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Increased serum interleukin-37 (IL-37) levels correlate with oxidative stress parameters in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

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Interleukin-37 (IL-37), member of the IL-1 family, is a natural suppressor of immune and inflammatory responses. Increased serum IL-37 levels were observed in several autoimmune diseases, including Graves’ disease. To our knowledge, no data on Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) are available in the literature.


Aim of our study was to measure serum IL-37 levels and evaluate their relationship, if any, with oxidative stress markers in HT patients. We enrolled 45 euthyroid HT patients (5 M e 40 F, median age 40 years) and 50 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. None was under l-thyroxine therapy. Serum IL-37 levels were measured by ELISA. Specific serum tests, such as derived reactive oxygen metabolites (d-ROMs), and biological anti-oxidant potential (BAP) test were performed in all subjects to investigate the changes in oxidative balance, and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) were determined as a specific marker of oxidative stress.


IL-37 levels were significantly higher in HT than in controls (median 475 vs. 268 pg/ml, P = 0.018). In the same patients, serum oxidants (d-ROMs) were increased and anti-oxidants (BAP) decreased compared with controls (P = 0.011 and < 0.0001, respectively), clearly indicating an enhanced oxidative stress. In addition, AGEs levels were higher in HT patients than in controls (210 vs. 140 AU/g prot, P < 0.0001) and directly correlated with IL-37 levels (P = 0.048). At multivariate analysis, the main independent predictors that influenced IL-37 levels were both anti-thyroid antibodies (P = 0.026) and AGEs levels (P = 0.001).


IL-37 is up-regulated in HT and may exert a protective role by counteracting oxidative stress and inflammation.

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Each author gave a substantial contribute to the paper and approved the final version to be published.

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Correspondence to R. M. Ruggeri.

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The study was performed in comply with ethical standards which is in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent from each subject and Ethics Committee approval was obtained.

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Ruggeri, R.M., Cristani, M., Vicchio, T.M. et al. Increased serum interleukin-37 (IL-37) levels correlate with oxidative stress parameters in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. J Endocrinol Invest 42, 199–205 (2019).

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