Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2016 12 21456() 44-50 pii 10.1016/j.mce.2016.12.017
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that modulate the vast majority of cellular processes. During development, the correct timing and expression of miRNAs in the tissue differentiation is essential for organogenesis and functionality. In thyroid gland, DICER and miRNAs are necessary for accurately establishing thyroid follicles and hormone synthesis. Moreover, DICER1 mutations and miRNA deregulation observed in human goiter influence thyroid tumorigenesis. The thyroid malignant transformation by MAPK oncogenes is accompanied by global miRNA changes, with a marked reduction of "tumor-suppressor" miRNAs and activation of oncogenic miRNAs. Loss of thyroid cell differentiation/function, and consequently iodine trapping impairment, is an important clinical characteristic of radioiodine-refractory thyroid cancer. However, few studies have addressed the direct role of miRNAs in thyroid gland physiology. Here, we focus on what we have learned in the thyroid follicular cell differentiation and function as revealed by cell and animal models and miRNA modulation in thyroid tumorigenesis.