Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) and steroid hormone receptors belong to a large superfamily of nuclear hormone receptors. The interactions between these receptor subfamilies are poorly understood. In this study, cotransfection assays were used to examine the effects of estrogen and glucocorticoid receptors on TR-mediated repression of basal transcription by unliganded TR and transcriptional activation by liganded TR with two different thyroid hormone response element-containing reporter plasmids. Surprisingly, it was found that steroid hormone receptors blocked T3-mediated transcriptional activation with little or no effect on basal repression by unliganded TR. The mechanism for blocking TR-mediated transcriptional activation does not require steroid hormone receptor binding to the thyroid hormone response element but, rather, may involve titration of a critical coactivator(s) required for T3-mediated transcriptional activation. These studies strongly suggest divergent pathways for transcriptional activation and basal repression by TRs. Additionally, these studies raise the potential for nuclear hormone receptors to modulate TR-mediated transcriptional activation in steroid hormone-responsive tissues.