Mariotti S, Barbesino G, Caturegli P, Atzeni F, Manetti L, Marinò M, Grasso L, Velluzzi F, Loviselli A, Pinchera A, Martino E. False negative results observed in anti-thyroid peroxidase autoantibody determination by competitive radioimmunoassays using monoclonal antibodies. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;130:552–8. ISSN 0804–4643
Objective: Anti-thyroid peroxidase autoantibody (anti-TPO) and anti-thyroid microsomal antibody (anti-M) are strictly related, but discrepancies are sometimes observed. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and to identify the causes of these discrepancies. Design and antibody measurements: Anti-M by passive hemagglutination and anti-TPO by two competitive monoclonal antibody-assisted radioimmunoassays (RIA-1 and RIA-2) were measured in 10 103 sera from 4232 subjects (663 male, 3569 female) screened for thyroid disease. Results: Anti-TPO and anti-M correlated quite well (r = 0.7 and p < 0.0001 by RIA-1; r = 0.74 and p < 0.0001 by RIA-2), with discrepancies mostly limited to sera with low antibody titers. After exclusion of the latter samples, anti-TPO were detected in only 79 (1.4%) out of 5317 anti-M negative sera, but were undetectable in a more consistent proportion (130/2880 = 4.5%) of sera from patients with autoimmune thyroid disease and positive anti-M. In 61 sera of the latter group, anti-TPO was measured by a non-competitive RIA (RIA-3). Forty-one (67.7%) were positive by RIA-3, suggesting the presence of anti-TPO not competing with the monoclonal antibodies of RIA-1 and RIA-2. The remaining 20 sera had undetectable anti-TPO also by RIA-3. Nineteen (95%) of these sera had positive anti-thyroglobulin (anti-Tg) autoantibody and preincubation with thyroglobulin inhibited the agglutination reaction of anti-M tests. Conclusion: Anti-TPO by competitive monoclonal antibody-assisted RIA is negative in a minority of sera of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease and positive anti-M. This could be accounted for by anti-Tg producing false positives in the anti-M assay and by a subset of anti-TPO not competing with the monoclonal antibodies in the RIA. When autoimmune thyroid disease is suspected on clinical grounds, a negative anti-TPO test with a competitive RIA should be confirmed always by a non-competitive assay.
Stefano Mariotti. Institute of Endocrinology. University of Pisa, Viale del Tirreno 64,1-56018 Tirrenia-Pisa, Italy