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Preclinical Models of Graves’ Disease and Associated Secondary Complications

[ Vol. 21 , Issue. 18 ]


Sajad Moshkelgosha, Po-Wah So, Salvador Diaz-Cano and J. Paul Banga   Pages 2414 - 2421 ( 8 )


Autoimmune thyroid disease is the most common organ-specific autoimmune disorder which consists of two opposing clinical syndromes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ (hyperthyroidism) disease. Graves’ disease is characterized by goiter, hyperthyroidism, and the orbital complication known as Graves’ orbitopathy (GO), or thyroid eye disease. The hyperthyroidism in Graves’ disease is caused by stimulation of function of thyrotropin hormone receptor (TSHR), resulting from the production of agonist antibodies to the receptor. A variety of induced mouse models of Graves’ disease have been developed over the past two decades, with some reproducible models leading to high disease incidence of autoimmune hyperthyroidism. However, none of the models show any signs of the orbital manifestation of GO. We have recently developed an experimental mouse model of GO induced by immunization of the plasmid encoded ligand binding domain of human TSHR cDNA by close field electroporation that recapitulates the orbital pathology in GO. As in human GO patients, immune mice with hyperthyroid or hypothyroid disease induced by anti-TSHR antibodies exhibited orbital pathology and chemosis, characterized by inflammation of orbital muscles and extensive adipogenesis leading to expansion of the orbital retrobulbar space. Magnetic resonance imaging of the head region in immune mice showed a significant expansion of the orbital space, concurrent with proptosis. This review discusses the different strategies for developing mouse models in Graves’ disease, with a particular focus on GO. Furthermore, it outlines how this new model will facilitate molecular investigations into pathophysiology of the orbital disease and evaluation of new therapeutic interventions.


Graves’ disease, GO, TSHR


Faculty of Life Science Medicine, King's College London, London, UK.

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