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Thyroid. 2006 Dec;16(12):1215-20.

Estrogen receptor (ER)-beta, but not ER-alpha, is present in thyroid vessels: immunohistochemical evaluations in multinodular goiter and papillary thyroid carcinoma.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.



Estrogen receptors (ERs) have been demostrated in the vessel structures of several systems. Little is known on the presence of ERs in the thyroid vessels.


We immunohistochemically evaluated both ER-alpha and ER-beta immunoreactivity (IR) in both vascular and follicular thyroid cells in tissue samples from 17 cases of multinodular goiter (MNG) and 17 cases of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC).


ER-alpha IR was undetectable in either tissue examined. In 100% of MNG samples, nuclear ER-beta IR was detected in both endothelial and follicular cells. In PTC samples, endothelial nuclear ER-beta IR was found in 100% of cases, whereas the nuclear staining of follicular cells was found in 83% of cases. The intensity of staining of the endothelial ER-beta IR was comparable between MNG and PTC. However, when follicular cells were considered, a tendency toward a decrease in nuclear staining and a significant increase in cytoplasmic staining were found in PTC lesions as compared to MNG.


This study demonstrated that ER-beta, but not ER-alpha, IR is present in the endothelium of thyroid vessels. Furthermore, although data need to be confirmed in larger observations, these results suggest the lack of differences in the pattern of vascular ER-beta IR between MNG and PTC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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