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Allergy. 1983 Aug;38(6):433-9.

Circulating immune complexes in Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Correlation to HLA and autoantibodies.


Circulating immune complexes (IC) were determined in sera from 41 patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis by a polyclonal rheumatoid factor (pRF) assay based on the inhibition of the agglutination of IgG-coated latex particles. Elevated levels of IC were found in 63% (26/41) of the sera. There was a significant correlation (Rho = 0.91, P less than 0.001) between results obtained before and after treatment of sera with dithiothreitol (DTT). By precipitation with 2.5% polyethylene glycol (PEG) before pRF inhibition assay, the activity of IC was found in only 7% (3/41) of the sera. Size chromatography studies of the sera showed the inhibitory activity predominantly in the intermediary region. When found in the IgM-region the activity was not reduced by DTT. By use of a polyethylene glycol complement consumption test (PEG-CC) the occurrence of IC was 10% (4/41). It was not possible to find any correlation between the detectable IC and the presence of microsomal, thyroglobulin, or thyroid-stimulating antibodies. Based on our studies the sizes of IC seemed to be heterogeneously distributed and the majority were not precipitated by PEG (2.5%), final concentration). The antibodies involved in the formation of complexes seemed to be of IgG or IgA classes. HLA-D typing of the patients showed a non-significant association between HLA-Dw5 and low levels of IC while the presence of HLA-Dw4 was significantly associated with a high level of IC (P less than 0.05).

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