Reference intervals for thyrotropin in an area of Northern Italy: the Pordenone thyroid study (TRIPP)

R. Tozzoli, F. D’Aurizio, P. Metus, A. Steffan, C. Mazzon, M. Bagnasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Thyrotropin (TSH) is the most accurate marker of thyroid dysfunction in the absence of pituitary or hypothalamic disease. Studies on TSH reference intervals (RIs) showed wide inter-individual variability and prompted an intense debate about the best estimation of TSH RIs. Design: We performed a population study on TSH RIs, using current data stored in the laboratory information system (LIS), at the Hospital Department of Laboratory Medicine, Pordenone (Italy), historically an area of mild–moderate iodine deficiency with a relatively high goiter prevalence. Methods: 136,650 individuals constituted the final sample. A TSH immunoassay was performed on fasting serum samples with the Dimension Vista 1500 analyzer (Siemens Healthineers). We adopted the Kairisto’s procedure to analyze TSH data downloaded by the LIS, applying the indirect strategy for deriving RIs. Results: TSH RIs of the entire population were 0.32–3.36 mIU/L with a distribution skewed towards higher values. RIs were 0.26–3.61 mIU/L for females, and 0.32–3.01 mIU/L for males. Unlike other studies, TSH median levels progressively decreased from 0–4 to 85–104 years in the overall population, both in male and in female subgroups, showing an inverse correlation between TSH and age in all groups. Conclusions: This study is the first to analyze a high percentage (40%) of individuals from an ethnically homogenous Caucasian population. The results obtained emphasize the opportunity to define the TSH RIs according to age, gender and race, in addition to assay methods, and provide further insight about the possible role of iodine status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-994
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Age
  • Iodine status
  • Reference intervals
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Thyrotropin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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