Serum ratio of triiodothyronine to thyroxine, and thyroxine-binding globulin and calcitonin concentrations in Graves' disease and destruction-induced thyrotoxicosis.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981 Jul; 53(1):113-6.JC
The serum ratios of T3 to T4, and T4-binding globulin (TBG) and calcitonin concentrations were studied in cases of thyrotoxic Graves' disease and destruction-induced thyrotoxicosis. In 272 patients with Graves' disease, 209 of 240 (87%) untreated patients without complications had high T3 to T4 ratios (nanograms per micrograms) of more than 20. Six of 32 (19%) patients with Graves' disease who had complications (15 with pregnancy, 14 with increased TBG, and 3 with conditions associated with a low T3 syndrome) had high T3 to T4 ratios. Eleven of 74 (15%) patients with destruction-induced thyrotoxicosis (24 with subacute thyroiditis, 39 with postpartum transient thyrotoxicosis, and 11 with spontaneous transient thyrotoxicosis) had high T3 to T4 ratios. Patients who had serum T4 levels of more than 30 micrograms/dl and/or T3 levels of more than 800 ng/dl had Graves' disease. There was no significant correlation between the T3 to T4 ratio and activities of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins in thyrotoxic patients with Graves' disease who had no complications. The average serum levels of TBG in destruction-induced thyrotoxicosis and thyrotoxic Graves' disease were 20.7 +/- 4.3 micrograms/ml (mean +/- SD; n = 22), and 19.9 +/- 4.0 (n = 41), respectively, which were significantly lower than that in healthy subjects (22.7 +/- 4.4 micrograms/ml; n = 165), but there was no difference between the values in the two groups of thyrotoxicosis patients. The average serum level of calcitonin in destruction-induced thyrotoxicosis patients was 96.7 +/- 66.7 pg/ml (n = 21), which was significantly (P less than 0.05) higher than the values in patients with thyrotoxic Graves' disease (62.0 +/- 44.7 pg/ml; n = 26) and in healthy subjects (63.9 +/- 31.2 pg/ml; n = 29), but the difference in values in the two groups of thyrotoxicosis was not clinically useful because of considerable overlap of individual values. The T3 to T4 ratio is a simple and helpful index for the differentiation of the two types of thyrotoxicosis. A T3 to T4 ratio less than 20 in thyrotoxic patients before therapy is a laboratory signal of destruction-induced thyrotoxicosis or Graves' disease with complications, but final differentiation should be confirmed by measuring radioactive iodine uptake.