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Peripheral blood T cell activation after radioiodine treatment for Graves' disease.

Teng WP, Stark R, Munro AJ, Young SM, Borysiewicz LK, Weetman AP - Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge Clinical School, Addenbrooke's Hospital, UK.

Radioiodine therapy for Graves' thyrotoxicosis produces a rise in thyroid autoantibodies in the first three months after treatment, but little is known of its effects on T cells.

We have therefore followed the changes in T cell subsets in sequential samples from 23 patients with Graves' disease treated with radioiodine, using dual-colour flow cytometry.

In the first month after treatment there was a significant rise in activated T cells, identified by the markers HLA-DR (la) and CDw26/Ta1 (p less than 0.025 in both cases).

CD45RO-positive T cells, which are the primed population containing memory cells, also increased (p less than 0.025), but there was no change in CD45R-positive, resting T cells or in the CD4 to CD8 (helper to cytotoxic/suppressor) ratio.

Vicia villosa-binding T cells, containing the contra-suppressor population, showed a more variable response, but the trend was to an overall increase from pre-treatment values (p less than 0.025).

The changes did not appear to be related to antithyroid drug treatment, since they were seen irrespective of whether patients continued such therapy.

These results suggest that T cell activation and enhanced contra-suppressor activity may in part be responsible for the rise in autoantibodies after radioiodine.

The T cell changes could also contribute to the worsening of ophthalmopathy seen in some radioiodine-treated patients.

PMID: 2316311, UI: 90195418



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