Anti-thyroid antibodies and thyroid dysfunction in rheumatoid arthritis: Prevalence and clinical value

Fabiola Atzeni, Andrea Doria, Anna Ghirardello, Maurizio Turiel, Alberto Batticciotto, Mario Carrabba, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess thyroid function as well as the prevalence and clinical value of anti-thyroid antibodies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: Seventy patients with active RA (ACR criteria), 9 males and 61 females, mean age 47 years (range 15-77) were analyzed. Anti-thyroperoxidase (TPOAb) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) were tested using radioimmunoassay. Free thyroxine (FT4) and free triiodothyronine (FT3) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) serum levels were measured using electro-immunochemiluminescence (ECLIA, Elecsys Roche). Clinical variables, including tender and swollen joint count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody (anti-CCP) and antinuclear antibodies (ANA) were also evaluated. Statistics were performed by the SPSS statistical software for Windows. Results: Twenty-six patients (37%) with RA were positive for TPOAb and 16 (23%) for TgAb. In 5 (7.1%) patients TSH level was slightly elevated, ranging between 4.52 and 15.65 UI/ml. The increase of TSH levels was associated with normal FT4 in 3 cases (4.2%) and with reduced FT4 in 2 cases (2.8%). One patient (1.5%) had low TSH serum value along with normal FT4. No differences in clinical and serological data between anti-thyroid positive and negative patients were observed. Conclusion: Our study shows an increased prevalence of anti-thyroid antibodies in RA patients with a low prevalence of hormonal alterations. However, anti-thyroid antibodies do not seem to identify any peculiar RA phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • Anti-thyroid antibodies
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Organ-specific antibodies
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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