Journal of endocrinological investigation 2017 08 2941(1) 59-66 doi 10.1007/s40618-017-0737-4
Thyroid hormone is a major determinant of tissue functions in vivo. The deiodinase family controls the tissue-specific activation or inactivation of intracellular thyroid hormones. Precise control of the T3-dependent transcriptional program is required by multiple cell systems, including the stem cell. In this context, the identification of a close connection between thyroid hormones and different signal pathways involved in the control of stem cell functions suggested that the deiodinases may play a role in the definition of stem cell biology and physiology. Stem cells have an unlimited self-renewal capacity and the potential to differentiate into different types of mature cells. Deciphering how all these events are achieved, how the T3 signal is controlled and integrated in stem cells and their niches, and how it can impact on them is essentially unknown and represents a challenge for coming years. In this review, I will explore the role played by the deiodinases in the modulation of the TH signal in stem cells of adult tissues, namely muscle and intestine, and how their actions control the delicate balance among self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms presiding thyroid hormone action in stem cells may reveal therapeutic potential, for example in the fields of regenerative diseases and cancer.