Single-cell RNA-based phenotyping reveals a pivotal role of thyroid hormone receptor alpha for hypothalamic development

V. K. A. Sreenivasan, R. Dore, J. Resch, J. Maier, C. Dietrich, J. Henck, S. Balachandran, J. Mittag, M. Spielmann


Thyroid hormone and its receptor TRaα1 play an important role in brain development. Several animal models have been used to investigate this function, including mice heterozygous for the TRaα1R384C mutation, which confers receptor-mediated hypothyroidism. These mice display abnormalities in several autonomic functions, which was partially attributed to a developmental defect in hypothalamic parvalbumin neurons. However, whether other cell types in the hypothalamus are similarly affected remains unknown. Here, we used single-nucleus RNA sequencing to obtain an unbiased view on the importance of TRaα1 for hypothalamic development and cellular diversity. Our data show that defective TRaα1 signaling has surprisingly little effect on the development of hypothalamic neuronal populations, but it heavily affects hypothalamic oligodendrocytes. Using selective reactivation of the mutant TRaα1 during specific developmental periods, we find that early postnatal thyroid hormone action seems to be crucial for proper hypothalamic oligodendrocyte maturation. Taken together, our findings underline the well-known importance of postnatal thyroid health for brain development and provide an unbiased roadmap for the identification of cellular targets of TRaα1 action in mouse hypothalamic development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev201228
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 02.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
  • Research Area: Medical Genetics

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-17 Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolism


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