Total thyroidectomy as part of thyroid cancer treatment results in hypothyroidism requiring lifelong daily thyroid hormone replacement. Unbalanced hormone levels result in persistent complaints such as fatigue, constipation, and weight increase. Therefore, we aimed to investigate a patient-derived thyroid organoid model with the potential to regenerate the thyroid gland. Murine and human thyroid-derived cells were cultured as organoids capable of self-renewal and which expressed proliferation and putative stem cell and thyroid characteristics, without a change in the expression of thyroid tumor-related genes. These organoids formed thyroid-tissue-resembling structures in culture. (Xeno-)transplantation of 600,000 dispersed organoid cells underneath the kidney capsule of a hypothyroid mouse model resulted in the generation of hormone-producing thyroid-resembling follicles. This study provides evidence that thyroid-lineage-specific cells can form organoids that are able to self-renew and differentiate into functional thyroid tissue. Subsequent (xeno-)transplantation of these thyroid organoids demonstrates a proof of principle for functional miniature gland formation.
GrantsJunior Scientific Masterclass (MD/PhD program) Tekke Huizinga Foundation, a Van Der Meer-Boerema grant Dutch Cancer Society European Atomic Energy Community Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013)