Role of thyroglobulin in the pathogenesis of Graves' ophthalmopathy: The hypothesis of Kriss revisited

Michele Marinò, L. Chiovato, S. Lisi, M. A. Altea, C. Marcocci, A. Pinchera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the hypothesis to explain the pathogenesis of Graves' ophthalmopathy (GO) was formulated by Joseph P. Kriss in the early 1970s. He postulated that the initiating event in the pathogenesis of GO is the deposition and accumulation of thyroglobulin (Tg) in orbital tissues, followed by an autoimmune reaction against Tg. In the last 30 yr several studies have addressed this hypothesis, through various, different experimental approaches, raising results that are both in favor and against the possibility that Tg plays a role in the pathogenesis of GO. The finding that intact Tg is present in orbital tissues of GO patients supports Kriss' hypothesis, although the role of Tg as an autoantigen seems to be unlikely, as GO is not significantly associated with serum TgAb and mice immunized with Tg do not develop GO. Whether Tg is indeed involved in the pathogenesis of GO remains to be established. Our current view is that, provided that Tg plays a role, it is unlikely the only factor involved and Tg in orbital tissues may rather reinforce or worsen a damage initiated by other mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Graves' disease
  • Ophthalmopathy
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Thyroid eye disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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