Clinical Implications of Immunoglobulin G4 to Graves' Ophthalmopathy.Thyroid. 2017 09; 27(9):1185-1193.T
This study aimed to explore the relation of immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) to clinical and laboratory characteristics of patients newly diagnosed with Graves' disease (GD) without or with Graves' ophthalmopathy (GO) and to analyze association of IgG4 with development and grade of GO in GD patients.
Sixty-four GD patients and 64 sex- and age-matched euthyroid subjects were enrolled. Serum levels of thyroid hormones, thyroid autoantibodies, immunoglobulin G (IgG), and IgG4 were measured, and ophthalmological and ultrasonographical evaluation was performed.
In GD patients compared with euthyroid subjects, levels of thyroid hormones, thyroid autoantibodies and IgG4 as well as the IgG4/IgG ratio were elevated. GD patients having GO in comparison to not having GO were characterized by a female predominance; a high incidence of smoking history; high levels of T3, free T4, TSH receptor autoantibody (TRAb) and IgG4; and a high IgG4/IgG ratio after adjusting for sex. In GD patients, the IgG4 level was the independent factor associated with GO development on multivariate analysis. When severity and activity of GO were classified using the European Group on Graves' Orbitopathy criteria in GD patients with GO, IgG4 levels and IgG4/IgG ratio were elevated in the moderate-to-severe group compared with the mild group and in the active group compared with the inactive group. IgG4 levels and IgG4/IgG ratio became elevated as clinical activity score increased. IgG4 levels were positively correlated with TRAb levels. The high IgG4 group in comparison to the normal IgG4 group had a high incidence of family history of autoimmune thyroid disease, high levels of free T4, TRAb and IgG4, a high IgG4/IgG ratio and extensive hypoechogenicity.
These results suggest that IgG4 levels are elevated in newly diagnosed GD patients compared with euthyroid subjects and in the presence of GO compared with the absence of GO. Moreover, our findings suggest that IgG4 levels are associated with the development and grade of GO in GD patients.