Endocrine Abstracts (2002) 3 P307

High thyroglobulin autoantibodies in Sri Lankan tamil tea workers exhibit an epitope-recognition pattern distinct from healthy subjects and autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) patients

OE Okosieme1, AB Parkes1, LDKE Premawardhana1, J Ruf2, P Carayon2 & JH Lazarus1

1Department of Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales; 2Labaratoire de Biochimie Medicale, INSERM U38, Faculte de Medicine, Marseilles, France.

Introduction: We recently reported a high prevalence of |TgAb in sera from healthy Sri Lankan subjects. To characterise these further we have studied the reactions of these Abs with Tg in a competitive ELISA with a panel of 10 Tg monoclonal Abs (TgMabs). This is compared to a similar UK population of healthy subjects and AITD patients.

Methods: The sera, all from females, comprised: 1. Healthy SL schoolgirls with high TgAb (HSL; n=33) 2. Healthy SL Tamil Tea Estate Workers with high TgAb (TSL; n=48), 3. Healthy UK subjects with high TgAb (HUK; n=12) 4. AITD patients from UK (AITDUK; n=14) and 5. AITD SL (AITDSL; n=10). Six antigenic clusters (I-VI) were defined by the TgMabs. A percentage inhibition of >70% was taken as complete inhibition and 35-70% as partial inhibition.

Results: AITD sera from both UK and SL patients exhibited the typical epitope restriction pattern, recognising clusters I and IV while HSL and HUK sera did not preferentially recognise any clusters. On the other hand, TSL recognised the autoimmune epitopes I and IV, and in addition, recognised cluster VI significantly more than any other group (P<0.005).

Conclusion: Tamil tea workers recognise an additional epitopic cluster the significance of which remains to be determined.

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