Infection and thyroid autoimmunity: A seroepidemiologic study of TPOaAb.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL:
Yolken RH
Author List: 
Wasserman EE
Nelson K
Rose NR
Rhode C
Pillion JP
Seaberg E
Talor MV
Burek L
Eaton W
Duggan A
Yolken RH
PubMed ID: 
Infectious agents have been implicated as triggers of autoimmunity. Prospective epidemiologic studies of infection with specific pathogens and the subsequent elevation of specific autoantibodies are difficult and costly to conduct. As a result, a solid body of evidence regarding this theoretically intriguing connection remains to be accrued. We studied term sera from 1807 pregnancies in 1591 women for whom IgG status for cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus type 1, herpes simplex virus type 2, and/or Toxoplasma gondii was available from prior analyses. We tested the sera (masked regarding infectious status) for autoantibodies to thyroid peroxidase (TPOaAb) and then unmasked and linked them. Adjusted for other cofactors, prior infection with T. gondii was associated significantly with the elevation of TPOaAb, whereas seropositivity for other infections was not. Negative and positive findings for suspected triggers of autoimmunity should be reported to build the evidentiary basis needed to advance our understanding of the disease process. The positive association observed between prior infection with T. gondii and the elevation of TPOaAb is supported by an almost simultaneous study. These findings require further investigation. We believe that if T. gondii is in fact confirmed to trigger or enhance a TPOaAb response, the most likely mechanism involved is the bystander effect.
Published Date: 
August, 2009

Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., Named President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute

We’re thrilled to welcome Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., to the Kennedy Krieger family as our next President and CEO.

Learn more.

Appointments & Referrals



Read inspiring stories, news and updates about the Institute's patient care, research, special education, professional training, and community programs.


Resource Finder


A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.