Graves' disease (GD) is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies to the thyrotropin receptor (TSHr). These antibodies bind to the TSHr and stimulate thyroid cells, thus causing hyperthyroidism. To understand the regulation of TSHr-specific immune responses in Graves' disease, it is important to evaluate the T-cell response in patients with GD against TSHr. In this study we used 11 different peptides that were derived from two regions (i.e. amino acid, AA 12-46 and 316-397) unique to the TSHr when compared to other glycoprotein hormone receptors, and which also have the highest predicted immunogenicity. We evaluated both lymphocyte proliferation as a measure of T-cell response and antibody binding to each of these peptides in nine patients with GD and eight healthy subjects. Patients with GD showed considerable lymphocyte proliferative and antibody responses against several of these peptides. There was considerable heterogeneity in immune responses amongst the patients. Moreover, our data suggested that several peptides contained both T cell and antibody reactive epitopes and might represent some of the highly immunogenic regions of the TSHr.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy