L-Thyroxine therapy induces a fall of thyroid microsomal and thyroglobulin antibodies in idiopathic myxedema and in hypothyroid, but not in euthyroid Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

L. Chiovato, C. Marcocci, S. Mariotti, A. Mori, A. Pinchera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Thyroid microsomal (MAb) and thyroglobulin (TgAb) antibodies were sequentially measured by sensitive and quantitative radioassays in 17 patients with goitrous Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (9 hypothyroid, 8 euthyroid) and in 19 patients with idiopathic myxedema before and at various time intervals up to 24–48 months after the institution of L-thyroxine therapy. Thyroid antibodies were also determined in 5 euthyroid subjects with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis maintained without treatment for a similar period. During L-thyroxine administration a reduction of MAb with respect to the pretreatment level was found in 6 of the 9 (67%) hypothyroid patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and in 16 of the 19 (84%) patients with idiopathic myxedema. The decrease of MAb was highly significant in both groups (p <0.001 and p <0.0001, respectively). A fall of TgAb occurred in 2 of the 3 patients (75%) with hypothyroid Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and in 9 of the 10 (90%, p <0.001) patients with idiopathic myxedema having abnormally elevated pretreatment TgAB levels. No consistent pattern of MAb and TgAb changes was observed in the euthyroid subjects with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, whether treated or untreated. In the hypothyroid patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis a significant association was found between the decrease of MAb and the reduction of goiter size (p <0.05) occurring during L-thyroxine administration. Moreover, the decrease of MAb and TgAb in idiopathic myxedema was greater (p <0.05) in the patients with normalized serum TSH (≤ 4 μU/ml) than in those showing only a partial reduction of serum TSH (> 4 μU/ml) under L-thyroxine. It is suggested that the decrease of thyroid antibodies during L-thyroxine therapy could be due to a reduced antigen availability to the immune system, resulting from a decreased stimulation of thyroid tissue by circulating TSH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1986

Keywords

  • euthyroidism
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • hypothyroidism
  • idiopathic myxedema
  • L-thyroxine therapy
  • Microsomal antibody
  • thyroglobulin antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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