Integrated Regulation of Growth and of Function

  • Margaret C. Eggo
  • Gerard N. Burrow
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 261)


In vivo studies have shown that thyrotropin regulates thyroid growth and function. How TSH is able to exert these dramatic effects is not clear. The last decade has seen such refinements in cell culture systems that this question can finally be addressed. The major advance in cell culture technology has been the removal of serum from the culture medium of primary cultures of thyroid cells released from tissues. Serum can be replaced by a cocktail of hormones and other factors which have been determined empirically to be essential for the maintenance of most cells in culture.1 This chemically-defined medium permits researchers to add hormones both individually and in combination to examine direct, cooperative, and indirect interactions between them. Another unanticipated benefit from serum-free culture of thyroid cells has been that thyroid cell conditioned medium has been found to contain several proteins of potential biological importance.2–5 This finding has opened up a new area examining potential endocrine functions other than thyroid hormone production for the thyroid. Alternatively, these newly discovered products could be for autocrine or paracrine use. In this brief review we shall discuss the direct ways in which TSH is thought to regulate thyroid growth and function and how TSH interacts with other hormones and growth factors to influence these parameters. We shall examine the intracellular pathways thought to be activated by TSH, growth factors and by agents known to be capable of discretely activating second messengers of some partially defined intracellular pathways. We shall use as a model system data we have obtained with the sheep thyroid cell culture system. This culture system differs from FRTL5, dog and human thyroid cells in culture because cells reorganize to form 3D follicles6 and synthesize and secrete physiologic quantities of thyroid hormones.7


Thyroid Cell Inositol Trisphosphate FRTL5 Cell Human Thyroid Cell Thyroid Growth 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret C. Eggo
    • 1
  • Gerard N. Burrow
    • 1
  1. 1.M013K Department of MedicineUniversity California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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