Separated thyroid follicles can be maintained in suspension culture in Coon's modified F-12 medium in 0.5% calf serum. If the serum concentration is raised to 5%, the follicles undergo inversion in 3-5 d. During the process of inversion, epithelial cells can be observed in intermediate stages of polarity reversal. The earliest ultrastructural changes recognized are surface changes in which tight junctions and microvilli appear at the lateral margins of the cell near the medium. Later, changes in the distribution of intracellular organelles occur. The Golgi apparatus shifts towards the end of the cell facing the medium, and lysosomes shift toward the luminal end of the cell. The right junctions and microvilli at the luminal end of the cell disappear sometime after the cytoplasmic organelles rearrange. The luminal colloid disappears only after the surface changes (loss of tight junctions and microvilli) occur at the luminal end of the cell. There appears to be some regulation of the order in which changes occur during polarity reversal of the thyroid epithelial cell.

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