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Lone Banke Rasmussen, Lutz Schomburg, Josef Köhrle, Inge Bülow Pedersen, Birgit Hollenbach, Antonia Hög, Lars Ovesen, Hans Perrild, and Peter Laurberg

Objective

The objective was to study the associations between serum selenium concentration and thyroid volume, as well as the association between serum selenium concentration and risk for an enlarged thyroid gland in an area with mild iodine deficiency before and after iodine fortification was introduced. Another objective was to examine the association between serum selenium concentration and prevalence of thyroid nodules.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Methods

We studied participants of two similar cross-sectional studies carried out before (1997–1998, n=405) and after (2004–2005, n=400) introduction of iodine fortification. Serum selenium concentration and urinary iodine were measured, and the thyroid gland was examined by ultrasonography in the same subjects. Associations between serum selenium concentration and thyroid parameters were examined in multiple linear regression models or logistic regression models.

Results

Serum selenium concentration was found to be significantly, negatively associated with thyroid volume (P=0.006), and a low selenium status significantly increased the risk for thyroid enlargement (P=0.007). Furthermore, low serum selenium status had a tendency to increase the risk for development of multiple nodules (P=0.087).

Conclusions

Low serum selenium concentration was associated with a larger thyroid volume and a higher prevalence of thyroid enlargement.

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Chantal Zevenbergen, Tim I M Korevaar, Andrea Schuette, Robin P Peeters, Marco Medici, Theo J Visser, Lutz Schomburg, and W Edward Visser

Background

Levels of thyroid hormone (TH) and trace elements (copper (Cu) and selenium (Se)) are important for development and function of the brain. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) can influence serum TH and trace element levels. As the relationship between AEDs, THs, and trace elements has not yet been studied directly, we explored these interactions.

Method

In total 898 participants, from the Thyroid Origin of Psychomotor Retardation study designed to investigate thyroid parameters in subjects with intellectual disability (ID), had data available on serum Se, Cu, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), tri-iodothyronine (T3), reverse T3, T4, and thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG); 401 subjects were on AED treatment. Differences in trace elements according to medication usage was investigated using ANOVA, and associations between trace elements and thyroid parameters were analysed using (non-) linear regression models.

Results

Study participants were not deficient in any of the trace elements analyzed. AED (carbamazepine, valproate and phenytoin) usage was negatively associated with serum Se and showed compound-specific associations with Cu levels. After correction for drug usage, Se was positively associated with TSH levels, negatively associated with FT4 levels, and positively with T3 levels. Cu was positively associated with T4, T3, and rT3, which was largely dependent on TBG levels.

Conclusion

The subjects with ID did not display profound deficiencies in trace element levels. AEDs were associated with serum Se and Cu levels, while serum Se and Cu were also associated with thyroid parameters. Further studies on the underlying mechanisms and potential clinical importance are warranted.

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Anna-Maria Eleftheriadou, Sebastian Mehl, Kostja Renko, Rega H Kasim, Jasmin-Annabelle Schaefer, Waldemar B Minich, and Lutz Schomburg

Objective

Iodide transport across thyrocytes constitutes a critical step for thyroid hormone biosynthesis, mediated mainly by the basolateral sodium-iodide-symporter (NIS (SLC5A5)) and the apical anion exchanger pendrin (PDS (SLC26A4)). Both transmembrane proteins have been described as autoantigens in thyroid disease, yet the reports on autoantibody (aAb) prevalence and diagnostic usefulness are conflicting. Reasons for the inconclusive findings may be small study groups and principle differences in the technologies used.

Design

We decided to re-evaluate this important issue by establishing novel non-radioactive tests using full-length antigens and comparable protocols, and analyzing a large cohort of thyroid patients (n = 323) and control samples (n = 400).

Methods

NIS and PDS were recombinantly expressed as fusion protein with firefly luciferase (Luc). Stably transfected HEK293 cells were used as reproducible source of the autoantigens.

Results

Recombinant NIS-Luc showed iodide transport activity, indicating successful expression and correct processing. Commercial antibodies yielded dose-dependent responses in the newly established assays. Reproducibility of assay signals from patient sera was verified with respect to linearity, stability and absence of matrix effects. Prevalence of PDS-aAb was similar in thyroid patients and controls (7.7% vs 5.0%). NIS-aAb were more prevalent in patients than controls (7.7% vs 1.8%), especially in Graves’ Disease (12.3%). Neither NIS-aAb nor PDS-aAb concentrations were related to TPO-aAb or TSH-receptor-aAb concentrations, or to serum zinc or selenium status.

Conclusions

Our data highlight a potential relevance of autoimmunity against NIS for thyroid disease, whereas an assessment of PDS-aAb in thyroid patients seems not to be of diagnostic value (yet).