The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone, which has clinically important actions practically in every system in the human body. Detailed knowledge of the physiology of the thyroid gland is critical for the proper management of thyroid disorders. The molecular biology of thyroid function is being studied in great detail. Clinically important molecules, such as the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor and the sodium/iodide symporter, have been identified and well characterized. Such discoveries have significantly improved our understanding of thyroid physiology. As a result, new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the management of thyroid disorders are now available or in development. Copyright Â© 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.