About this Research Topic
Hypothyroidism has long been treated clinically through hormone replacement, because approaches to regenerate damaged, resected, or absent thyroid glandular tissue were unavailable. Stem cell biology is an emerging line of thyroid research with great potential to produce future treatments aimed at reconstitution of thyroid organ function. Recent advances indicate that mouse or human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be triggered to differentiate into hormone-producing thyroid cells in vitro and form transplantable epithelial follicles, the functional units of the thyroid gland. These achievements were dependent on understanding and applying the road map of in vivo thyroid embryonic development which has been established over several decades of work. Conversely, discoveries made using in vitro cultures of gene-edited stem cells or organoids have revealed the inductive signals and mechanisms that regulate thyroid fate in the developing foregut endoderm in vivo. As the symbiotic fields of stem cells, developmental biology, regenerative medicine, and thyroid disease research increasingly intertwine, the quickening pace of basic science discoveries is likely to face predictable hurdles that will need to be surmounted if gene-, cell-, or other regenerative therapies are to be successfully adapted for future clinical use in patients.
This Special Issue initiative aims to summarize the current state of thyroid stem cell research and related investigations on normal thyroid development, with emphasis on mechanisms of efficient propagation of thyroid progenitors and their transition to fully differentiated follicular epithelial cells. The scope includes studies on naturally occurring thyroid stem cells potentially involved in organogenesis, homeostasis, regeneration and neoplastic transformation. We expect that a joint venture like this will improve and promote exchange of information among stem cell researchers and developmental biologists and cross-fertilize further scientific progress in pursuit of functional thyroid regeneration.
Keywords: ESC, iPSC, Organogenesis, Morphogenesis, Differentiation
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