJM, Balkassmi S, Uitterlinden AG, Köhrle J, Rodien P, Halestrap AP, Visser TJ (2004) Severe X-linked psychomotor retardation caused by mutations in a thyroid hormone transporter. Lancet 364: 1435-1437

Schomburg L, Schweizer U, Holtmann B, Flohe L, Sendtner M, Köhrle J. (2003) Gene disruption discloses role of Selenoprotein P in selenium delivery to target tissues. Biochem J 370:397-402

Finan B, Clemmensen C, Zhu Z, Stemmer K, Gauthier K, Müller L, De Angelis M, Moreth K, Neff F, Perez-Tilve D, Fischer K, Lutter D, Sánchez-Garrido MA, Liu P, Tuckermann J, Malehmir M, Healy ME, Weber A, Heikenwalder M, Jastroch M, Kleinert M, Jall S, Brandt S, Flamant F, Schramm KW, Biebermann H, Döring Y, Weber C, Habegger KM, Keuper M, Gelfanov V, Liu F, Köhrle J, Rozman J, Fuchs H, Gailus-Durner V, Hrabě de Angelis M, Hofmann SM, Yang B, Tschöp MH, DiMarchi R, Müller TD. (2016) Chemical Hybridization of Glucagon and Thyroid Hormone Optimizes Therapeutic Impact for Metabolic Disease. Cell. 2016 Oct 20;167(3):843-857.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.014

Richards KH, Monk R, Renko K, Rathmann D, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J. A combined LC-MS/MS and LC-MS3 multi-method for the quantification of iodothyronines in human blood serum. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2019 Aug;411(21):5605-5616. doi: 10.1007/s00216-019-01941-9. PMID: 31201460

Important Reviews

Köhrle J, Biebermann H. (2019) 3-iodothyronamine – a thyroid hormone metabolite with distinct target profiles and mode of action. Endocrine Reviews, 40(2):602-630. doi: 10.1210/er.2018-00182.

Köhrle J, Jakob F, Contempré B, Dumont JE (2005) Selenium, the Thyroid, and the Endocrine System. Endocrine Reviews 26 (7):944–984.

Zimmermann MB, Köhrle J (2002) The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health. Thyroid 12:867-878

Schmutzler C, Köhrle J (2000) Retinoid acid redifferentiation therapy for thyroid cancer. Thyroid 10:393-406

Köhrle J (1999) Local activation and inactivation of thyroid hormones: the deiodinase family. Mol Cell Endocrinol 151:103 119


Ganten D , Ruckpaul K, Köhrle J. (eds.) Molekularmedizinische Grundlagen von Endokrinopathien II: Para- und Autokrine Regulation (2006) Springer Verlag. 615pp.