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A. P. Weetman
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R. Bright-Thomas
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M. Freeman
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ABSTRACT

Autoimmune thyroiditis is characterized by lymphocytic accumulation within the thyroid which may be the result, in part, of immunomodulatory cytokine secretion by thyrocytes. We have tested human thyroid cell cultures (n = 9) for interleukin-6 (IL-6) release using two bioassays. IL-6 was detected in all culture supernatants under basal conditions and was increased by γ-interferon, tumour necrosis factor and TSH in a dose-dependent manner. The bioactivity was confirmed as IL-6 by immunoblotting experiments and could not be accounted for by contamination of the thyroid cell cultures with fibroblasts, lymphocytes or monocytes. Circulating IL-6 levels were not raised in patients with Graves' hyperthyroidism. Exogenous recombinant IL-6 reduced cyclic AMP production in response to TSH when added to thyroid cell cultures. Since IL-6 plays a major role in B cell differentiation and T cell activation, release of IL-6 by thyrocytes may increase the intrathyroidal autoimmune response in Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Our results also suggest that IL-6 may modulate thyroid cell function.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 127, 357–361

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A. P. Weetman
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A. M. McGregor
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M. Ludgate
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R. Hall
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ABSTRACT

The effect of excessive tri-iodothyronine (T3) in vivo was assessed using normal human lymphocytes. Cells from normal subjects were frozen in liquid nitrogen before and after oral administration of T3 for 1 week to permit a direct comparison under identical culture conditions. Within the group of individuals studied, some subjects did show changes in B or T cell function but hypertri-iodothyroninaemia produced no consistent effect for the whole group on circulating T cell subsets or T and B cell activation measured by short-term culture or stimulation of lymphocyte cultures with phytohaemagglutinin or pokeweed mitogen. Tri-iodothyronine supplementation of cultures in vitro did not affect pokeweed mitogen stimulation. These findings suggest that the immunological abnormalities in Graves' disease are not the result of increased circulating thyroid hormone levels and that remission following medical treatment is due to an immuno-suppressive effect of the drug rather than the restoration of euthyroidism.

J. Endocr. (1984) 101,81–86

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A. P. Weetman
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C. A. Gunn
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D. P. Rennie
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R. Hall
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A. M. McGregor
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ABSTRACT

By suitable immunization of mice and fusion of their spleen cells with a non-secretor mouse myeloma line, monoclonal antibodies have been produced which react with the human thyroid microsomal (M) antigen. These monoclonal antibodies showed no reactivity by enzyme-linked immunoassay with liver microsomes or thyroglobulin and their specificity was confirmed by immunolocalization studies, in which they showed the staining characteristics of human M antibodies. All four monoclonal antibodies tested were immunoglobulin M; three were cytotoxic to thyroid cell monolayers. The lack of cytotoxicity with the fourth monoclonal supports the concept that certain epitopes of the M antigen may be partially or completely absent at the thyroid cell surface. These monoclonal antibodies should permit further characterization of the thyroid M antigen in view of their absence of cross-reactivity with thyroglobulin.

J. Endocr. (1985) 105, 47–52

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A. P. Weetman
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C. Green
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L. K. Borysiewicz
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ABSTRACT

We have used the continuously growing FRTL-5 rat thyroid cell line to examine the regulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (or la) antigen expression. Of the various stimuli investigated, only the supernatant from activated T cells or recombinant γ-interferon induced Ia expression. All Ia-inducing activity was removed from the T cell supernatant by acid dialysis, suggesting that γ-interferon is the single critical mediator for class II antigen expression. Its action was not TSH dependent but expression of class II antigens increased from the G0-G1 to the S and G2 phases of the cell cycle, so that TSH enhanced Ia expression by its action on cell division. Other agents including lectins, hormones, epidermal growth factor, a calcium ionophore and a phorbol ester did not induce Ia expression. Substances known to inhibit murine macrophage Ia expression (cortisol, prostaglandin E2 and 5-hydroxytryptamine) had no effect on FRTL-5 Ia expression. The use of this thyroid cell line has permitted direct examination of modulators in the absence of any possible effects from contaminating non-thyroid cells present in primary cultures and the results suggest that, of the agents tested, only γ-interferon has significance in the context of Ia antigen expression by the thyroid.

J. Endocr. (1987) 115, 481–487

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N. Tandon
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C. Dinsdale
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T. Tamatani
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M. Miyasaka
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A. P. Weetman
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ABSTRACT

We have examined the expression and function of rat CD54, a homologue of human intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), by the continuously growing rat thyroid cell line FRTL-5. Approximately 10% of FRTL-5 cells express CD54 under basal conditions and this is not influenced by thyrotrophin. Expression of CD54 is increased by cytokines (γ-interferon, tumour necrosis factor, interleukin-1) and by an activator of C-kinase, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. Blocking ICAM-1 with a monoclonal antibody directed against this molecule significantly (P <0·01) reduced the binding of splenic lymphocytes to FRTL-5 cells but inhibition was consistently greater (P <0·01) in the presence of antibodies against a rat homologue of lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1, the receptor on T cells for ICAM-1. In no case was complete blocking of cluster formation observed. These results show that a pure line of rat thyroid cells can express an ICAM-1 homologue and this is directly enhanced by cytokines. Expression of this homologue is partially responsible for lymphocyte adhesion to thyroid cells, which is likely to be a major event in T cell recognition of thyroid antigens in autoimmune thyroiditis.

Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 130, 451–456

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A. P. Weetman
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S. Cohen
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M. W. Makgoba
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L. K. Borysiewicz
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ABSTRACT

Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), hitherto identified on activated B cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, endothelia and certain epithelial cells, serves as a ligand for the lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1). ICAM-1 binding by LFA-1 enhances the efficiency of lymphocyte-target cell and lymphocyte-accessory cell interactions. We have investigated the in-vitro expression of ICAM-1 by cultured thyroid cells from five patients with Graves' disease using indirect immunofluorescence analysis, and found that 30 ± 11% (mean ± s.d.) of cells were ICAM-1 positive under basal conditions. The proportion of cells which were ICAM-1 positive and the amount of ICAM-1 per cell (assessed by fluorescence intensity) were both increased in all cases by the cytokines γ-interferon, interleukin-1 and tumour necrosis factor. Immunohistochemical analysis of frozen sections from thyroidectomy specimens demonstrated ICAM-1 on thyroid follicular cells in areas of lymphocytic infiltration in patients with Graves' disease (n = 2) or Hashimoto's thyroiditis (n = 2). ICAM-1 was not found in specimens from a patient with a toxic multinodular goitre or a patient with Graves' disease without focal lymphocytic accumulation. These results suggest that the thyroid epithelium may express ICAM-1 as well as major histocompatibility complex class II antigens, such as HLA-DR, in response to locally synthesized cytokines. The enhanced expression of ICAM-1 may render these cells more susceptible as targets for lymphocytemediated cytotoxicity, and together with HLA-DR antigen expression may increase the accessory cell capability of the thyroid follicular cells.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 122, 185–191

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S MacNeil
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D S Munro
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R Metcalfe
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S Cotterell
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L Ruban
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R Davies
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A P Weetman
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if immunoglobulin G preparations (IgGs) from patients with Graves' disease can increase intracellular calcium in thyroid cells, as has been reported for TSH. Both TSH and Graves' IgGs (prepared by protein G affinity chromatography) increased calcium in a range of thyroid cells; however, the response seen, using Fura-2-loaded coverslips of cell monolayers, varied considerably. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO/JPO9) cells transfected with a high number of human TSH receptors showed the greatest response: TSH (10 mU/ml) increased calcium in 46% of experiments and 18 out of 25 (72%) Graves' IgGs increased calcium at 0·1 mg/ml (significantly greater, P<0·001, than for control IgGs where cells responded to 2 out of 13 preparations). Rat FRTL-5 cells only responded to TSH in 22% of experiments and to 2 out of 8 (25%) of Graves' IgGs. Similarly, human thyroid cells responded to TSH in 22% of experiments and to 2 out of 9 (22%) of Graves' IgGs. (When studying cyclic AMP responses in JPO9 cells, much higher concentrations of Graves' IgGs were required (1–3 mg/ml).) However, higher concentrations (03 mg/ml) of both Graves' IgGs, and to a lesser extent of control IgGs, were capable of increasing calcium in cells both with and without TSH receptors (control CHO cells and normal human dermal fibroblasts). We conclude that relatively low concentrations of patient IgGs can be distinguished from control IgGs in JPO9 cells on the basis of their ability to increase calcium, but that additionally all IgG preparations possibly contain another factor which can increase calcium in a range of cells independent of the presence of the TSH receptor.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 143, 527–540

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