Animal models of autoimmune thyroiditis: recent advances

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Since the last review in this series in 1986, which focused on the induced model of murine experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT) for Hashimoto’s thyroidities (HT) [1], there have been major advances in our understanding of the pathogenic and regulatory mechanisms in autoimmune thyroid disease. These advances have stemmed from new knowledge at the cellular and molecular level of T cell development and interactions with other cell types, and techniques applied to gene cloning and sequencing of thyroid autoantigens. In the interim 10 years, there have been several extensive reviews on EAT induced with thyroid antigens, usually thyroglobulin (TG), and spontaneous autoimmune thyroiditis (SAT), arising from selective breeding in chicken and in rodent colonies exhibiting autoimmune diabetes [2–8]. Some recent papers also correlated findings between both animal and human autoimmune thyroid disease [4–6]. This review will concentrate on studies in the last 6–7 years, primarily in the mouse and rat, where major developments have advanced our understanding of autoimmune diseases.