Gut microbiota and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

  • Camilla Virili
  • Poupak Fallahi
  • Alessandro Antonelli
  • Salvatore Benvenga
  • Marco Centanni


About two third of the human microbial commensal community, namely the gut microbiota, is hosted by the gastrointestinal tract which represents the largest interface of the organism to the external environment. This microbial community co-evolved in a symbiotic relationship with the human beings. Growing evidence support the notion that the microbiota plays a significant role in maintaining nutritional, metabolic and immunologic homeostasis in the host. Microbiota, beside the expected role in maintaining gastrointestinal homeostasis also exerts metabolic functions in nutrients digestion and absorption, detoxification and vitamins’ synthesis. Intestinal microbiota is also key in the correct development of the lymphoid system, 70% of which resides at the intestinal level. Available studies, both in murine models and humans, have shown an altered ratio between the different phyla, which characterize a” normal” gut microbiota, in a number of different disorders including obesity, to which a significant part of the studies on intestinal microbiota has been addressed so far. These variations in gut microbiota composition, known as dysbiosis, has been also described in patients bearing intestinal autoimmune diseases as well as type 1 diabetes mellitus, systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Being Hashimoto’s thyroiditis the most frequent autoimmune disorder worldwide, the analysis of the reciprocal influence with intestinal microbiota gained interest. The whole thyroid peripheral homeostasis may be sensitive to microbiota changes but there is also evidence that the genesis and progression of autoimmune thyroid disorders may be significantly affected from a changing intestinal microbial composition or even from overt dysbiosis. In this brief review, we focused on the main features which characterize the reciprocal influence between microbiota and thyroid autoimmunity described in the most recent literature.


Microbiota Dysbiosis Thyroid autoimmunity Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Probiotic 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Endocrinology Section, Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies“Sapienza” University of RomeLatinaItaly
  2. 2.Endocrinology UnitSanta Maria Goretti HospitalLatinaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  5. 5.Interdepartmental Program of Molecular & Clinical Endocrinology, and Women’s Endocrine HealthUniversity Hospital “G. Martino”MessinaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of Messina, Policlinico Universitario G. MartinoMessinaItaly

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