Nutritional control of thyroid morphogenesis through gastrointestinal hormones

Maki Takagishi, Binta Maria Aleogho, Masako Okumura, Kaori Ushida, Yuichiro Yamada, Yusuke Seino, Sayoko Fujimura, Kaoru Nakashima, Asako Shindo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Developing animals absorb nutrients either through the placenta or from ingested food; however, the mechanisms by which embryos use external nutrients for individual organ morphogenesis remain to be elucidated. In this study, we assessed nutrient-dependent thyroid follicle morphogenesis in Xenopus laevis and investigated the role of secreted gastrointestinal (GI) hormones post-feeding. We found that feeding triggers thyroid follicle formation, and the thyroid cells showed transient inactivation of cell proliferation after feeding. In addition, the thyroid cells with multi-lumina were frequently observed in the fed tadpoles. The expression of the particular GI hormone incretin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), responded to feeding in the intestines of Xenopus tadpoles. Inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (Dpp4), a degradative enzyme of incretin, increased the size of the thyroid follicles by facilitating follicular lumina connection, whereas inhibition of the sodium-glucose cotransporter (SGLT) reversed the effects of Dpp4 inhibition. Furthermore, injection of GIP peptide in unfed tadpoles initiated thyroid follicle formation—without requiring feeding—and injection of an incretin receptor antagonist suppressed follicle enlargement in the fed tadpoles. Lastly, GIP receptor knockout in neonatal mice showed smaller follicles in the thyroid, suggesting that the GI hormone-dependent thyroid morphogenesis is conserved in mammals. In conclusion, our study links external nutrients to thyroid morphogenesis and provides new insights into the function of GI hormone as a regulator of organ morphology in developing animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1496.e4
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11-04-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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