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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
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ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v14.i2.30
pages 157-191

Autoimmunity against Thyroid Hormones

Shigeki Sakata
The Third Department of Internal Medicine, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu 500, Japan


The presence of thyroid hormone autoantibodies (THAA) is a common phenomenon. More than 270 cases have been reported by the end of 1993 involving not only thyroidal but also nonthyroidal disorders. Clinically, THAA in a patient's serum produces variation in thyroid hormone metabolism and, in particular, may interfere with the radioimmunoassay (RIA) results of total or free thyroid hormone measurements, which can cause unusually high or low values of the hormones depending on the B/F separation method used. This in vitro interference can give clinicians confusing information about the patient’s thyroid state. As a result, the patient may receive inappropriate treatment from physicians who are unaware of this disorder. The presence of THAA has been reported not only in humans but also in dogs, chickens, and rats. In this review article, clinical features of THAA and the mechanism of autoantibody production are discussed.

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