Endocrine ophthalmopathy: A re-evaluation of the association with thyroid autoantibodies

Sandra M. Mclachlan, Rebecca Bahn, Basil Rapoport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Autoantibodies to the three major thyroid autoantigens, the TSH-receptor (TSH-R), thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG), have been investigated in 63 Graves' patients with severe endocrine ophthalmopa-thy. In agreement with other studies. TSH-R antibodies were detectable in 88% of patients and dominated the autoantibody spectrum. TPO antibodies were detectable in 60% of patients and TG antibodies in only 25% of patients. The prevalences. as well as the amounts, of all three thyroid autoantibodies were not significantly different from the values in 51 Graves' patients without clinically significant ophthalmopathy. However, in the subgroup of patients with TG antibodies, the ophthalmopathy patients displayed a shift towards IgG4 TG antibodies. Furthermore, in the same TG antibody positive subgroup, the amount of TSH-R antibody was significantly higher in the ophthalmopathy patients than in Graves' patients without ophthalmopathy. These qualitative differences in thyroid autoantibodies in patients with and without ophthalmopathy raise the possibility that further qualitative differences, such as thyroid autoantibody epitopes. may exist in patients with ophthalmopathy. Our observations. combined with recent evidence for the presence of TSH-R specific mRNA in retro-orbital tissue, suggest that it may be premature to dismiss the potential pathogenetic or diagnostic value of thyroid autoantibodies, particularly TSH-R antibodies. in Graves' ophthalmopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • Graves' ophthalmopathy
  • IgG subclass distribution
  • TG antibody
  • TPO antibody
  • TSH-R antibody
  • Thyroid autoantibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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