Toxic multinodular goiter is a cause of nonautoimmune hyperthyroidism and is believed to differ in its nature and pathogenesis from toxic adenoma. Gain-of-function mutations of the TSH receptor gene have been identified as a cause of toxic adenoma. The pathogenesis at the molecular level of hyperfunctioning nodules in toxic multinodular goiter has yet not been reported. Six patients with a single hot nodule within a multinodular goiter and 11 patients with toxic thyroid adenoma were enrolled in our study. At histology five hyperfunctioning nodules in multinodular goiters showed the features of adenomas, and one was identified as a hyperplastic nodule. The entire exon 10 of the TSH receptor gene was directly sequenced after PCR amplification from genomic DNA obtained from surgical specimens. Functional studies of mutated receptors were performed in COS-7 cells. Five out of 6 (83%) hyperfunctioning nodules within toxic multi- nodular goiters harbored a TSH receptor mutation. A TSH receptor mutation was also evident in the hyperfunctioning nodule that at histology had the features of noncapsulated hyperplastic nodule. Among toxic adenomas, 8 out of 11 (72%) nodules harbored a TSH receptor mutation. All the mutations were heterozygotic and somatic. Nonfunctioning nodules, whether adenomas or hyperplastic nodules present in association with hyperfunctioning nodules in the same multinodular goiters, had no TSH receptor mutation. All the mutations identified had constitutive activity as assessed by cAMP production after expression in COS-7 cells. Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules in multinodular goiters recognize the same pathogenetic event (TSH receptor mutation) as toxic adenoma. Other mechanisms are implicated in the growth of nonfunctioning thyroid nodules coexistent in the same gland.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism