Autoimmune diseases of the thyroid - Definition

March 2017


Definition


Thyroiditis is a gland located at the base of the neck, whose role is the secretion and regulation of the thyroid hormones, which exert many functions in the body. The thyroid may be at the root of certain autoimmune diseases, by action of the organism's own antibodies against the thyroid cells. One example is Graves' disease in which autoantibodies bind to and stimulate the thyroid hormone secretion: the result is hyperthyroidism. Other autoimmune diseases affect the thyroid but lead, on the contrary, to hypothyroidism: the case of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is due to immune deregulation with the production of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland by destroying some of its cells. Highlighting specific antibodies of these diseases on blood samples enables the identification of the type of injury and the resulting treatment.

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