Detection of thyroid growth immunoglobulins (TGI) by [3H]-thymidine incorporation in cultured rat thyroid follicles

L. Chiovato, L. J. Hammond, T. Hanafusa, R. Pujol-Borrell, D. Doniach, G. F. Bottazzo

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A new bioassay is described for detecting the growth stimulating immunoglobulins (TGI) that contribute to goitre formation in human thyroid autoimmune diseases. It measures the incorporation of tritiated thymidine into intact rat thyroid follicles grown in tissue culture. This radiometric assay demands much less technical skill than the cytochemical bioassays (CBA) previously employed. It has good reproducibility and the techniques and apparatus are available in many clinical laboratories. Immunoglobulins (Igs) from 68% of patients with goitrous Graves' disease were positive, in proportion with goitre size, and this showed no correlation with T3 levels, or three accepted methods for conventional thyroid stimulating antibodies. Non-toxic nodular goitre cases gave positive results in 3/9 who has recurrences after one or more thyroidectomies and in 1/10 cases of familial simple goitre. All normal subjects and all endemic goitre cases were negative as well as 21 cases of sporadic non-toxic nodular goitre. Although it is less sensitive than the 'growth CBA' it clearly emphasizes the essential difference between the intensity of growth stimulus which leads to the regular hyperplasia of thyroid epithelium seen in Graves' thyrotoxicosis and the disorganized and metabolically uncoordinated hyperplasia typical of non-toxic nodular goitre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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