Definitions

Thyroid gland cell

Thyroid epithelial cell

Thyroid epithelial cells (also called follicular cells or principal cells) are cells in the thyroid gland that produce and secrete thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

The main function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (which is the conversion of oxygen and calories to energy). Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3, however, T3 possesses about four times the hormone "strength" as T4. They are simple cuboidal epithelium and are arranged in spherical follicles surrounding colloid.

They have thyrotropin receptors on their surface, which respond to thyroid-stimulating hormone.

Embryologic origin is from endoderm (in contrast to parafollicular cells, below).

Relationship to other cell types

Calcitonin-producing parafollicular cells (C cells) can be found scattered along the basement membrane of the thyroid epithelium.

Embryologic origin is from neural crest cells.

See also

References

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