Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

T3RU test

The T3RU test measures the level of proteins that carry thyroid hormone in the blood. This can help your health care provider interpret the results of T3 and T4 blood tests. However, because the free T4 blood test is available, the T3RU test is rarely used anymore.

Alternative Names

Resin T3 uptake; T3 resin uptake; Thyroid hormone-binding ratio

How the test is performed

A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture

How to prepare for the test

Your health care provider will tell you, if needed, to stop taking drugs that may interfere with the test.

Drugs that can increase T3RU levels include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Heparin
  • Phenytoin
  • Salicylates (high dose)
  • Warfarin

The following can increase thyroxin binding globulin (TBG) levels:

  • Male hormones (androgens)
  • Serious illness
  • Kidney disease

Drugs that can decrease T3RU levels include:

  • Antithyroid medications
  • Birth control pills
  • Clofibrate
  • Estrogen
  • Thiazides

Pregnancy can also decrease T3RU levels.

How the test will feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed

This test is done to check your thyroid function. Thyroid function is complex and depends on the action of many different hormones, including thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), T3, and T4.

This test helps see how much thyroxin binding globulin (TBG) is available. TBG is a protein that carries most of the T3 and T4 in the blood.

The higher the level of TBG, the lower the level of T3RU. A higher T3RU level means less TBG is available. This may be caused by hyperthyroidism .

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a thyroid disorder, including:

Normal Values

Normal values range from 24 - 37%.

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples.Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean

Higher-than-normal levels may indicate:

Lower-than-normal levels may indicate:

  • Acute hepatitis
  • Pregnancy
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism , primary hypothyroidism, or secondary hypothyroidism)
  • Use of estrogen

Abnormal results may also be due to an inherited condition of high TBG levels. Usually thyroid function is normal in people with this condition.

This test may also be done for:

What the risks are

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Kim M, Ladenson P. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 233.

Salvatore D, Davies TF, Schlumberger MJ, Hay ID, Larsen PR. Thyroid physiology and diagnostic evaluation of patients with thyroid disorders. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 11.

Updated: 6/26/2012

Shehzad Topiwala, MD, Chief Consultant Endocrinologist, Premier Medical Associates, The Villages, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com