It is well known that the thyroid gland can be seriously damaged by chronic hypoxia and secondary hemosiderosis in thalassemic patients. In order to evaluate the thyroid function and the eventual level of the damage we have studied total and free plasma thyroid hormones, thyroglobulin (hTG), reverse T3 (rT3), TSH, antithyroglobulin, antimicrosoma and anti-TSH receptors antibodies in 37 thalassemic clinically euthyroid patients aged 16-32. No patient presented goitre. In 8/37 cases a compensated subclinical hypothyroidism was diagnosed (exaggerated and prolonged TSH response in the presence of normal thyroid hormone levels). 15 patients were revaluated after follow-up of 4 years. Normalization of the response was observed in two out of three of the hyperresponsive cases at the first test. No other patient showed the appearance of hypothyroidism at the follow up. In 22/37 cases hTG levels were higher than normal; in 19/37 patients high levels of antimicrosomal antibodies were found without evidence of hypothyroidism independently of serum ferritin levels. Thyroid antibodies in thalassemic patients are not associated with altered thyroid functions; they might be interpreted as the expression of a more complex immunological disorder, perhaps related to the chronic antigenic stimulation caused by blood transfusions.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Italian Journal of Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 1987|
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