The role of iodine in autoimmune thyroiditis

Noel R. Rose, Ali M. Saboori, Linda Rasooly, C. Lynne Burek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Like most cancers, autoimmune diseases generally are due to the interaction of a number of genetic traits with an environmental trigger. Autoimmune thyroiditis, a model of organ-specific autoimmune disease, is associated with iodine as a precipitating environmental factor. T cells from patients with chronic thyroiditis proliferate in response to normal human thyroglobulin, but fail to react with non-iodinated thyroglobulin. Using a selected monoclonal antibody, we were able to identify a binding site on thyroglobulin containing iodinated thyronine. The greatest affinity was for tetraiodothyronine and binding depended upon the number as well as the positions of iodines. We have also studied an inbred strain of mice, NOD- H2(b4), that developed thyroiditis spontaneously. The onset of disease was hastened in a dose-dependent manner by adding iodine to the drinking water. The occurrence of disease was greater in conventional than in specific pathogen-free mice and correlated with T-cell proliferation and IgG(2b), antibody to thyroglobulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalCritical reviews in immunology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1997


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Environmental trigger
  • Iodine
  • Thyroiditis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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