Author(s): Jacobson EM, Huber A, Tomer Y, Jacobson EM, Huber A, Tomer Y
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Abstract The autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) comprise a cadre of complex diseases whose underlying pathoetiology stems from a genetic-environmental interaction, between susceptibility genes (e.g. CTLA-4, HLA-DR, thyroglobulin) and environmental triggers (e.g. dietary iodine), that orchestrates the initiation of an autoimmune response to thyroid antigens, leading to the onset of disease. Abundant epidemiological data, including family and twin studies, point to a strong genetic influence on the development of AITD. Several AITD susceptibility genes have been identified, with HLA genes, in particular, appearing to be of major importance. Early studies showed association of HLA-DR3 with Graves' disease (GD) in Caucasians. More recently, the importance of an amino acid substitution at position 74 of the DR beta 1 chain of HLA-DR3 (DRb1-Arg74), in susceptibility to Graves' disease, has been shown. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence for a genetic interaction between thyroglobulin variants and DRb1-Arg74 in conferring risk for GD. Mechanistically, the presence of an arginine at position 74 elicits a significant structural change in the peptide binding pocket of HLA-DR, potentially affecting the binding of pathogenic thyroidal peptides. Future therapeutic interventions may attempt to exploit this new bolus of knowledge by endeavoring to block or modulate pathogenic peptide presentation by HLA-DR.
This article was published in J Autoimmun
and referenced in Journal of Thyroid Disorders & Therapy