Virchows Archiv B

, 53:166 | Cite as

Involution of hyperplastic goitre in the adult male rat

Tissue compartment process with early iodide effect: a stereological and biochemical study
  • J. B. Rognoni
  • C. Penel
  • P. Bastiani


The morphological and functional changes during involution of hyperplastic goitre have been investigated in the adult male rat. Male wistar rats received an iodine-deficient diet for 6 months and during the last 2 months received propylthiouracil (PTU, 0.15%). By the end of this treatment (day 0), a hyperplastic goitre was obtained. A normal iodine supply was then given and PTU withdrawn. During the first 8 days of iodine refeeding, the plasma thyrotropin (TSH) remained at a high level (ten times the control value), whereas the thyroid iodide content was low on day 0, markedly increased on day 1 and decreased on day 4. Plasma T3 and T4 levels remained unchanged for 4 days and only increased on day 8. The total thyroid protein concentration was low on day 0 and then increased rapidly on day 8 (by 34%). The volume density of colloid remained low and unchanged until day 8, when it started to increase. However, the thyroid epithelial cell volume and the volume density of capillaries were raised on day 0, decreased rapidly in the next 8 days and more slowly later on. The total number of thyroid epithelial cells was considerably raised in the hyperplastic gland. It did not vary until day 16, when it decreased slowly, reaching a plateau on day 45 above the control value. The present data show that involution of hyperplastic goitre in the rat is due essentially to a decrease in thyroid epithelial cell volume and to a reduction of the increased number of capillary blood vessels present. The decrease in the number of epithelial cells is only 16.5%, suggesting that the death of thyroid epithelial cells contributes little. Half the process of involution, which occurs from days 0 to 8, is controlled by the thyroid iodide concentration rather than TSH, indicating the involvement of a thyroid autoregulatory mechanism. It must be emphasized, however, that the discontinuous pattern of epithelial cell number during involution may indicate that some cells with larger nuclei and more rapid turnover disappear more quickly after iodine refeeding.

Key words

Thyroid Thyroid autoregulation Thyrotropin Triiodothyronine Thyroxine Hyperplastic goitre Gland involution 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Rognoni
    • 1
  • C. Penel
    • 1
  • P. Bastiani
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cellular EndocrinologyInstitute of Biological Chemistry, UA 202, CNRS. University of Aix-Marseille IMarseille Cedex 3France

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