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Kenji Kashima, Shigeo Yokoyama, Tsutomu Daa, Kenji Takahashi, Iwao Nakayama and Shiro Noguchi

Kashima K, Yokoyama S, Daa T, Takahashi K, Nakayama I, Noguchi S. c-myc Expression is associated with increased proliferation activity in thyroid follicular cells of Graves' disease as stimulated by autoantibodies. Eur J Endocrinol 1996:135:69–76. ISSN 0804–4643

Expression on thyroid follicular cells of HLA-DR, c-myc protein and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) was examined immunohistochemically in 28 cases of Graves' disease (GD) and in 29 cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). Immunoreactivity for PCNA in GD was seen not only in follicular cells adjacent to a lymphocytic infiltration, where the follicular cells were positive for HLA-DR, but also in hyperplastic follicular cells without the infiltration. The distribution of expressed c-myc protein was similar to that of PCNA in GD but not in HT. Semiquantitatively graded degrees of lymphocytic infiltration and expression of HLA-DR, c-myc and PCNA in GD showed a high correlation with one another. However, the degrees of c-myc expression in HT showed no significant correlation with any other degrees. Intraperitoneal injection of bovine TSH or of immunoglobulins derived from a patient with GD in rabbits induced hyperplastic change of thyroid follicular cells, as reflected in PCNA and c-myc immunoreactivity, as well as strong peroxidase and acid phosphatase activity. Immunization with synthesized peptide of thyrotropin receptor also exhibited the same results in the rabbit thyroids. Our results indicate that c-myc expression on follicular cells of GD may reflect a stimulation by autoantibodies mediated through the thyrotropin receptor.

Kenji Kashima, Department of Pathology, Oita Medical University, 1-1 Oita-gun, Oita 879-55, Japan