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M Tamaru, B Matsuura and M Onji

We investigated serum total interleukin-12 (IL-12) levels in patients with Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The serum IL-12 levels in Graves' disease were significantly increased in the hyperthyroid state, and were decreased during treatment with methimazole or propylthiouracil in accordance with the decline of free tri-iodothyronine (T(3)) levels, free thyroxine levels and thyroid-binding inhibiting immunoglobulin (TBII) levels. When T(3) was administered orally to normal subjects, serum IL-12 levels were slightly increased. These results suggest that IL-12 might be increased due to prolonged stimulation with thyroid hormone, and thyroid hormone by itself might be a self-perpetuating factor of Graves' disease via increased IL-12 production.

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M Tamura, B Matsuura, S Miyauchi and M Onji

We previously reported that serum interleukin-12 (IL-12) levels were significantly increased in patients with hyperthyroid Graves' disease and in normal subjects after administration of thyroid hormone. In the present study, we investigated which cells produce IL-12 and the interactions between IL-12 and thyroid hormones, using a hyperthyroid mouse model. Thyroid hormones induced IL-12 production, and IL-12 was mainly produced by dendritic cells outside the thyroid glands in a hyperthyroid state.