Maternal hypothyroidism: An overview of current experimental models
Maternal hypothyroidism (MH) is the most common cause of transient congenital hypothyroidism. Different animal models are used for assessing developmental effects of MH in offspring. The severity and status of hypothyroidism in animal models must be a reflection of the actual conditions in humans. To obtain comparable results with different clinical conditions, which lead to MH in humans, several factors have been suggested for researchers to consider before designing the experimental models. Regarding development of fetal body systems during pregnancy, interference at different times provides different results and the appropriate time for induction of hypothyroidism should be selected based on accurate time of development of the system under assessment. Other factors that should be taken into consideration include, physiological and biochemical differences between humans and other species, thyroid hormone-independent effects of anti-thyroid drugs, circadian rhythms in TSH secretion, sex differences, physical and psychological stress. This review addresses essential guidelines for selecting and managing the optimal animal model for MH as well as discussing the pros and cons of currently used models.