Heterogeneity of tissue IL-17 and tight junction proteins expression demonstrated in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Th17 cells together with their hallmark cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 were identified as crucial contributing factors in the pathogenesis of thyroid autoimmunity. The cytokine-regulated tight junction (Tj) disruption is thought to be essential in the initiation and/or development of several diseases. Still, the role of IL-17 maintaining Tj integrity in autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs) has not yet been evaluated. We aimed to investigate integrity of the thyroid follicle by studying immunoexpression of cellular Tj - zonula occludens (ZO)-1 and claudin-1 proteins coupled to IL-17A and CD68 detection in AITD patients compared with controls. Thirty-five adult patients undergoing thyroidectomy and presenting 18 cases of Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT), 7 of Graves' disease (GD) as well as 10 subjects of colloid goiter without autoimmune component served as controls were enrolled in this study. An immunohistochemical analysis including IL-17A, ZO-1, claudin-1, and CD68 detection was performed in each case. The correlation of IL-17A with Tj and CD68 in patients with AITD was also analyzed. Apart from inflammatory cells, we evidenced a stronger expression level of IL17A in the thyroid follicular cells in HT patients when compared with GD or colloid goiter. A significant reduction of ZO-1 immunoreactivity was observed in the thyrocytes in HT patients, whereas no significant differences were found in claudin-1 expression in HT and GD compared with colloid goiter patients. A significantly higher number of thyroid follicles with CD68-positive cells was found in HT patients than that in patients with GD or colloid goiter. In HT patients, the expression of IL-17A in the follicular cells was positively correlated with CD68 immunopositivity, whereas no association with claudin-1 or ZO-1 expression was found. GD patients did not reveal any significant correlation of IL-17A with Tj and CD68. Strong overexpression of IL-17A observed in the thyroid epithelial cells is associated with the presence of intrafollicular CD68-positive cells in HT patients. We evidenced the changes in molecules of thyrocyte junctional complexes highlighting impairment of the thyroid follicle integrity in HT, but no association with IL-17A was found.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11211
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Graves' disease
  • Hashimoto thyroiditis
  • interleukin-17
  • tight junction protein

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences
  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


Dive into the research topics of 'Heterogeneity of tissue IL-17 and tight junction proteins expression demonstrated in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this