Thyroid and Related Autoimmune Disorders: Challenging the Dogmas

  • Gian Franco Bottazzo
  • Ian Todd
  • Antonino Belfiore Rita Mirakian
  • Ricardo Pujol-Borrell


When, in 1973, one of us (GFB) joined Deborah Doniach and the Autoimmunity Group in the Department of Immunology at The Middlesex Hospital in London, the main area of research was the pathogenesis of autoimmune liver diseases. Indeed, it is of interest to recall that another young Italian research fellow in the team at that time was Mario Rizzetto who, a few years later, discovered the Delta particle, and thus made a fundamental advance in the understanding of viral hepatitis. No doubt he had the right training! But to return to the story of the young fellow from Venice, he knew that the Department was famous all over the world for the investigation of endocrine autoimmunity and he was hesitant to become involved in the ‘diversion’ of liver disorders. There is nothing wrong with this subject but, after all, Ivan Roitt and Deborah Doniach were the discoverers of human thyroid autoimmunity 17 years previously and had persued this line of novel investigation for several years. ‘What about turning the emphasis again towards the first ‘love’ of endocrine autoimmunity?’ he asked. Deborah Doniach enthusiastically agreed. It was in 1974 when he then tested a few sera of patients with Addison’s disease on sections of human pancreas by the indirect immunofluorescence technique, that he observed the islets shining out against the dark background of the exocrine acini. With Alex Florin-Christensen, who actively collaborated in this new approach, the first dogma was thus challenged: a year previously during the first meeting on ‘Immunology of Diabetes’ held in Brussels, it was stated: ‘We are afraid that islet cell antibodies do not exist’.


Beta Cell Islet Cell Antibody Gastric Parietal Cell Autoimmune Attack Stimulate Antibody 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gian Franco Bottazzo
    • 1
  • Ian Todd
    • 1
  • Antonino Belfiore Rita Mirakian
    • 1
  • Ricardo Pujol-Borrell
    • 1
  1. 1.The Middlesex Hospital Medical SchoolDepartment of Immunology Arthur Stanley HouseLondonUK

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