Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 376, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Follicular cell lineage in persistent ultimobranchial remnants of mammals

  • Yoko KamedaEmail author


It has been a subject of much debate whether thyroid follicular cells originate from the ultimobranchial body, in addition to median thyroid primordium. Ultimobranchial remnants are detected in normal dogs, rats, mice, cattle, bison and humans and also in mutant mice such as Eya1 homozygotes, Hox3 paralogs homozygotes, Nkx2.1 heterozygotes and FRS2α2F/2F. Besides C cells, follicular cell lineages immunoreactive for thyroglobulin are located within these ultimobranchial remnants. In dogs, the C cell complexes, i.e., large cell clusters consisting of C cells and undifferentiated cells, are present together with parathyroid IV and thymus IV in or close to the thyroid lobe. In addition, follicular cells in various stages of differentiation, including follicular cell groups and primitive and minute follicles storing colloid, are intermingled with C cells in some complexes. This review elaborates the transcription factors and signaling molecules involved in folliculogenesis and it is supposed why the follicular cells in the ultimobranchial remnants are sustained in immature stages. Pax8, a transcription factor crucial for the development of follicular cells, is expressed in the fourth pharyngeal pouch and the ultimobranchial body in human embryos. Pax8 expression is also detected in the ultimobranchial remnants of Eya1 and Hes1 null mutant mice. To determine whether the C cells and follicular cells in the ultimobranchial remnants consist of dual lineage cells or are derived from the common precursor, the changes of undifferentiated cells in dog C cell complexes are examined after chronically induced hypercalcemia or antithyroid drug treatment.


Ultimobranchial body remnants C cell complexes Immature follicular cells Thyroglobulin Pax8 Folliculogenesis 



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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnatomyKitasato University School of MedicineSagamiharaJapan

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