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Gen Comp Endocrinol January 1, 2018; 265 219-229.
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From zebrafish to human: A comparative approach to elucidate the role of the thyroid hormone transporter MCT8 during brain development.

Vancamp P , Darras VM .

Monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) facilitates transmembrane transport of thyroid hormones (THs) ensuring their action on gene expression during vertebrate neurodevelopment. A loss of MCT8 in humans results in severe psychomotor deficits associated with the Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome (AHDS). However, where and when exactly a lack of MCT8 causes the neurological manifestations remains unclear because of the varying expression pattern of MCT8 between specific brain regions and cells. Here, we elaborate on the animal models that have been generated to elucidate the mechanisms underlying MCT8-deficient brain development. The absence of a clear neurological phenotype in Mct8 knockout mice made it clear that a single species would not suffice. The evolutionary conservation of TH action on neurodevelopment as well as the components regulating TH signalling however offers the opportunity to answer different aspects of MCT8 function in brain development using different vertebrate species. Moreover, the plethora of tools for genome editing available today facilitates gene silencing in these animals as well. Studies in the recently generated mct8-deficient zebrafish and Mct8/Oatp1c1 double knockout mice have put forward the current paradigm of impaired TH uptake at the level of the blood-brain barrier during peri- and postnatal development as being the main pathophysiological mechanism of AHDS. RNAi vector-based, cell-specific induction of MCT8 knockdown in the chicken embryo points to an additional function of MCT8 at the level of the neural progenitors during early brain development. Future studies including also additional in vivo models like Xenopus or in vitro approaches such as induced pluripotent stem cells will continue to help unravelling the exact role of MCT8 in developmental events. In the end, this multispecies approach will lead to a unifying thesis regarding the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the neurological phenotype in AHDS patients.

PubMed ID: 29183795
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: dio2 dio3 plin1 slc16a2 slc7a5 slc7a8 slco1c1 thra thrb