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Med Clin North Am. 1975 Sep;59(5):1163-75.

Thyroiditis: current views of pathogenesis.


From indirect and circumstantial evidence it would appear that subacute thyroiditis is probably a viral infection of the thyroid gland. The thyroid may respond in the stereotyped manner to any one of a number of viruses. Despite the available evidence, however, the viral theory has yet to be finally proven. Autoimmunity does not appear to be a primary factor in the initiation of subacute thyroiditis, although transient immunologic responses occur as a secondary phenomenon. Autoimmune thyroiditis, on the other hand, is almost certainly a primary immunologic disease, and likely is due to a specific inherited defect in immunologic control. It would appear that both cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity (i.e., T and B lymphocytes) are necessary for the full expression of this disorder.

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