Thyroid hormones and their nuclear receptors: new players in intestinal epithelium stem cell biology?
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- Sirakov, M., Kress, E., Nadjar, J. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2014) 71: 2897. doi:10.1007/s00018-014-1586-3
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Thyroid hormones participate in the development and homeostasis of several organs and tissues. It is well documented that they act via nuclear receptors, the TRs, which are transcription factors whose function is modulated by the hormone T3. Importantly, T3-induced physiological response within a cell depends on the specific TR expression and on the T3 bioavailability. However, in addition to this T3-dependent control of TR functionality, increasing data show that the action of TRs is coordinated and integrated with other signaling pathways, specifically at the level of stem/progenitor cell populations. By focusing on the intestinal epithelium of both amphibians and mammals we summarize here new data in support of a role for thyroid hormones and the TR nuclear receptors in stem cell biology. This new concept may be extended to other organs and have biological relevance in therapeutic approaches aimed to target stem cells such as tissue engineering and cancer.