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XB-ART-50210
Dev Biol December 15, 2015; 408 (2): 188-95.

More similar than you think: Frog metamorphosis as a model of human perinatal endocrinology.



Abstract
Hormonal control of development during the human perinatal period is critically important and complex with multiple hormones regulating fetal growth, brain development, and organ maturation in preparation for birth. Genetic and environmental perturbations of such hormonal control may cause irreversible morphological and physiological impairments and may also predispose individuals to diseases of adulthood, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Endocrine and molecular mechanisms that regulate perinatal development and that underlie the connections between early life events and adult diseases are not well elucidated. Such mechanisms are difficult to study in uterus-enclosed mammalian embryos because of confounding maternal effects. To elucidate mechanisms of developmental endocrinology in the perinatal period, Xenopus laevis the African clawed frog is a valuable vertebrate model. Frogs and humans have identical hormones which peak at birth and metamorphosis, have conserved hormone receptors and mechanisms of gene regulation, and have comparable roles for hormones in many target organs. Study of molecular and endocrine mechanisms of hormone-dependent development in frogs is advantageous because an extended free-living larval period followed by metamorphosis (1) is independent of maternal endocrine influence, (2) exhibits dramatic yet conserved developmental effects induced by thyroid and glucocorticoid hormones, and (3) begins at a developmental stage with naturally undetectable hormone levels, thereby facilitating endocrine manipulation and interpretation of results. This review highlights the utility of frog metamorphosis to elucidate molecular and endocrine actions, hormone interactions, and endocrine disruption, especially with respect to thyroid hormone. Knowledge from the frog model is expected to provide fundamental insights to aid medical understanding of endocrine disease, stress, and endocrine disruption affecting the perinatal period in humans.

PubMed ID: 25744725
Article link: Dev Biol


Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: crebbp ep300 gnat1 gps2 thra thrb

Disease Ontology terms: hypothyroidism [+]

Article Images: [+] show captions