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Autoimmune thyroid disease Elaine Moore

In autoimmune thyroid disease (AIDT), the immune system mistakenly launches an immune response against the cellular components of the thyroid gland. Autoimmune thyroid disorders include Hashimotos thyroiditis, Graves disease, Hashitoxicosis, atrophic thyroid failure, and thyroid lymphoma.

In Hashimotos thyroiditis, the immune system produces thyroglobulin antibodies and immune system chemicals known as cytokines, which destroy thyroid follicular cells. Over time, this cell loss results in a loss of thyroid function.

In Graves disease, the immune system produces stimulating TSH receptor antibodies (also known as thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins or TSI) that stimulate thyroid cells, ordering them to grow, increase in size, and produce excess thyroid hormone. Thyroglobulin antibodies may also be seen in Graves disease although their titers are considerably lower than those seen in Hashimotos thyroiditis.

In both Hashimotos thyroiditis and Graves disease, the immune system can also produce thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, which are considered to be markers of inflammation.


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