Developmental biology

Postotic and preotic cranial neural crest cells differently contribute to thyroid development.

PMID 26506449


Thyroid development and formation vary among species, but in most species the thyroid morphogenesis consists of five stages: specification, budding, descent, bilobation and folliculogenesis. The detailed mechanisms of these stages have not been fully clarified. During early development, the cranial neural crest (CNC) contributes to the thyroid gland. The removal of the postotic CNC (corresponding to rhombomeres 6, 7 and 8, also known as the cardiac neural crest) results in abnormalities of the cardiovascular system, thymus, parathyroid glands, and thyroid gland. To investigate the influence of the CNC on thyroid bilobation process, we divided the CNC into two regions, the postotic CNC and the preotic CNC (from the mesencephalon to rhombomere 5) regions and examined. We found that preotic CNC-ablated embryos had a unilateral thyroid lobe, and confirmed the presence of a single lobe or the absence of lobes in postotic CNC-ablated chick embryos. The thyroid anlage in each region-ablated embryos was of a normal size at the descent stage, but at a later stage, the thyroid in preotic CNC-ablated embryos was of a normal size, conflicting with a previous report in which the thyroid was reduced in size in the postotic CNC-ablated embryos. The postotic CNC cells differentiated into connective tissues of the thyroid in quail-to-chick chimeras. In contrast, the preotic CNC cells did not differentiate into connective tissues of the thyroid. We found that preotic CNC cells encompassed the thyroid anlage from the specification stage to the descent stage. Finally, we found that endothelin-1 and endothelin type A receptor-knockout mice and bosentan (endothelin receptor antagonist)-treated chick embryos showed bilobation anomalies that included single-lobe formation. Therefore, not only the postotic CNC, but also the preotic CNC plays an important role in thyroid morphogenesis.