Genetic and environmental triggers of autoimmune thyroid diseases

Published on October 1, 2007 Updated on October 31, 2018   51 min

Other Talks in the Category: Immunology

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The topic of my talk is "Genetic and Environmental Triggers of Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases".
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Genetic and environmental triggers of autoimmune thyroid diseases

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