In the serum-free, chemically defined medium NCTC 109, freshly isolated porcine thyroid cells aggregate and form functional follicles in culture even in the absence of thyrotropin. The follicular pattern observed under light and electron microscopy express the main morphological characteristics of in vivo thyroid cells. Follicles are large, replete with dense colloid, and the apical pole of cells is characterized by well-developed microvilli and the presence of aminopeptidase N. The index of iodide transport activity (125I-C/M ratio) decreases vs. days of culture to a resting value of about 1 or 2 at day 2. Addition of thyrotropin (200 microU/ml final concentration) at day 4 is followed by a 10-fold increase in iodide transport activity within 24 h and a 40-fold increase 4 d later. Incorporation and organification of iodide are dose dependent between 0 and 250 microU/ml thyrotropin; highest concentrations (4,000--16,000 muU/ml) are significantly inhibitory. In the absence of thyrotropin each cell synthesizes 8.2 pg thyroglobulin/d. Acute stimulation by thyrotropin at day 4 resulted in a slight decrease in the quantity of thyroglobulin present in the cell layer but in an increase in the total amount of thyroglobulin recovered in both cells and medium, reaching 34.3 pg/cell/d. The protein exported into the medium is thyroglobulin, as shown by SDS PAGE and immunological properties. Here we demonstrate that porcine thyroid cells can be maintained in culture as resting, highly differentiated, follicular-associated cells, sensitive to acute stimulation by thyrotropin.

This content is only available as a PDF.