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  • Author: E Macchia x
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E. Macchia, P. Carayon, G. F. Fenzi, S. Lissitzky and A. Pinchera

Abstract. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a sensitive method for evaluating adenylate cyclase stimulation by thyroid-stimulating antibodies (TSAb), based on the measurement of thyroid membrane adenylate cyclase activity in the presence of a non-hydrolyzable GTP analogue, guanyl-5'-yl imidodiphosphate (Gpp(NH)p).

The addition of Gpp(NH)p (10−5 m) produced a 10-fold increase of the sensitivity of the system for both TSH and TSAb. Immunoglobulin G preparations from sera of 30 patients with Graves' disease were tested for the adenylate cyclase stimulation either in the presence or in the absence of Gpp(NH)p: a significant stimulation was observed in 27/30 patients when the GTP analogue was added to the system, while only 20/30 patients were positive in the absence of the nucleotide. The advantage of Gpp(NH)p addition was also evident in a large series which included 57 patients with Graves' disease, 15 with Hashimoto's thyroiditis or primary myxoedema and 22 normal subjects. In fact, 88% of patients with Graves' disease resulted positive, while no significant stimulation was elicited by Hashimoto's thyroiditis, primary myxoedema and by normal immunoglobulins.

The sensitivity achieved in our system which employs thyroid plasma membranes was similar to that obtained by other investigators with the use of thyroid slices or thyroid cells in primary culture. Furthermore, methods based on thyroid plasma membranes are supposed to have a better reproducibility, since the same tissue preparation, if appropriately stored, may be used in several different tests.

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E Macchia, M Gurnell, M Agostini, G Giorgilli, C Marcocci, TM Valenti, E Martino, KK Chatterjee and A Pinchera

We have investigated an Italian family with generalized resistance to thyroid hormone (RTH), consisting of two individuals with elevated serum thyroid hormones (TH) and a non-suppressed TSH, together with unaffected family members, for a mutation in the thyroid hormone receptor beta gene (hTR beta). We have identified a single nucleotide substitution (1321 CTT to GTT) corresponding to a leucine to valine substitution at codon 346 (L346V) in the predicted protein. The index case and her affected child are heterozygous for the receptor defect, with normal sequence in unaffected family members. Furthermore, both parents of the index case were unaffected, suggesting that the mutation had arisen de novo. When expressed in vitro, the L346V mutant receptor showed a marked reduction in its affinity for tri-iodothyronine (T3), impaired ligand-dependent transactivation and potent dominant negative activity. Its functional impairment could not be alleviated, even at supraphysiological concentrations of T3, suggesting that the mutation might interfere with the intrinsic ligand-dependent transactivation function (AF-2) located in the hormone binding domain of hTR beta. Finally, the presence of the L346V mutation in the son of the propositus, who died from complications associated with congenital heart disease, raises the possibility that RTH might have contributed to the pathogenesis or severity of the latter.