A variant epithelial sub-population in normal thyroid with high proliferative capacity in vitro

J. A. Bond, F. S. Wyllie, M. Ivan, T. Dawson, D. Wynford-Thomas

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15 Scopus citations


We describe the existence in normal human primary thyroid cultures of a hitherto unrecognised sub-population of epithelial cells. This variant phenotype is characterised by squamoid morphology, absence of thyroglobulin, and an altered profile of intermediate filament expression. We suggest that these cells are derived from scattered foci of squamous metaplasia present in the normal gland. Although they are initially present at a frequency of less than 10--4, their very high proliferative capacity enables them to outgrow the 'classical' follicular cells and confers a much increased capacity for gene transduction. Recognition of these cells is therefore crucial in the interpretation of long-term thyroid culture experiments and those involving in vitro gene transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993



  • Cytokeratin
  • Follicular cell
  • Intermediate filament
  • Metaplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology

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