University of Illinois at Chicago
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Role of Cytokines in the Pathogenesis and Suppression of Thyroid Autoimmunity

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-06-25, 00:00 authored by Balaji B. Ganesh, Palash Bhattacharya, Anupama Gopisetty, Bellur S. Prabhakar
Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are one of the most common organ-specific autoimmune disorders, of which Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) and Graves' disease (GD) are 2 of the most common clinical expressions. HT is characterized by hypothyroidism that results from the destruction of the thyroid by thyroglobulin-specific T cell-mediated autoimmune response. In contrast, GD is characterized by hyperthyroidism due to excessive production of thyroid hormone induced by thyrotropin receptor-specific stimulatory autoantibodies. Cytokines play a crucial role in modulating immune responses that affect the balance between maintenance of self-tolerance and initiation of autoimmunity. However, the role of cytokines is often confusing and is neither independent nor exclusive of other immune mediators. A regulatory cytokine may either favor induction of tolerance against thyroid autoimmune disease or favor activation and/or exacerbation of autoimmune responses. These apparently contradictory functions of a given cytokine are primarily influenced by the nature of co-signaling delivered by other cytokines. Consequently, a thorough understanding of the role of a particular cytokine in the context of a specific immune response is essential for the development of appropriate strategies to modulate cytokine responses to maintain or restore health. This review provides a summary of recent research pertaining to the role of cytokines in the pathogenesis of AITD with a particular emphasis on the therapeutic applications of cytokine modulation.


This work was supported by the Grant NIH-R01 AI058190 from the National Institutes of Health to B.S.P. This project was supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), Award Number UL1RR029879 from the National Center for Research Resources.


Publisher Statement

This is a copy of an article published in the Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research © 2011 Copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research is available online at: DOI: 10.1089/jir.2011.0049.


Mary Ann Liebert


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