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Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2011 Apr;72(2):108-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ando.2011.03.019. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Environmental factors and thyroid autoimmunity.

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Endocrine Unit, University of Athens, Evgenidion Hospital, 1528 Athens, Greece.


Thyroid autoimmune disease, a multifactorial organ-specific autoimmune disorder, is marking a constant increase worldwide. It is thought to be caused by multiple environmental factors triggering autoimmune response in genetically susceptible individuals, though the exact mechanisms linking environmental factors to thyroid autoimmunity are not as yet well understood. Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence that mainly nutritive factors and environmental pollution by metals and chemicals (e.g. organochlorines, pesticides) are the main factors in the present-day spread of this disease. This review presents an overview of the current knowledge regarding environmental factors, their association with genetics and their impact on the immune system.

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