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Thyroid autoantibodies


Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor antibody (TSH-R-Ab or TRAb) testing plays a pivotal role in arriving at the aetiological diagnosis in patients with thyrotoxicosis. A positive test establishes the diagnosis of Graves’ disease (GD) while a negative result in conjunction with imaging studies supports other possible aetiologies. In patients with GD, TRAb levels at diagnosis and at the time of withdrawal of antithyroid drugs can identify patients who are unlikely to achieve remission and guide clinical management decisions. We provide an algorithm that incorporates TRAb in the decision-making process for the management of thyrotoxicosis. The utility of TRAb in predicting the risk of fetal and neonatal thyroid dysfunction is established and widely accepted in guidelines. TRAb may also help in the diagnosis of Graves’ orbitopathy, especially in euthyroid or hypothyroid patients and its role in guiding its management is evolving as a useful adjunct to the clinical parameters used in making therapeutic decisions.

Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) indicate thyroid autoimmunity. The most common use of TPOAb is to identify patients at a higher risk of progression to treatment-requiring hypothyroidism. They also aid the diagnosis of immune thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s encephalopathy. Thyroglobulin measurement is used to help guide differentiated thyroid cancer treatment. TgAb is used as an accompanying test with thyroglobulin measurement as its presence can interfere with the thyroglobulin assay. A negative TgAb result reduces the likelihood of, but does not exclude, interference with thyroglobulin assay.

  • Thyroid Diseases
  • Thyroid Gland

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