Researchers have successfully regenerated thyroid glands in the spleen of mice, according to a recent study published in Advanced Science. This groundbreaking research offers potential alternatives to lifelong hormone replacement therapy for patients who have undergone total thyroidectomy.
Patients who undergo total thyroidectomy often require lifelong treatment with levothyroxine sodium to maintain basic hormone levels. However, this treatment does not fully restore the dynamic regulatory capacity of triiodothyronine (T3), which is essential for various physiological functions. T3 deficiency can increase the risk of hypertension, cardiac dysfunction, and metabolic or mental health conditions.
Regenerative medicine, which involves tissue engineering and transplantation, aims to restore the functionality of organs and tissues. Previous attempts at thyroid auto-transplantation in animals and humans have not produced satisfactory results. The success of tissue or cell regeneration depends on various factors, including the condition of the transplanted tissue and the transplantation site.
In this study, the research team led by Professor Dong Lei proposed a new approach to transplantation by growing the thyroid in the spleen. The spleen’s unique properties, such as its loose structure and abundant blood supply, make it an ideal site for tissue regeneration. The researchers performed intrasplenic thyroid transplantation in mice that had undergone total thyroidectomy, preserving the spleen’s function.
The transplanted thyroid glands in the spleen of the mice had intact follicles and reconstructed vascular networks, successfully reproducing the angio-follicular unit (AFU) and restoring hormone levels. The study also demonstrated that this method is more responsive to physiological signals than hormone replacement therapy. Long-term evaluation showed that the regenerated thyroid glands in the spleen restored physiological homeostasis in the mice without any adverse side effects, showing promise for future clinical applications.
Regenerating complex organs is a major challenge in regenerative medicine, mainly due to the lack of effective methods to regenerate fully developed circulatory systems in adult animals. The circulatory system is crucial for supporting the regeneration of organs. Professor Dong Lei and his collaborators have addressed this challenge by leveraging the spleen’s unique structural features, such as its abundant blood supply and loose internal structure, to create a regenerative platform for ectopic organ regeneration.
The researchers have been working on modifying the spleen’s structure in live animals to align it with the regenerative requirements of different organs. Previous achievements include the successful regeneration of the liver within the spleen. This innovative approach of regenerating one organ within another opens up new possibilities for regenerating large and complex organs, separate from traditional methods.
The study’s findings mark a significant advancement in the field of regenerative medicine. By successfully regenerating thyroid glands in the spleen of mice, the researchers have demonstrated the potential for developing alternative therapies for patients who have undergone total thyroidectomy. This innovative approach may pave the way for future breakthroughs in organ regeneration and improve the quality of life for patients.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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