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Immortalized Human Thyroid Epithelial Cells

CI-huThyrEC are immortalized human thyroid epithelial cells, which are also known as follicular cells or thyrocytes. Thyroid epithelial cells are the cells within the thyroid gland responsible for the production and secretion of thyroid hormones, primarily thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

In vitro, thyroid follicular cells are used as a test system for endocrine disruptor screening, to study hormone synthesis or thyroid biology, for example the thyroid autoimmune disorders Hashimoto’s disease or Graves‘ disease.


  • secretion of TG
  • TSH-responsive
  • Expression of TPO in 3D cell culture
  • Secretion of (low) amounts of T3 and T4 in 3D cell culture

Buying and Ordering the Cells

For non-profit organizations, cells are available for perpetual academic research under the Limited Research Use License. To request a quote, please email us at or use the contact form provided below.

For-profit entities can purchase cells for commercial use starting with an Evaluation Agreement for preliminary testing. This is followed by custom, non-exclusive licensing agreements tailored to your needs. For further details, reach out to us at or via the contact form below.

Supplied as

Each license includes 1 vial of >0.5Mio viable cells. Additional or replacement vials can be purchased for a fee of 450€.

Catalog Number
Features and Applications
  • TG secretion
  • TSHR expression
  • TPO expression in 3D culture
Price Non-Profit (Academic Research)
Price For-Profit (Commercial Research)
Evaluation: 3500€ (3 Months) / 5000€ (6 Months)
Product Sheet
Limited Research Use License

Product Details

CI-huThyrECs at low and high confluency, cultured in huThyrEC Medium (Cat.-No. INS-ME-1017) on Epithelial Cell Coating Solution (Cat. No. INS-SU-1020) as a 2D monolayer.

Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for comprehensive details on our cell line characteristics and corresponding protocols, which will be available here shortly.

  • Product Sheet including all relevant protocols and instructions (PDF)
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (PDF)
  • Request CoA (Email)

Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for comprehensive protocols for this cell line, from routine cell cultures to assay manuals.

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for comprehensive protocols for this cell line, from routine cell cultures to assay manuals.

We recommend the following reagents for the cell culture of this cell line:

Growth Medium: huThyrEC Medium (INS-ME-1017)

Coating: Epithelial Cell Coating Solution (INS-SU-1020)

Freezing Medium: Freezing Medium A (INS-SU-1004)

Please note that while you may be able to adapt the cells to different cell culture reagents, we can only guarantee optimal performance using the recommended reagents.

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Medium kit for culture of immortalized thyrocytes.

  • Thyrocyte culture
  • Medium kit
  • 500ml
More details
and prices ->

Coating Solution for culture of immortalized epithelial cells.

  • Epithelial cell culture
  • Coating solution
  • 50, 100 or 300ml
More details
and prices ->

Medium kit for cryopreservation of immortalized cells.

  • Cryopreservation Medium
  • Ready-to-use
  • 30ml
More details
and prices ->

Product FAQ

Most likely yes, albeit in minimal quantities and specifically under 3D culture conditions. The synthesis and secretion of T3 and T4 thyroid hormones necessitate a complex 3D structure (follicular lumen), alongside the precise spatial arrangement of various proteins. Some of our academic partners have shown thyroid hormone levels in the lower nanogram per milliliter range when the huThyrECs were stimulated with TSH and cultured in conditions that more closely mimic physiological environments, incorporating both a suitable medium and 3D culturing. Should you have further inquiries or wish to delve deeper into this subject, please feel free to reach out to us.

No, our huThyrEC Medium (Cat. No. INS-ME-1017) does not contain TSH.

The h7H medium is a published medium formulation that is modelled after reference values for human serum of the Mayo Clinic. It has been successfully used to culture primary human thyroid cells. Our CI-huThyrECs can also be cultured in h7H medium and this can lead to an improved thyroid phenotype. However, the medium formulation is quite convoluted and likely contains several components that are not necessary for obtaining a good thyroid phenotype.

Please note that the published h7H recipe does already contain TSH at a final concentration of 40miliU/l, in contrast to our huThyrEC Medium, which does not contain any TSH.

TPO expression has been demonstrated by our colleagues from academia (see Jun et al. 2023 in the Literature and References section), however only in significant amounts in 3D cell culture. Gravina and colleagues (2023) have used lentiviral overexpression of TPO in our CI-huThyrECs to achieve high enough levels in standard 2D monolayer culture.

Yes, a variety of 3D cell culture models have been described for our huThyrECs, including:

  • culture as spheroids on low attachment plates,
  • culture as spheroids im Matrigel
  • culture in 3D aggregates using advanced materials


All these cell culture systems have been established by our colleagues from varius research labs. Please see the Literature and Reference section for papers that provide detailed protocols for each of the 3D cell culture systems.

For the best performance of this cell line, we advise using our Medium and Coating Solutions specified in the product sheet. These have been specially optimized for these cells. While it may be possible to adapt the cells to a different medium, we cannot assure their optimal performance outside our recommended Medium and Coating Solution. To validate any new culturing conditions, we suggest conducting comparative tests with our recommended protocols to confirm the cells‘ expected behavior.

All our cell lines were immortalized using our custom library of immortalization genes. This library contains a combination of specifically selected immortalization genes encoded in lentiviruses. For a detailed description of our immortalization technology refer to Lipps et al. Nat comm vol. 9,1 994. 2018.

Firstly, it is worth mentioning that passage number is not always a reliable indicator of cell ageing due to its dependence on variables like seeding densities and split ratios. However, they can provide useful guidance in routine cell culture.

Our cell lines are truly immortalized, allowing for indefinite culturing. Nonetheless, we advise caution beyond passage 50. While more stable than typical cancer cell lines, our cells can still undergo changes with prolonged culture. We recommend periodically assessing cell performance after passage 50.

Typically, our immortalized cells are provided at passages 5 to 15. To avoid running out of material, we suggest banking cells immediately after initial expansion. This strategy ensures you always have sufficient cells for your research.

Should there be any concerns about depleting your cell stock, you have the option to order a new vial of cells as a replacement for a handling fee.

This cell line is BSL 1 according to German legislation. However, persons working with such cell lines and their employers are required to familiarize themselves with the national regulations and safety precautions, as they may differ. Our provided biosafety classification does not provide any exemption from this responsibility. 

Yes, you can use our immortalized cell lines for commercial purposes with the appropriate license. We provide an initial evaluation phase for our cell lines at a flat fee of €3,500 for a 3-month license, or €5,000 for a 6-month license. During this period, use of the cells is limited to internal research, development, and validation.

For commercial use beyond the evaluation phase, we offer various licensing options, such as:

  • Internal research and development
  • CRO license (providing research services to third parties)
  • Assay license


Please contact us to find the licensing option that best fits your needs.

Our immortalized cell lines are fully characterized and can be expanded indefinitely, making them a one-time purchase for perpetual use. This differs from primary cells, which are consumables you would need to repurchase. The licensing model not only respects the perpetual use value but also allows us to adjust fees based on your specific use case. Consider two scenarios: Customer A wants the cells for a single assay at one site for a limited time, while Customer B plans to use them globally across multiple sites for drug discovery and additionally transfer them to a CRO. Charging both customers the same one-time fee would not account for the vastly different use cases. That’s why our license fees are tailored to fit your unique needs.

Literature and Reference

Hopperstad, Kristen et al. “Characterization of Novel Human Immortalized Thyroid Follicular Epithelial Cell Lines.” Applied in vitro toxicology vol. 7,2 (2021): 39-49. doi:10.1089/aivt.2020.0027

Gravina, Alessia et al. “Protection of cell therapeutics from antibody-mediated killing by CD64 overexpression.” Nature biotechnology vol. 41,5 (2023): 717-727. doi:10.1038/s41587-022-01540-7

Jun, Indong et al. “Thyroid-Friendly Soft Materials as 3D Cell Culture Tool for Stimulating Thyroid Cell Function.” Small vol. 19,25 (2023): e2300236. doi:10.1002/smll.202300236

We love to hear about your research! Please let us know if you have published using our cells.