Background: Hypothyroidism is a common hormone deficiency condition. Regenerative medicine approaches, such as a bioengineered thyroid, have been proposed as potential therapeutic alternatives for patients with hypothyroidism. This study demonstrates a novel approach to generate thyroid grafts using decellularized rat thyroid matrix.
Methods: Isolated rat thyroid glands were perfused with 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate to generate a decellularized thyroid scaffold. The rat thyroid scaffold was then recellularized with rat thyroid cell line to reconstruct the thyroid by perfusion seeding technique. As a pilot study, the decellularized rat thyroid scaffold was perfused with human-derived thyrocytes and parathyroid cells.
Results: The decellularization process retained the intricate three-dimensional microarchitecture with a perfusable vascular network and native extracellular matrix components, allowing efficient reseeding of the thyroid matrix with the FRTL-5 rat thyroid cell line generating three-dimensional follicular structures in vitro. In addition, the recellularized thyroid showed successful cellular engraftment and thyroid-specific function, including synthesis of thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase. Moreover, the decellularized rat thyroid scaffold could further be recellularized with human-derived thyroid cells and parathyroid cells to reconstruct a humanized bioartificial endocrine organ, which maintained expression of critical genes such as thyroglobulin, thyroid peroxidase, and parathyroid hormone.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the utility of a decellularized thyroid extracellular matrix scaffold system for the development of functional, bioengineered thyroid tissue, which could potentially be used to treat hypothyroidism.
Keywords: extracellular matrix scaffold; hypothyroidism; organ decellularization; parathyrocytes; thyrocytes.