Search:

Home
Search by Author
Newly Added Articles and Research  
Publications  
 

International/National Links and Networking

Contact Us/Send Comments 

Member's Login: Password Required

  The Thyroid Part I
  

<< back

By: Matthias Girke
(Original title: Die Schilddruese. Merkurstab 1995; 48 404-16. English by A. R. Meuss, FIL, MTA. Part I of a series. References in Part II.)

The organization of the thyroid may be characterized as a field of tension between the dim level of consciousness in the life of the organism and the life of soul and spirit which evolves from it. This clearly reveals the biased nature of a reductionist approach which limits itself to phenomena that can be described in terms of physiology and biochemistry, leaving aside the very real aspects of the human soul and spirit.

Below, an attempt will be made to show the essential nature of the thyroid and its diseases, using an approach that includes the different aspects of the human being. Clinical approaches may be developed out of this.

The image of the thyroid organization
Organization of human glands
Two areas of opposite embryologic origin can be defined in the organization of human glands - endocrine and exocrine (Fig. 1). Exocrine glands relate to the outside world, a relationship shown in the morphology of many embryonic gestures of invagination. The functional processes of glands with incretory activity, from autocrine to paracrine and finally endocrine secretion, are directed to the blood and, thus, the internal human being. In this sense, the organization of human glands shows differentiation between relation to the outside world in exocrine glands and to the internal world in the endocrine system. Embryogenetically the thyroid appears to seek a relationship to both spheres. Initially an endodermal diverticulum evaginates (thyroglossal duct). Cell proliferation soon closes the lumen as the laterally symmetrical butterfly-like double-lobed form evolves. A primordium morphologically similar to the exocrine glands clearly develops in an inward direction to become follicular and an endocrine gland. The image which results is substantiated by phylogenetic aspects suggesting an exocrine precursor. The special position held by thyroid hormones which, remarkably enough, may be absorbed intestinally and take effect by this route throws a special light on this. Does this morphologic gesture suggest a corresponding soul gesture, with a soul which is still asleep and whose home is at the periphery taken into the enlivened organism as it wakes up?








Fig. 1. Polar qualities in glandular organization


Larval metamorphosis
The animal world shows a quality of thyroid organization that goes in this direction. The role the thyroid and its hormones play in amphibian metamorphosis has been known for a long time. Larval metamorphosis involves a number of steps. Thyroid activity influences these in a complex way, causing their acceleration.

The eggs are laid in strings or clusters in the water and then fertilized. The larva (tadpole) is still fish-like as it emerges, with no limbs but a strong tail to assist movement in the water. Respiration is through gills. As metamorphosis begins, the tail regresses, and it is interesting to note how the limbs develop. The gills disappear, and pulmonary respiration develops. The creature is then able to leave the watery element and turn to the air as it reaches solid ground. It seems that an evolutional step from the long-distant past is recapitulated on the small scale. Entering into the airy element, the potential arises to give expression to soul qualities in sound. Independent mobility, which distinguishes the animal from the merely living plant, becomes the external instrument for the inner soul dynamics that live in the changing drives and desires as the tail is resorbed and the limbs develop. This extensive change in external habit goes hand in hand with major changes in the internal organs. Gill breathing, which is still close to nutrition and belongs to the watery realm, changes to become pulmonary breathing with the potential for expression in sound. The males of some frog species have vocal sacs which serve as resonators to reinforce the sounds they produce. Coming from the respiratory sphere, the sound shows closeness to the sphere of soul life. The language of form metamorphosis on transition from water to the airy element reveals how the animal soul becomes active, changing the organism. The fish organism seeks to relate to the life organization of water; "the frog has part in the astrality that exists everywhere."
 
Larval metamorphosis is markedly influenced by the thyroid organization. The latter is further illumined by the latter and reveals its connection with the soul principle endowing the living organism. Below an attempt will be made to look at the three different spheres of the human organism to see if an image can be gained for the human thyroid organization.

The soul's awakening in the threefold organism
Significance of thyroid organization for development and function of metabolism and limbs
In the days before neonates were screened for hypothyroidism, the role the thyroid played in creating the human form was often evident. Early hypothyroidism, first of all, means growth retardation. Proportion is lost, with the form remaining distinctly infantile, in contrast to pituitary dwarfism where the proportions correspond to age. The transition from the child's form, with the emphasis on the head organization, to later body proportions is disturbed as the system of limbs develops. Endochondral growth of the long bones is particularly affected. Periosteal growth and dermal bone development, on the other hand, are largely independent of thyroid hormone. Disproportionate growth deficiency with short extremities is therefore typical of childhood hypothyroidism. Conversely, these changes in the human form show thyroid function to be connected with soul nature entering and developing into the organism. Soul nature develops the extremities to be tools of the will that will allow it to reveal itself in gestures and actions. It seems that the thyroid organization has similar significance for muscle development. All voluntary movements are slowed down with hypothyroidism, with noticeable aggravation of the condition in the cold. The temperature of the muscles is said to be 1.1 degrees C lower. Muscular reflexes seem prolonged, with contraction slowed down. Again we perceive the great significance the thyroid has for the process in which the human soul and spirit connects with the movement organization.

Although the whole spectrum of the muscular system in the human organism is influenced by the thyroid, the phenomenon of disproportionate dwarfism seems to show that the gland has a special significance for the locomotor organization. We perceive a threefold organization in the human movement organism (Fig. 2).









Fig. 2. Threefold aspects of human movement organization.



Striated muscles capable of voluntary innervation are essentially represented in the extremities. Their movements can be structured by visualizing an action and with intentions which encompass the purpose of the action as we have it in our thoughts. The soul gives expression to will intent, seeking to come close to the world of thoughts and ideas, i.e. waking consciousness. The thought-determined motive, a phenomenon of waking consciousness, is brought to realization in purposeful action in a movement that is shrouded in unconsciousness. If, on the other hand, we consider the smooth muscle found in the hollow organs of the human organism, for instance, it is still possible to see a connection with soul life, but no more voluntary innervation. The movement organization has therefore left its immediate vicinity to the waking conscious sphere of the soul in turning to the metabolic organization which is essentially shrouded in a level of consciousness that is close to sleep.

In striated, voluntarily innervated musculature that is unmistakably looking for a relationship to the wide-awake conscious idea of an action, the movement organization finds an anatomic connection to the hardening quality of bone in its ossary insertion. Smooth musculature does not have this relation to bone. In the respiratory organization contact still exists to cartilaginous structures, in the cardiac skeleton a relationship to connective tissue emerges; in the gastrointestinal tract, finally, connective tissue quality seeking to harden restrains itself, with the exception of individual structural elements in the extracellular matrix. Instead, this becomes a region of intense metabolic dynamics! The myocardium holds a middle position between striated and smooth muscle, as is evident from the histology. Macroscopically, too, the hollow organ aspect of ventricular muscles relates to the axial quality of papillary muscles and tendinous chords, which is reminiscent of the locomotor system. If the play of movement in the intestinal hollow organ musculature is marked by subconscious, dull metabolic will qualities, the rhythmic sequence of movements in the heart reflects the many colors we have in our feelings. The striated axial muscles of the extremities, finally, can come close to the world of thoughts and ideas with intentional movements. Going from intestinal hollow organ musculature to myocardium and then striated muscles in the limb organization we see progressive waking up in the movement system, the will elements of which can only be structured by thought and ideal elements. With reference to these stages, Rudolf Steiner spoke of an "external" or "waking" will activity opposing the "internal" will activity which is also found in the internal processes of the organism during sleep. This aspect clearly does not touch the sleep-conscious quality of the will.

Looking back to the thyroid organization, we see a connection between it and the soul coming awake in the movement organization.

How does thyroid quality take effect in the human metabolic system? Hypothyroidism goes hand in hand with reduced intestinal motility, clinically resulting in anything from mild constipation to "paralytic ileus" and intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Electric and motor activity of the stomach, intestinal tract and colon are reduced. Again, the soul organization which brings in movement has withdrawn. At the same time, the warmth which supports the higher aspects of the human being in the metabolic system withdraws, with generation of warmth reduced in liver and intestinal tract.

What kind of picture may be gained from this phenomenology, which leads to muscular hypotension in the metabolic system? Interdigestive motility is characterized by a rhythmic time form. Motor rest represents phase 1. It goes hand in hand with secretory "rest" - movement and secretory functions altogether show distinct coupling in many phenomena. In phase 2, activity is irregular, and phase 3 is a short interval of regular, powerful contractions propagating in the aboral direction. After a short, intermediary phase 4, the cycle is repeated. It occurs both in the stomach and the whole of the small intestine. Starting from movement phenomena we can extend our view to the soul sphere of the human being. What dependencies are found here? The phase of motor rest is dominant in sleep with the above cycle taking up 70 - 80%. At the same time, exocrine glandular activity, the process of "secretion to the outside", is at a minimum. In anabolic metabolism, the functions serving intestinal catabolism are calmed during sleep. When the soul awakens and daytime orientation ensues, movement and secretory quality develops in the gastrointestinal tract. Phase 1, functional rest, is reduced to 5-15% of the time required for the cycle during waking hours.

This quality of waking up, not only in the daily alternation of sleeping and waking phases but also in the transition from hypothyroid to euthyroid organism, is a special aspect. We have spoken of a waking-up process in the movement sphere in connection with voluntary intentional movement of the limbs. Here, something similar comes to realization for the metabolic system. In the anabolic night-time metabolism, the exocrine glandular functions that serve intestinal catabolism are calmed. With the soul awakening and gaining its day-time orientation, movement and secretory quality develop in the gastrointestinal tract - the "awakening" of limbs and metabolism.

Significance of thyroid/or human rhythmic organization
Blood and respiration
A different quality may be found if we consider the fluid organism, which is modified by the thyroid in a number of ways. Interstitial fluid bears the imprint of tissue metabolic activity. Its differentiated micro-anatomy shows connections to lymph channels via tissue spaces. This means a vascular system evolving from almost all tissues in the human organism that does not yet have a central organ. The gesture of form we have is a flowing movement that may be said to be oriented centripetally from the periphery. The lymph organization is seen to be largely included in the vital process of the metabolic sphere; the blood - as may be seen from its phylogenesis and differentiated, rhythmically-differentiated dynamics - shows a direct connection with the life of the human soul. The fluid organism turns from the vitality of the tissues to the awakening soul and spirit.

What significance does the thyroid have in this context? Let us again begin with the functional situation in hypothyroidism. This involves generalized accumulation of water, salts, mucopolysaccharides and proteins in the interstitial fluid coming to expression in edema of the whole skin. Elevated capillary permeability results in the accumulation of plasma proteins in interstitial space and hence insufficient increase in lymphatic resorption. Parving postulates reduced tissue mobility and possibly also reduced lymphatic contraction as factors in this, and therefore interprets the resulting myxedema as a generalized lymphedema. The development of myxedema is linked with a reduction in plasma volume. A reduction in blood quality may be seen not only in this respect. Hypothyroidism frequently also involves hypoplastic anemia which is seen as adaptation to reduced tissue oxygen requirements. Conversion of red to yellow bone marrow has been described. Morphological changes that emphasize this reduction in blood quality also seem probable. The number and diameter of capillaries is said to decrease in the capillary region. The heart is also involved, with cardiomyopathy developing, sometimes with cardiomegaly and reduced contractility. In an organism affected by hypothyroidism, the going to sleep of soul powers is accompanied by loss of warmth quality and the above-mentioned accumulation of lymphatic fluid. With euthyroidism and especially hyperthyroidism, the awakening of the soul goes hand in hand with increased generation of warmth. Compensation of manifest hypothyroidism involves elimination of large volumes of fluids. The awakening of the soul is linked with a particular development of the blood organization as evident from increased blood volume, sometimes stimulation of erythropoietin production and increased hemodynamics. The thyroid organization thus relates to the transition from a dull state of consciousness in the lymphatic region to an awakening activity in soul and spirit that has shown itself to be connected with blood quality.

A similar picture can be seen to exist for the respiratory organization. The main phenomenon in this sphere has already been mentioned. Metamorphosis from gill to lung breathing is seen in larval development. A respiratory function that is still connected with food intake and at home in the watery element evolves as access is gained to the air with lung breathing. This marks the transition from a vital process in the sphere of dim consciousness to being ensouled, which comes to expression in the production of sound. Human thyroid hormones are said to promote maturation of the lungs and increase surfactant production, for instance.

In line with this function, the thyroid is positioned near the larynx, where respiratory activity can be enhanced to become production of sound and speech sound. This shows it to be an organ imbued with sound quality. Its function is crucial not only for lung maturation but also for sound production. We see this seriously inhibited in the deep "myxedema voice" that develops with hypothyroidism. Inadequate thyroid function appears to involve a regression of soul-revealing sound production. With congenital hypothy-roidism, the ear may also be seriously affected, with deafness quite common. In animal experiments, the organ of Corti was found to be insufficiently developed with hypothyroidism. The syndromes are mirror images reflecting an inner, functional connection between thyroid and laryngeal organization to match the anatomical relationship. Continuation of the vital process of respiration in the larynx brings the evolution of sound and soul to revelation, finally letting the word arise from the death process of exhaled air, developing birth and germinal quality. In the same way the warming and soul-developing activity of the thyroid organization struggles up from the dim life of the organism, far removed from the conscious level, that wants to make it fall into heaviness as with hypothyroidism.

Finally, we consider the organization which shapes the breath that has begun to sound in the larynx to create the word. Here, too, we can recognize the essential significance of the thyroid. Early hypothyroidism has frequently been diagnosed by the macroglossia. This change in the tongue points to a developmental arc extending between two polar extremes that determines tongue function. The tongue initially has significance as a muscular organ in connection with the mechanical breaking down of food and the act of swallowing. Here, we have a quality that both morphologically and functionally places it in the sphere of the metabolic system in the upper gastrointestinal tract. On the other hand, the tongue, capable of differentiated movement and with a differentiated anatomical structure, serves to shape the breath that is given sound in the larynx to create speech sounds and words. It therefore belongs to the part of the human organization through which man is able to give expression to his inwardness. In the case of hypothyroidism this higher plane is abandoned, with the enlarged tongue dropping down to the level of a metabolic organ.

With reference to the respiratory organization, we can thus see thyroid activity to have three aspects: firstly differentiated maturation of the lung itself. Secondly, exhalation is enhanced to become sound through the laryngeal organization. Out of a vital process that is part of respiration evolves its nearness to human soul nature. Respiration becomes a vehicle for soul qualities. Finally, in the spoken word the human spirit can ring out in the world.

Significance of thyroid organization/or the human neurosensory system
The loss of hearing which may occur with congenital hypothyroidism points to the significance thyroid function has in the sensory organization. The endocrine ophthalmopathy seen with various thyroid conditions also points in that direction. Rudolf Steiner spoke of this in connection with Basedow's disease. It will be considered in the discussion of immunogenic thyroid diseases.

The nervous system itself also shows changes that depend on thyroid function. In animal experiments the hypothyroid state involves reduced cerebral weight and infantile proportions. The nuclei and dendrites of nerve cells are said to be reduced in both size and volume. Myelinization is reported to be delayed, with fewer dendritic branches. It is also stated that the number of capillaries in the cortex is reduced. Differentiated maturation of the nervous system to develop the organ supporting waking consciousness is clearly connected with thyroid function. Again manifest hypothyroidism provides a telling example as it involves problems with waking up and sleep phases sometimes greatly extended. It is interesting to note that the cerebrospinal fluid, normally clear, with low protein concentrations, shows high protein concentrations, losing an aspect that makes it the polar opposite of the lymph in the metabolic system. Other examples also exist to show that a crystal-clear cerebrospinal fluid relates to waking consciousness in man, with clarity of thought, and that this quality is lost with some diseases where consciousness is reduced.

The nature of the awakening process in the soul organization
Above, we have considered the ensouling of the human organism in conjunction with thyroid quality. Capacity for soul qualities and conscious awareness struggles to evolve from an organization that is merely living. "More highly developed perception shows that the principle which again and again awakens life from the state of unconsciousness is the third aspect of the essential human being." As we wake up, the astral organization abandons its night-time constellation, which serves to build up the organism, and turns to its day-time constellation. Two polarities can be discerned in its activity: on one hand, the consciousness orientation on the basis of the neurosensory system and, on the other, activity in the metabolic and movement system. The astral body seeks to relate at "image" level to the organizational aspect of the neurosensory system; conscious awareness arises on the basis of reduced vitality, with the nervous system developing a differentiated structure and showing connections with sclerosis. As a movement quality, which in every ensouled life form presents as independent movement, astral activity is dynamically related to the movement and muscular organization, representative of the "primary" activity developed in metabolism and limbs. The differentiation within the astral organization seen here fits in with the overall picture of the higher aspects of the human being taking effect with reference to the threefold human organization. Rudolf Steiner described this particularly clearly in his special education lectures.

What is the nature of the awakening process in the human soul organization as far as the thyroid organization is concerned? Considering, for example, the development of the limb organization in larval metamorphosis, the phenomenology we have had so far suggests direct dynamic intervention of the astral principle. The role of the thyroid in certain neuronal differentiation processes also suggests a developmental process, with the fully-formed structure only the outcome. Soul powers coming awake are dynamic qualities struggling out of a vital sphere where consciousness is dimmed. "Pre-conscious" at first, they finally shine out in the neurosensory system and its structuring power. Elements of consciousness arise as qualities of the astral organization which bases on the neurosensory system. As the still "pre-conscious" soul powers differentiate out from the elements of consciousness which are gaining contour, we have a microcosmic image of the essential characteristics of light. The sickle moon appears in the evening sky as a light-reflecting body; sunlight nature, which provides the light, remains unseen. The thyroid organization is connected with the process in which powers of consciousness that are as yet invisible struggle to emerge from the living organism. It seeks to take it into a waking-up process and so develops the gesture of "wanting to become a head". Thyroid - a brain not taken to its conclusion, or an "organ of thought that belongs more to the thoracic human being" - is how Rudolf Steiner put it.

In the threefold organism, thus, we have a threefold awakening at different levels of consciousness, a threefold "creation of light" in a thought-structured will intent that has left behind a metabolic organization far removed from the conscious state, letting powers of feeling and finally powers of thought wake up.

The quality of "creating light" is connected with the thyroid's relation to the warmth organism. The light seems to struggle forth from the warmth processes connected with the thyroid. A characteristic of the thyroid that has already been mentioned seems significant in this respect: guiding the soul into the living organism. The vegetative warmth in which the organic life of plants can develop has the Sun as its source. Light and warmth coming from the periphery take hold of the living organism. Humans as life forms endowed with soul and spirit also depend on this peripheral warmth. Beyond this, inherent warmth develops in functional relationship to the thyroid. Life is warmed through inwardly. The light that arises inwardly struggles forth from this in conjunction with the thyroid activity we have discussed; an inner Sun shines out toward the outer Sun.

The thyroid in the threefold organism
Hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis
Thyroid function is part of a finely-tuned regulatory system frequently called
the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis. For a number of reasons it will be helpful to extend this in order to reach the tissue level where conversion of T4 to T3 occurs in the form of 5-de-iodination of L-thyroxine, an important step with reference to thyroid activity. T3 is the hormone important for metabolic thyroid activity. Only c. 15% of it are produced in the thyroid itself, the rest, i.e. the greater part, outside it. It is estimated that c. 32% of extrathyroid thyroxine is found in the liver, with de-iodination yielding the major part of daily T3 production. The liver, a central organ in the metabolic system, is thus the major site for T3 production.

Extending the thyroid axis to include the liver also shows the axis to be part of the threefold organism. The neurosensory organization includes structures of the hypothalamus (TRH) and pituitary (TSH) which are essential for thyroid function. The thyroid itself is located in the region of the laryngeal and respiratory organization, that is, close to rhythmic processes. The level of its metabolic activity is only reached through de-iodination, which happens mainly in the liver. The usual interpretation of the thyroid axis brings it close to the motor nerve concept: central impulses govern peripheral processes. Correction of this model is one of the basic elements in anthroposophic medicine. Movement-inducing and dynamic quality, an expression of human soul and spirit nature, lies in the movement organization itself and is merely shaped and structured by the nerve organization. The nerve-related aspects of the thyroid axis therefore serve to structure and shape its activity.

If we go beyond this and consider the full spectrum of pituitary endocrine function, it is seen to hold significance for vital processes such as reproduction, growth, and secretion, which are shaped by that function while their actions are supported by the life organization. The etheric organization brings its vitality to expression in the many vital processes in the organism, creating the "synthesizing" structure it needs to shape them in specific areas of the nervous system. Again, we have both structuring and process quality. Mono-de-iodination may serve as a key example here, as conversion varies for different tissues and is therefore not only dependent on the impulse from the thyroid axis.

Reduced activity of the metabolic pole is seen in "low-T3 syndrome", when conversion of T4 into T3 is clearly below normal. The syndrome may develop with conditions characterized by limitation of the system of limbs and metabolism (e.g. cirrhosis of the liver, severe kidney disease, anorexia nervosa).

The functional relationship which has been described places the thyroid within the polarity of neurosensory system on one hand and metabolism and limbs on the other, as shown in the case of the liver. What are the metamorphoses to be discerned here?

Rudolf Steiner referred to the metamorphotic relationship of liver and lung, the phenomenology of which is easily apparent. This can be taken further to include the sense organs of the head organization, the activity of which conies close to the respiratory process. In the liver, the receptive gesture of portal vein blood is the opposite of the secretory gesture of biliary function. Here, we have a quality in the fluid organism that may be compared to inhalation and exhalation. Rising up to the lung, the breathing rhythm no longer comes to realization in the fluid element but in air. In the sensory organization, finally, a subtle breathing rhythm can be seen in the interplay of selfless receptivity and active organizing processes, now in the quality we have in sensory perception which awakens conscious awareness and in this sense relates to light.

This metamorphotic evolution reveals a connection between larynx and biliary organization. The "exhaled" bile is given its structured dynamic by the movement-inducing quality of the gall bladder, the exhaled air by the larynx. Larynx and biliary organization here reveal a deep essential relationship. Rudolf Steiner also referred to this. Considering this essential metamorphosis characteristically shown by the breathing rhythm in its different manifestations and, hence, the relationship of the organism to the outside world, we come to the question of how the thyroid relates to the organism.

In many respects similar to the liver, the thyroid develops from the endodermal cephalogaster. Although there are said to be indications for an exocrine thyroid precursor, the developing thyroid then develops a gesture that is the opposite of that shown by the liver, going "inward" with its endocrine function. The thyroglossal duct usually disappears altogether. Starting from the exocrine gland quality of the liver, we find that thyroid development, also starting from the endoderm, shows transition from an evolving gland that initially appears exocrine to one that is part of the endocrine system.

The metamorphosis of the liver via the lung with its orientation on the outside world, appears to have a continuation in the sensory organization of the head. The metamorphosis of the thyroid, on the other hand, increasingly turns away from the outside world and towards the "inward"-oriented sphere of endocrine glands. It therefore does not connect with the sensory organization; instead, many neuroendocrinologic phenomena, for instance at the hypothalamic and pituitary level, reveal a relationship to the nerve organization. Characterization of the thyroid as a "decadent forebrain" emphasizes this. "You will gain insight into the metamorphotic aspect of the specific features of the thyroid shown in recent physiologic studies if you are able to see the thyroid as a kind of decadent forebrain with functions, as it were, taken over from the forebrain in human beings with their capacity for speech. The thyroid must work together with the forebrain."
 
This seems to show the part the thyroid plays in the essential metamorphosis within the threefold human being which begins in the metabolic system with the liver, continues via the lung, a major representative of the rhythmic organization, and finally reaches the neurosensory system. The senses, opening up to the outside, and the nerve organization which is enclosed by the cranial vault and therefore delimited from the outside world, determine the inner orientation of the metamorphoses we have discussed.

Qualities of the aspects of the human being in the fine-tissue morphology of the thyroid
Above, the significance of the thyroid organization has been related to the whole multi-level nature of the human being. Another aspect is gained if we consider the organ itself.

The thyroid shows a lateral symmetry reminiscent of a butterfly shape. It is enclosed in a connective tissue capsule, with trabeculae-carrying vessels and nerves projecting from this into the internal parts of the organ, dividing it into lobules, especially in the young. The physical organization of the thyroid thus may be said to have morphologic connective-tissue quality. The parenchyma consists of follicles containing colloidal material that are characteristic for the thyroid. The colloidal material is homogeneous, often translucent, its consistency thin or more viscous, depending on the activity phase. In this spherical organization of the thyroid fluid organism, iodine-rich hormones are bound to globulin as a protein quality (thyroglobulin). In conjunction with the processes of colloid synthesis, which are based on the epithelial cells, we perceive the qualities of the etheric organization. Within the








Fig. 3. Histology of thyroid relative to its function. Left: inactive gland with flat follicular epithelium and dominance of the fluid organism (colloidal material). Right: active gland with highly prismatic follicular epithelium and dominance of colloid mobilization5 (With kind permission)


colloidal material the hormones are still within the life organization, which is far removed from conscious awareness and taken up, as it were, into its activity which is at the sleep level of awareness. The cells of the follicular epithelium are generally cubical at the secretory stage and less prismatic than at the discharge stage.

The cells of the follicular epithelium enclose the colloidal material, creating an internal space. Because of their connection with thyroid hormone synthesis and the discharge of the hormones concentrated in the colloid material, they can be seen to relate to the astral organization which serves the waking-up process. The processes of colloid synthesis and the functions serving hormone synthesis and discharge thus reflect the activities of life organization and soul organization respectively. Their mutual relationship comes to expression in the morphology of the organ, which depends on the functional stage, with the emphasis either on colloidal quality or on the follicular epithelium. Looking ahead to the syndromes to be considered later, we see the same differentiation in the emphasis on colloidal matter with struma colloides diffusa on one hand, and follicles with low colloid content in Basedow's disease, for instance, which shows a relationship to the astral organization. The innervation of the thyroid reveals yet another relationship to the astral organization. The follicles of the thyroid are enclosed in a dense network of nerve fibers. Both adrenergic and cholinergic nerve ends have been found in the thyroid. This nerve organization may be assumed to play a role in the structuring and regulation of thyroid activity.

Individual thyroid follicles are covered with a close-meshed net of blood capillaries, so that the blood organization with its function-related dynamic surrounds them spherically. Here we see the relationship to the Ego-organization. The fine-tissue morphology of the thyroid thus reveals the activities of the different aspects of the human being.

Matthias Girke, MD
Community Hospital Havelhoehe
Kladower Damm 221
D-14089 Berlin
Germany







<< back

Dynamic Content Management by ContentTrakker