The topic of my talk is
"Genetic and Environmental Triggers of Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases".
Autoimmune thyroid diseases are believed to develop as a result of
an interaction between genetic factors and environmental triggers.
This interaction leads to
the final disease phenotype which could be Graves' disease which manifests
clinically by hyperthyroidism or
Hashimoto's thyroiditis which manifests clinically by hypothyroidism.
I will first discuss the environmental triggers of autoimmune thyroid diseases.
I will discuss infection, iodine exposure, stress,
and smoking as triggers of autoimmune thyroid diseases.
I will start by discussing infection.
There is abundant epidemiological evidence for
an infectious trigger of autoimmune thyroid diseases.
For example, in one study from the United Kingdom,
there was seasonality in the presentation of Graves' disease with
more cases appearing in the summer than in other seasons.
In another study, there was evidence for
recent bacterial or viral infection in 36 percent of newly diagnosed Graves' patients.
And in a mouse model of Graves' disease,
it was found that mice bread in
a conventional facility where they are exposed to many infectious agents they developed
higher and more persistent levels of
TSH receptor antibodies compared to mice bread in a pathogen-free facility.