Humoral thyroid autoimmunity is not involved in the pathogenesis of myxedematous endemic cretinism

L. Chiovato, P. Vitti, G. Bendinelli, F. Santini, E. Fiore, M. Tonacchera, C. Mammoli, A. Capaccioli, S. Venturi, E. Pretell, A. Pinchera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A role of thyroid autoimmunity in the pathogenesis of myxedematous endemic cretinism was suggested by reports indicating the presence of thyroid growth- blocking antibodies in the sera of these patients. To check this hypothesis, we searched for TSH receptor antibodies with thyroid growth-blocking or adenylate cyclase (AC)inhibiting (TSH-blocking) activity in immunoglobulin G (IgG) from 18 euthyroid and 21 hypothyroid endemic cretins living in Italy and Peru. Among hypothyroid cretins, 12 had no palpable goiter. Stage I-III goiters were present in 12 of 18 euthyroid cretins. Controls included 25 euthyroid nongoitrous subjects living in the same endemic regions as cretins, and 10 normal subjects from an iodine-sufficient area. IgG from 4 selected patients with autoimmune atrophic thyroiditis and from 2 neonates with sporadic transient congenital hypothyroidism due to maternal TSH-blocking antibodies were included in the study. The blocking effect of the IgG was assessed in FRTL-5 cells by measuring TSH-stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation, DNA accumulation, and AC activation. A radioreceptor assay was used to detect TSH-binding inhibiting antibodies (TBIAb). No IgG from hypothyroid endemic cretins without goiter contained TBIAb or inhibited TSH- stimulated cell growth or AC activation. The effect of IgG from hypothyroid nongoitrous cretins did not differ from that produced by IgG from hypothyroid cretins with goiter, euthyroid cretins with or without goiter, or normal controls. In contrast to these results, IgG from patients with autoimmune atrophic thyroiditis and from neonates with sporadic transient congenital hypothyroidism contained TBIAb that inhibited both TSH-stimulated cell growth and AC activation. In conclusion, our results indicate that, similar to other types of endemic cretinism, hypothyroid endemic cretins without goiter do not have TSH receptor antibodies able to inhibit TSH-stimulated thyroid cell growth or function. These observations argue against a role of humoral thyroid autoimmunity in the development of myxedematous endemic cretinism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1509-1514
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume80
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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    Chiovato, L., Vitti, P., Bendinelli, G., Santini, F., Fiore, E., Tonacchera, M., Mammoli, C., Capaccioli, A., Venturi, S., Pretell, E., & Pinchera, A. (1995). Humoral thyroid autoimmunity is not involved in the pathogenesis of myxedematous endemic cretinism. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 80(5), 1509-1514.