Résumé : Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is the major intracellular second messenger of thyrotropin (TSH) action on thyroid cells. It stimulates growth as well as the function and differentiation of cultured thyrocytes. The adenosine A2 receptor, which activates adenylyl cyclase via coupling to the stimulating G protein (Gs), has been shown to promote constitutive activation of the cAMP cascade when transfected into various cell types. In order to test whether the A2 receptor was able to function similarly in vivo and to investigate the possible consequences of permanent adenylyl cyclase activation in thyroid cells, lines of transgenic mice were generated expressing the canine A2 adenosine receptor under control of the bovine thyroglobulin gene promoter. Thyroid-specific expression of the A2 adenosine receptor transgene promoted gland hyperplasia and severe hyperthyroidism causing premature death of the animals. The resulting goitre represents a model of hyperfunctioning adenomas: it demonstrates that constitutive activation of the cAMP cascade in such differentiated epithelial cells is sufficient to stimulate autonomous and uncontrolled function and growth.