The preparation of stable formolized sheep cells coated with thyroglobulin and their use for the detection of auto-antibodies in human thyroiditis is described. This provides an easy laboratory test which gives results closely comparable with those using fresh tanned cells.
The agglutination titres do not closely parallel the antibody content of the serum but a good correlation may be obtained by inhibiting agglutination with thyroglobulin.
The diagnostic usefulness of the test in treating disorders of the thyroid is discussed and related to the results of tests for the other two immune systems involved in thyroiditis. The tanned red cell test may be used to differentiate Hashimoto's disease from thyroid cancer and non-toxic colloid goitre, and to assess the choice of treatment in patients with Graves' disease. It has proved of particular value in genetic studies of auto-immunity.
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