We have studied 25 clinically euthyroid patients with eyelid lag and retraction referred to thyroid/eye clinic for clinical and orbital imaging evidence of extraocular eye muscle (EM) involvement, evidence of progressive ophthalmopathy and serum antibodies reactive with EM membrane antigens in immunoblotting. Fourteen patients had Graves' hyperthyroidism, 5 had Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and 6 had euthyroid Graves' disease. By carrying out orbital imaging we showed EM abnormalities in 10 of 23 patients (43%). Serum antibodies reactive with EM membrane antigens were detected in 96% of patients. Antibodies reactive with a 64 kDa antigen were detected in 66% of patients, while those reactive with 35-, 55-, and 95-kDa antigens were found in 21, 33, and 25% of patients, respectively. Antibody prevalences compared to normals were significantly different (P <0.005) only for the 64-kDa protein. The prevalence and the degree of reactivity of 64-kDa antibodies were significantly different in patients with abnormal EM compared to those with normal EM at orbital imaging (P <0.04 and P <0.01, respectively). The results of this work suggest that in some patients inflammation of the eyelid muscles may be an isolated feature of ophthalmopathy and remains as the only sign of a 'subclinical' eye disease in patients with thyroid autoimmunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine