In vitro culture of thyroid follicles is often employed to study thyroid cell biology and the control of thyroid follicular cell growth. For acceptance as a valid model, cultures should maintain differentiated function, which can be measured as the organification of I-125 and/or the de novo synthesis of thyroid hormones. In this article, the properties and merits of the various in vitro cultures of thyroid follicular cells and the potential effects of thyroid-specific, secreted products (thyroid hormones, thyroglobulin) and autocrine factors (proteases, growth factors and inhibitors) on thyroid growth and function, are explored. The regulation of the secretion of autocrine/paracrine factors by thyroid follicular cells is reviewed and methods by which cells may defend themselves from the effects of bioactive growth factors are discussed with particular reference to FGF signalling. The role and regulation of plasminogen activator activity, which may be central to the release and/or activation of growth factors and their receptors, and the secretion of angiogenic factors are described. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- plasminogen activators