alexa The effect of lithium therapy on parameters thought to be involved in the development of autoimmune thyroid disease.
Diabetes & Endocrinology

Diabetes & Endocrinology

Journal of Thyroid Disorders & Therapy

Author(s): Wilson R, McKillop JH, Crocket GT

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This study has considered the effects of primary affective disorders and lithium therapy on a number of factors thought to be important in the development of autoimmune thyroid disease. These factors were examined in (a) controls with no history of any such disorders; (b) patients with primary affective disorders treated with drugs other than lithium and (c) patients with primary affective disorders treated with lithium alone. Eight of 40 patients who were receiving lithium therapy were found to be positive for thyroid microsomal and/or thyroglobulin antibodies, compared to only 3/40 patients who were receiving some other form of treatment for their depression. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients receiving lithium were found to have significantly reduced numbers of suppressor/cytotoxic T cells (P less than 0.05). In addition, suppressor T cells from these patients showed a significantly reduced response to stimulation with concanavalin A (P less than 0.01). These effects were greatest in patients found to be antibody positive. Increased B cell activity, as measured by increased IgG and IgM release following mitogen stimulation, was seen in patients receiving lithium and in those patients receiving other forms of treatment for their depression. This would suggest that the increase is a feature of primary affective disorders and is not due specifically to lithium treatment. It would appear from this study that lithium therapy induces antibody formation in susceptible individuals and this may ultimately lead to the development of thyroid disease.

This article was published in Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) and referenced in Journal of Thyroid Disorders & Therapy

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