Dr. Fagman explains how the thyroid gland develops.
Well, the thyroid develops from what is called the embryonic gut tube. Several organs develop from the gut tube: the thyroid, the lungs, the liver, the pancreas. So this is a fascinating issue; a small group of cells decide to adopt a thyroid fate. Some cells select to adopt a liver fate and a pancreas fate, and that is a basic question: Why do a group of cells commit themselves to a specific fate?
But thyroid forms in the anterior form of the gut tube, approximately where the mouth cavity will form later on, and then these cells make a journey down to their final location here. We don’t really know how they move, and this is one basic question in science: How do cells move?
When they got to place down here, they form a bilobed organ looking a little bit like a butterfly and approximately at this stage, the cells start their function to produce thyroid hormones. So there are basic biological questions here: How do some cells select a fate? How do they form a small bud of cells? How do they migrate? How do they move? How do they shape into this butterfly-like organ?
Dr. Henrik Fagman, M.D., Ph.D.:
Henrik Fagman is a researcher focusing on the generation of animal models of thyroid dysgenesis at the Istituto di Ricerche Genetiche "Gaetano Salvatore", Biogem s.c.ar.l. in Ariano Irpino (AV), Italy. He has also conducted research and received his basic training at the Institute of Biomedicine at The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University in Göteborg, Sweden.