To evaluate the distribution of IgG subclasses of TgAb and TPOAb in sera from patients with Graves' disease (GD), Graves' disease plus Hashimoto's thyroiditis (GH) and Hashimoto's thyrotoxicosis.
Patients with GD (n = 33), GH (n = 31) or Hashimoto's thyrotoxicosis (n = 18) diagnosed by fine needle aspiration cytology at Department of Endocrinology of Peking University First Hospital, Beijing Haidian Hospital, China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Civil Aviation General Hospital during the period from January 2010 to May 2013 were enrolled. All of them had TgAb and TPOAb. The total serum IgG and IgG subclasses of TgAb and TPOAb were detected by antigen-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The prevalence and relative amount of IgG subclasses were calculated and compared among three groups.
The levels of TRAb in GD group (21.80(7.53, 40) U/L) were significantly higher than those in GH (7.30(3.10, 25.40) U/L) (P = 0.000) and Hashimoto's thyrotoxicosis groups (4.90(1.69, 16.43) U/L) (P = 0.003). And no significant differences were found in the levels of TgAb and TPOAb. The prevalence of TgAb IgG3 subclass in Hashimoto's thyrotoxicosis group (66.7%) was higher than GD group (35.5%) and GH group (36.4%) and the difference was close to significance (P = 0.066). There were significant differences of relative amount of TgAb IgG2 and TgAb IgG4 among three groups (P = 0.039 and 0.013), and GD patients had higher relative amounts of TgAb IgG2 (0.59(0.34, 0.94)) and TgAb IgG4 (0.57(0.28, 0.97)) than GH patients (TgAb IgG2, 0.31(0.23, 0.34); TgAb IgG4, 0.26(0.09, 0.48)) or patients with Hashimoto's thyrotoxicosis (TgAb IgG2, 0.32(0.24, 0.83); TgAb IgG4, 0.33(0.10, 0.65)) (for TgAb IgG2, P = 0.009 and 0.167; for TgAb IgG4, P = 0.005 and 0.041 respectively). No significant difference was found in the prevalence of each TPOAb IgG subclass. The difference of relative amount of TPOAb IgG2 among three groups was close to significance (P = 0.069). And the relative amount was higher in sera from GD patients (0.39 ± 0.04) than that in GH patients (0.29 ± 0.13) or patients with Hashimoto's thyrotoxicosis (0.26 ± 0.02) (P = 0.104 and 0.002 respectively).
The patients with high levels of TgAb IgG2, TgAb IgG4 and TPOAb IgG2 subclasses have a greater risk of GD. The IgG subclass distribution of TgAb and TPOAb might help to differentiate the causes of thyrotoxicosis in autoimmune thyroid diseases.