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Orbit. 2016 Aug;35(4):227-32. doi: 10.1080/01676830.2016.1176055. Epub 2016 May 31.

Overexpression of collagen XIII in extraocular fat affected by active thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy: A crucial piece of the puzzle?

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a Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research , University of Gothenburg , Gothenburg , Sweden.
b William Harvey Research Institute, University of London , London , United Kingdom.
c Department of Ophthalmology , Ludwig Maximilian University Eye Clinic , Munich , Germany.
d Department of Oculoplastic and Orbital Service , Munich University Eye Hospital , Munich , Germany.


Thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) causes irreversible increase in extraocular fat volume that contributes to the risk of exophthalmos and compressive optic neuropathy. Collagen XIII is implicated in uncontrolled cell growth in some tumours, but we are not aware of any studies of collagen XIII in TAO-affected solid tissue to date. We conducted immunohistochemical staining for collagen XIII alpha 1 (COL13A1), present in both the transmembrane and cleaved forms of collagen XIII, in consecutive prospectively collected human extraocular tissue specimens from patients with TAO and controls. We identified overexpression of collagen XIII in active TAO-affected fat. We discuss how species and cell-type specific responses of collagen XIII to stressors may help explain the different phenotypes of TAO.


COL13A1; Thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy; collagen XIII; extraocular fat; thyroid eye disease

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