Upregulated tissue expression of T helper (Th) 17 pathogenic interleukin (IL)-23 and IL-1β in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis but not in graves’ disease

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T helper (Th) 17 cells and interleukin (IL)-17 play a significant role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). However, it has recently become clear that Th17 cells are more heterogeneous and exhibit two different phenotypes, whereas IL-23 and IL-1β are crucial for the generation of pathogenic Th17 lymphocytes. We aimed to investigate the association between IL-17 and Th17-promoting cytokines in AITD by studying the immunoexpression patterns of IL-17, IL-23, and IL-1β in thyroid tissue. Following thyroidectomy, 29 patients with AITD (21 cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) and 8 cases of Graves’ disease (GD)) and 18 patients with colloid goiter, as controls, were enrolled in this study, and immunohistochemistry was performed. The expression level of IL-17 in thyrocytes was significantly higher in HT and GD patients than in colloid goiter patients. Immunopositivity for both IL-23 and IL-1β was significantly increased in HT patients compared to GD and colloid goiter patients. However, no difference was found between IL-23 or IL-1β expression in patients with GD and colloid goiter. A positive correlation between IL-17 and IL-23 as well as IL-17 and IL-1β expression was observed in HT patients (r = 0.574, p = 0.007 and r = 0.461, p = 0.036, respectively). In the GD group, IL-17 was positively correlated with IL-1β (r = 0.817, p = 0.013) but not with IL-23 expression. We found increased IL-23 and IL-1β expression in the HT group but not in the GD group. Furthermore, both interleukins were correlated with IL-17 immunopositivity in thyroid tissue, suggesting that pathogenic Th17-promoting cytokines may play a role in HT pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-430
Number of pages8
JournalEndocrine Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Graves’ disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-1β
  • Interleukin-23

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

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


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