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Eur J Endocrinol. 2005 Nov;153(5):643-9.

Thyroid hormone increases mannan-binding lectin levels.

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Medical Department M, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.



Recent studies have indicated the existence of causal links between the endocrine and immune systems and cardiovascular disease. Mannan-binding lectin (MBL), a protein of the innate immune system, may constitute a connection between these fields.


To test whether thyroid hormone regulates MBL levels, we studied eight patients with Graves' hyperthyroidism before and after methimazole therapy, eight healthy subjects before and after short-term experimental hyperthyroidism, and eight hypothyroid patients with chronic auto-immune thyroiditis before and after L-thyroxine substitution.


In all hyperthyroid patients, MBL levels were increased--median (range), 1886 ng/ml (1478-7344) --before treatment and decreased to 954 ng/ml (312-3222) after treatment (P = 0.01, paired comparison: Wilcoxon's signed ranks test). The healthy subjects had MBL levels of 1081 ng/ml (312-1578). Administration of thyroid hormones to these persons induced mild hyperthyroidism and increased MBL levels significantly to 1714 ng/ml (356-2488) (P = 0.01). Two of the eight hypothyroid patients had undetectably low levels of MBL both before and after L-thyroxine substitution. The other six hypothyroid patients had decreased levels of MBL of 145 ng/ml (20-457) compared with 979 ng/ml (214-1533) after L-thyroxine substitution (P = 0.03, paired comparison: Wilcoxon's signed ranks test).


Our data show that thyroid hormone increases levels of MBL. MBL is part of the inflammatory complement system, and this modulation of complement activation may play a role in the pathogenesis of a number of key components of thyroid diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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