ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2011) 25 CM1.1

Autoimmune hyperthyroidism: a spectrum of causes

S Pearce1,2

1Institute of Human Genetics, International Centre for Life, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3BZ, UK; 2Endocrine Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK.

Autoimmune hyperthyroidism has a complex aetiology including both environmental and inherited components. Amongst the environmental factors that are well documented to be important are smoking and stressful life events. The prevalence of all forms of autoimmune hyperthyroidism is known to be higher in women, but the effects of oestrogen are complex: the combined oral contraceptive pill protecting against Graves’ disease, whereas pregnancy predisposes. Autoimmune hyperthyroidism also occurs in rare individuals during recovery from an immunosuppressed state due to HIV infection or following alemtuzumab treatment. Genomic factors that are well documented include predisposing alleles at the MHC, CTLA4 and PTPN22 loci. Other candidate genes that have a role include TSHR. Recent genome-wide linkage studies have also shown several other loci with weak effects that appear to contribute, including PTPN2 and CD226.

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