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Endocrine/metabolic disease

Thyroid disease

NK2 homeobox 1 (NKX2-1; TTF1); paired box gene 8 (PAX8)

Studies in cell culture and in mice suggest embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived follicular cells could be used to treat hypothyroidism. Transient Nkx2-1 and Pax8 overexpression in murine ESC culture led to differentiation into thyroid follicular cells, which organized into 3D follicular structures when treated with thyrotropin. In athyroid mice, thyroid follicular cells transplanted into the kidney capsule engrafted, developed into functional thyroid follicles and rescued thyroid homeostasis in eight out of nine mice. Next steps include developing a similar protocol using human stem cells and exploring ways to generate functional human thyroid tissue by reprogramming pluripotent stem cells derived from skin.

SciBX 5(41); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1087
Published online Oct. 18, 2012

Unpatented; licensing status not applicable

Antonica, F. et al. Nature; published online Oct. 10, 2012;
Contact: Sabine Costagliola, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium