Generation of Functional Thyroid Tissue Using 3D-Based Culture of Embryonic Stem Cells
During the last decade three-dimensional (3D) cultures of pluripotent stem cells have been intensively used to understand morphogenesis and molecular signaling important for the embryonic development of many tissues. In addition, pluripotent stem cells have been shown to be a valid tool for the in vitro modeling of several congenital or chronic human diseases, opening new possibilities to study their physiopathology without using animal models. Even more interestingly, 3D culture has proved to be a powerful and versatile tool to successfully generate functional tissues ex vivo. Using similar approaches, we here describe a protocol for the generation of functional thyroid tissue using mouse embryonic stem cells and give all the details and references for its characterization and analysis both in vitro and in vivo. This model is a valid approach to study the expression and the function of genes involved in the correct morphogenesis of thyroid gland, to elucidate the mechanisms of production and secretion of thyroid hormones and to test anti-thyroid drugs.
Key wordsThyroid development Embryonic stem cells Regenerative medicine Hypothyroidism