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Modifications of the Immune Responsiveness in Patients with Autoimmune Thyroiditis: Evidence for a Systemic Immune Alteration

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 24 ]


A. Ciampolillo, E. Guastamacchia, L. Amati, T. Magrone, I. Munno, E. Jirillo, V. Triggiani, R. Fallacara and E. Tafaro   Pages 1946 - 1950 ( 5 )


Hashimotos thyroiditis, the most common form of autoimmune thyroid disease, is characterised by lymphocytic infiltration of the thyroid gland, gradual destruction of the organ and production of thyroid specific auto antibodies (antithyroid peroxidase and antithyroglobulin antibodies). There are evidences that cast doubt on the pathogenetic role of these antibodies in thyroid autoimmunity. It is very likely that cellular destruction is mediated by other cellular mechanisms, such as auto reactive T-lymphocytes, natural killer and cytokines. However, other studies performed in animal models have led to the conclusion that organ specific autoimmune thyroiditis should be regarded as a polygenic disease with a penetrance that is strongly influenced by environmental factors. According to our recent results, patients affected by autoimmune thyroiditis exhibited a decreased percentage of NK and CD25 + bearing cells significantly in comparison to normal controls. Altogether these data indicated that in the patients with autoimmune thyroid disease a certain degree of peripheral immune deficiency was present.


autoimmune thyroiditis, natural killers, immune deficiency


Section of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolic Disease, Department of DETO, Policlinico,P.zza Giulio Cesare 4 70124 Bari, Italy.

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